short stories

Bear Bear, is that you?

Nine lives? How about recycled kitties? Am I crazy, or have I just found a truth that nobody has discovered yet?

Female Siamese cat curled up in a blanket
Bear Bear

I owned a cat named Bear. She passed away, and oh, how I miss her. I wouldn’t consider her the friendliest cat that I have had, but I loved her uniqueness. Although she lived with my whole family as well as a few other cats, you would notice right away that she was mine. I suppose if you were to look at it through her eyes, I was hers. I say this because a dog will adjust to the human that owns them; however, a human must adjust to the cat that owns them. I suppose only cat people would understand this.

I have never considered myself a cat person. I would much rather be around dogs. But Bear was different. She pulled at my heartstrings and taught me what it was like to truly love a feline. I have had a couple of other cats that I liked but loved; maybe it would be a stretch at best.

Bear was wild as a kitten, and I tamed her by feeding her bits of cooked steak. This, my friends, may have been the downfall of who would become “Bear Bear” and not just the simple “Bear” as a name. The best way that I can describe It is like a child with that special toy. They will give it a special name and not just call it a doll, truck, or whatever that special toy may be.

Bear grew to drive me crazy with her little games. Games such as “Pet me, pet me, pet me, but just don’t touch me” or “You can pet me now, but I’m going to bite you when I’ve had enough” There was the “I will run and jump in your lap if you rub your fingers and thumb together and show you the best love, but my purr will be very low and only if I want to purr”. And, of course, “You can rub your fingers together until they turn raw, but today I’m going to turn my back and hate you until dinner time.” Just thinking of her little nuances brings a tear to my eye. I do realize that you cat people are thinking that your cat does the same things sometimes. I have had a few in my day, but none would match the deliberate way that she did it. It was almost as though she was part human at times. I haven’t the words to explain it in better detail (this is coming from someone who does a great deal of writing).

As I stated above, she passed, and I was heartsick over it. Throughout my life, I have had many pets cross the Rainbow Bridge, and they have hurt my heart, but when Bear Bear passed, I felt it down deep in my soul. I tried not to show it to my family (my male ego), but I became physically sick for a while. I was destroyed! After a few weeks, I was able to put her death behind me, but I would catch myself calling for her and rubbing my fingers together now and then. Would I ever truly get over her? I wasn’t sure; however, I believed that I would not.

Sometimes I think about how cruel it is that we outlive so many pets in our lifetime. Then again, I believe that God feels our pain and finds ways to help us adjust. This is what happened to me. Although I didn’t learn to adjust to her passing, I was adjusted to it in the most unlikely way. The saying goes that cats have nine lives. This is because they cheat death throughout their lives, whether it is jumping from too high up or dodging that speeding car. Most of the time, when a cat dies, they are in their ninth life! But what if the cat in question had an easy life and only used up a few of their lives and not the whole nine? What happens then? I am here to say that I now believe that a cat can come back after death without entering Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary“. (Now, I will tell you that, as a Christian, I don’t believe that, but what has happened to me is weird, to say the least.) Has God brought my cat back to me? This may be the only logical (or illogical) solution to the issue at hand.

A male Siamese cat lying on a bed
Boo Bear

We have a friend who is moving overseas. He had two kittens that needed a good home. After my wife saw them, she knew they would become part of our family. She told me about them needing a home, and I hit the roof. “We don’t need any more cats,” I yelled. She said that I would change my mind when I saw them. I have to admit it; she was right. Although one was a yellow-haired cat that is a true lover, the other took my breath away. This kitten looked exactly like Bear Bear. I’m not talking about a resemblance; I mean exactly as my long-lost friend! Not one hair was different. This must be Bear Bear’s doppelganger! Now there are a variety of differences in that this cat is male and about twice her size. Well, I thought it wasn’t her, but the resemblance is amazing. I shall name this one Boo Bear in memory of her.

