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Skip a Rope (Rope-a-dope?)

by David Yehudah, Bellflower, CA, USA


Sam is like most Siamese, or even most cats; she hates for anyone to mess with her tail.

This morning she was playing meatloaf at my feet, nose to nose with Cherokee (I can always tell when a food dish gets empty. I'm quickly surrounded by suspiciously affectionate critters.), both of them purring and meowing gently to call my attention to their gaunt, wasted shells, just remnants, etc. . . Enter Toby.

Toby still hasn't caught on that cats' tails are to be admired from afar, not bitten and shaken for purposes of amusement. The moment he arrived on scene, the cats instantly went into alert mode. I mean, they knew he was going to do something, so they just waited to see what outrage he was going to perpetrate this time before taking him apart and putting him back together wrong. Toby likes to chase their tails; they like to stomp a mudhole in him, then stomp the mudhole dry.

Warily the pup circled his unwilling playmates, his usually boisterous demeanor muted until such a time as he decided what to do this time. The cats laid their ears back and twitched their tails, waiting. As he approached Samantha's backside, he became even more circumspect, neck outstretched and ears alert. His eyes began to twitch uncontrollably. He knew disaster was just a heartbeat away, yet he crept closer. Sam began to hiss like an unfriendly teakettle, her eyes mere slits. That's when the pup zeroed in on that tantalizing tail. Twitch. . .twitch. . .

Toby sprang forward until he was in the path of that tail. As it swung toward him, he jumped lightly into the air, and the tail passed safely under him. As it swung back, he jumped again. . .And again. . .And again! It was as if he were skipping rope. He got this big, dopey grin on his face and jumped over and over, ears flapping wildly. Excited, he began barking as he jumped. That was not the best idea he'd ever had. The more he jumped, the louder he barked, and the louder he barked, the more agitated the cat became. Disaster could not be far away. Sam's tail swung faster and faster; the hiss became a growl, then a deep-throated roar.

That's when cat, pup, and tail got out of sync.

Toby landed right smack in the middle of that tail, then found himself completely surrounded by enraged feline. Damn, that cat was mad! Sam was so infuriated she lost track of which paw was doing what, but they were all doing something, painful, to Toby. Toby was shrieking in terror and pain, Sam was snarling, spitting, and in general making a heck of a racket. Cherokee joined Mac on the couch and watched. Pussy had pencil and pad, probably taking notes. Toby tried to run, but Sam was faster, propelled mostly by outrage. No matter which way Pup ran, he kept bumping into Cat. And Cat was right there waiting with another ration of the same.

Things sure do get lively around here sometimes.


Editor's note:

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