Cats, Cats, and More Cats
A personal anecdote from living on the farm on the ‘B’ line between Kincardine and Tiverton, Ontario that was published for my parents as a gift in Rooster Showdown and Other Tales for the Farm. Request permission to reprint through the contact page.
There’s no shortage of cats when you live on a farm. They multiply almost as fast as rabbits! My sister and I spent a great deal of our time finding and playing with the kittens. We’d search in all the nooks and crannies of the barn to find our favourites. Sometimes we’d climb into the grain bin to find them, not knowing at the time that we could find a mouse or a rat instead!
There were many times that the kittens fell into the farm gas task and had to be rescued. They would climb atop the large rusted tank and – I can only surmise that they were curious about the opening at the top of the tank – then would fall through the hole into the tank of gas. Unfortunately, they couldn’t climb out and had to swim until being rescued.
My dad was not so sympathetic to the cats that stumbled into the gas tank. He was none too pleased to complete the task of rescuing them, but rescue them he did (he talked tough, but we knew the soft side was there). After the rescue, my mom bathed the cats to remove the gas. Some of the kitties didn’t make it, drowning in the gas. It was a very sad event to me that I never forgot.
We had another tragic event that left an impression on me. We were all in the car, my mom, my sister and I, about to leave for town. We were in a hurry – I don’t even remember why – and my mom started the car in a rush. As soon as she turned the ignition we heard a terrible cat screech and a sickening grinding sound. My mom turned off the ignition and began crying, knowing what had happened.
She got out of the car, crying all the time, and began to open the hood to look inside. We didn’t really know what happened, but knew it had to be bad if our mom was so upset.
Unnoticed before, a car pulled up the last portion of our 1/4 mile driveway and a man got out. We didn’t recognize him. He asked my mom what happened and began to help her. One of our cats had been sleeping in the fan of the car. When my mom started the car, the fan began revolving and butchered the body of the cat. I’ll never forget the look of the cat’s body, torn in a way that I’ve never seen again.
The man, who we later found out was a door to door insurance sales man, removed the cat from the fan of the car, placed it in a box, and buried it for my mother. It was years later that I realized the humour of the situation – that this guy came to sell us insurance and ended up handling a dead cat and a distraught woman. This kind person that helped us even though he didn’t have to made the biggest impression of all.