Now you may be thinking to yourself, “Awe, what a cute story.” But wait, there’s more to this story, and it becomes almost eerie. All of us catch ourselves calling him her or calling him Bear Bear instead of Boo Bear, not just because he looks so much like her, but because he acts just like her too! Every day, he gains more of her peculiar ways. Mind you, he is a different cat, or is he? This is like living with the ghost of my long-deceased cat. Sometimes I look into his eyes to see what is going on in him. When I said he was her doppelganger, I wasn’t kidding! Everything he does is like watching him walk in her footsteps. Did she make it halfway over the Rainbow Bridge and decide she wasn’t ready to leave yet? Is this a Frankenstein-type move to bring her back? Should I go dig up her grave and make sure she is still there? Oh, there are so many questions I have, and none of them are answered. Did Bear Bear use one of her nine lives to come back as Boo Bear? The questions just keep filling my mind. Although I love Boo Bear, I believe that it’s my Bear Bear who has come back to keep me company. Oh, how I wish that I could read this cat’s mind to finally find the truth behind those blue eyes. I know one thing for sure: if this cat dies, I will await her or his return.

I guess the only regret that I may have is that I wish I could’ve taken both of their pictures with the same phone and under the same lighting. I guarantee that both of these cats are identical in color.

Thank you for reading. I hope you have enjoyed this post. I would love to hear from you if anything like this has happened in your life. I would also love to hear from others about their thoughts on this true story. As always, I will close with this thought. Remember, we are all in this together.

short stories

My squirrel hunting cat

     Every once in a while, I enjoy writing about  something a little different. I choose to write about some of the experiences I have lived through. I enjoy sharing these tidbits of my life. If you are following my blog, you have noticed how I throw these funny yet true stories in every so often. Most of these stories involve me learning a lesson the hard way, usually showing comedy with me being shown as the butt of the joke. In all of these posts, there is also a lesson that I have learned and passed to you, hopefully helping you not make the same silly mistakes. I have had great success with these post and continue to go back through my memory to pull one out sometimes. This story is one that involves an amazing little creature I had the pleasure to witness at his absolute finest. For once, I didn’t make a grand mistake making me the stooge in an event of my life. Actually, there’s no funny in this one, just pure amazement. I hope you will continue to read and allow me to introduce you to “Smokey” my truly amazing cat!

     I had this cat that was the best darn  squirrel hunting dog that I ever owned. Did I say dog? He might as well have been. I know that just sounds plain crazy to start my story  like that, but when I explain farther, you will think that was the best way to start after all. Spending my teenage years in the Ozarks of Missouri, I did a lot of hunting for various reasons. Sometimes the reason fell upon food for my family, other times it was for the hides so rich people could wear strange clothing. If you have never lived in the country, you probably wouldn’t understand the need for hunting. It’s probably not a far stretch that you city folk wouldn’t understand the pure joy of hunting, either. The joy of hunting is a pleasure that is hard to explain. Was it bloodlust? No, it is the joy of being in the woods, watching and listening to everything around you. It brings a special piece to one’s self. It settles the mind and teaches us the gift of the great outdoors. The hunt is the necessary part, the other is the pleasure one is given for such an adventure.

     Part of hunting sometimes includes a good hound dog who can lead you to prey one seeks. A good squirrel dog will drive squirrels up a tree and run around barking, keeping the squirrel treed. This term treed means just what it sounds like, the dog will keep the squirrel in one tree, not able to flee to another tree. Once his master finally gets there, this brilliant dog will walk around to the opposite side of the tree, giving the hunter a clear shot at his prey. For those of you whom have never paid attention to squirrels before, when you are walking towards the tree the squirrel occupies, he will climb around to the opposite side, staying out of your view and in a safer place. This leads us to the good hunting dog I spoke of. The hunter once taking up his position at the tree will signal his companion. This brilliant animal will do what he is taught and circle around to the opposite side of the tree. Once he is in position, he will growl, bark and jump up against the tree. The prey will see this craziness and want to get to a safer position, climbing around the tree away from the danger to the opposite side. What the squirrel has now done is take himself away from something that can’t get to him into the sights of something that can, the hunter!

Gray cat laying down
This is not Smokey but could be his twin

       I feel this is the time to introduce you to the cat I had back then. His name was Smokey. I named him that for the most obvious  reason. He was gray from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet. There wasn’t a speck  of any other color on him. Smokey was a great friend to me. Living on a farm, we had lots of cats, but Smokey was the only one I liked. As he reached adulthood, I noticed that Smokey started following me on my hunts. “Stupid cat, he thinks he’s a dog” I thought. Later on, he would be known as a genius kitty by me.

