Tiger The 10 Minute Cat
I was teenager living at home, pre-driving years. Home was out in the country and we seemed to be infested with mice. It was around 1961 and there were only two houses on our end of this dead end road. We had this semi-finished basement and while watching tv down there, we could watch the mice run along the base-plate, where the house joins the basement wall. I think mom, drew the line when we could shoot the mice with a pellet gun. The decision was made (I wonder who made it??) that a mouse-chasing cat was needed. We had only lived here for a couple of years, so dad asked our longer-term-resident neighbor, Hugh Johnston, where we could get a cat?
Enter Moth Man
Hugh Johnston told us there was this man living on the other side of Americus, a couple of miles away that had a bunch cats. We got directions and took out for this place. Across the Wabash, through Americus, onto the Buck Creek Road, first dead end gravel road on the right, first place on the right. Place?? Place turned out to be a WWII trailer, rounded ends, six feet wide. We arrived in the middle of the afternoon. We woke him up from his nap…him? I’ve forgotten his name. But it was a warm fall Saturday afternoon, we made enough noise that he got up, shirtless and came out to talk. Dad explained our situation, there were cats running around EVERYWHERE!! He scratched his head and said, “let me git you one.” As he turned we saw his bare back, well it wasn’t really bare, his naked sweaty back was covered with dead moths! Dad and I looked at each other, it was all we could do to keep from cringing. Moth Man reached down for a kitten and missed it, walked a little further, reached for another and got. I think I remember it as a brown striped tabby.
For some reason, dad had chosen to drive our 1960 Red Volkswagen Beetle to visit Moth Man. The kitten was less than docile in Moth Mans’ hands. He told us to get in the car and he’d hand him in. I believe I was handed the kitten and we drove off…now remember we were only a couple of miles from home. The kitten had never experience mobility, other than by its own feet, and it wasn’t impressed. I got clawed and let go…dad and I quickly rolled up the windows…the cat headed for the clutch, break and gas pedals, trying to hide under each one. Dad, started to reach for the cat, poof, it was gone, into the storage area behind the back seat, then hanging by its claws from the ceiling near the back window. Within half a mile, we named the cat TIGER. By the time we got to Americus, a mile away, Tiger had made 7 laps around the inside of the “Bug”. As we crossed the Wabash, Tiger had settled for a favorite spot, hanging upside down like a bat from the ceiling by the back window.
We got home, but we didn’t leave the car. Mom came out and asked why we didn’t get out, we rolled down the window a couple of inches and said we had a cat. Mom, said, ” You have a cat and you’re not coming out? Bring it out.” I think dad opened his door, POOF, Tiger was last seen headed to the woods like a lightening bolt.
10 minutes….from the time we got the cat until the door opened, that was the length of time we owned a cat named Tiger. We went back to shoot mice with the pellet gun.