       I went for a squirrel hunt one day and happened to catch a glimpse of Smokey following me through the woods. Once again, all I could think of was, stupid cat. All of a sudden, I seen some squirrels looking for nuts around this large oak tree. I slowly kneeled down and patiently watched these little creatures running to and fro. It dawned on me that I hadn’t heard Smokey moving behind me. I knew if he was moving around, he would have to make noise in the dry leaves that covered the floor of the woods. Did he go back home? Nope. As I slowly turned to look behind me. There he was, maybe fifteen feet behind me, sitting still as a brick wall. Another thought jumped into my head. This stupid cat is going to run across them leaves on the ground and alert the squirrels of my location. This isn’t what was happening, he just sat there, watching, with me as still as he could be. He’s not crouched down waiting to leap, just sitting there patiently watching along with me.

     A little while past and I watched as the squirrels headed up this other tree, maybe one hundred feet away. This is when I slowly started my walk to their location. I would have them treed, and the only problem I would have now would be to get them in my sights to shoot them. I could have shot one from my original position, but I would lose track of the others and probably wouldn’t be able to get them. When hunting, I always believed I should bring home enough for at least one good meal for my family. Any less than that and I would feel like I failed the reason for the hunt.

Gray squirrel in a tree

     As I got within fifty feet of the tree, I stopped and waited for the first squirrel to get curious enough to come around to my side of the tree. I knew this would take a while since I didn’t have a dog or a hunting partner to walk to the other side. I waited maybe five minutes and I heard something coming from up from behind me through the dead leaves. Furthermore, I turned and seen that it was Smokey. I thought once again, “stupid cat.” I believe he must have read my mind. He must have been thinking, “I’ll show him who’s a stupid cat!” All of a sudden Smokey ran past me and headed for the squirrel tree! What the heck is he doing? When he reached the tree, he slowed down and slowly walk to the other side. Once there, he jumps up on the tree and ran up about ten feet. I was surprised to see he’s looking around the tree, where he had stopped, right into my eyes. The best that I could come up with was him asking if he was in the right place. Of course, he may have been thinking, “stupid human. Here I am running the squirrels to his side and all he can do is stare at me.”

      Once Smokey was in position, the squirrels worked their way around to the opposite side of where he was. This put the three squirrels on my side. It caught me by such a surprise, that it took me a minute to get through my brain what was happening. Once the shock left me, I picked up my rifle and was able to get all three squirrels, Smokey had sent to me. When the squirrels hit the ground, Smokey came down out of the tree and ran towards me. Once again, shock hit me. This cat was running towards where the loud sound had just originated from. Wow, that is the best squirrel hunting dog I had ever witnessed, and it is feline, not canine!

       I took the squirrels home and prepared them for my Mom’s famous squirrel and dumplings. I relived the moment of the hunt while sharing my story with my Mom and Dad. My Mom thought it was a sweet story, while my Dad ask what I had been smoking. I’m serious Dad. It really happened, just like I said. I don’t think he believed me at the time, but he would in the near future.

     I went out many times squirrel hunting, and every time Smokey went with me. Not only did he go, but every time he would do the same thing as before, jumping up on the opposite side of the tree, giving me the clear shot I needed. My Dad finally had enough of my story telling about Smokey, so one day, he decided to go on the hunt with me. Smokey followed us out and when we got the squirrels in the tree, Smokey once again showed his trick. My Dad was absolutely floored. He had just witnessed this with his own eyes and still had trouble believing what he had just seen.

     I continued to go hunting with Smokey over the next two squirrel seasons. No matter how many times I have seen Smokey do his little trick, it was still hard to believe. Smokey passed away towards the end of the second season. I guess I should’ve sent my story to the papers at that time, but I don’t think they would’ve printed such a crazy story.

     I have had a few cats since then, but none with the talent that Smokey had. I hope you have enjoyed my story. It really did happen, crazy as it seems. For those of you that are against hunting, I’m sorry if I offended you. For those of you that enjoy hunting, I hope you have the fortune of a talented cat that helps you on your hunting trips. Take care, my friends and remember, we are all in this together.