I could tell stories about the numerous cats who have been my companions (what’s a writer without a cat critic), including the five years I shared my home with my pet raccoon, Pedro, and the three years with my pet Bobcat, Gabriel. But the funniest incident happened, not with my own cat, but with my aunt Rose’s cat, Shasta.
First of all you have to understand that Shasta was a Blue Point Siamese and that Siamese in general are quite literally ‘another breed of cat’. My aunt was a nurse who worked the night shift so Shasta was at home alone from about 8pm until she would come home the next morning. My mother lived in a small cottage across the courtyard from my aunt, who was her sister-in-law. Both cottages sat at the back of a larger property and were at the end of a long driveway. Because of the way they were situated they had a lot of privacy, but there was also a feeling of isolation. It was also very dark at night because they were away from the street and the only thing behind them was a small creek.
My mother’s sister, my aunt Ollie, was visiting for the week and she and my mother were sitting on the couch one night at about 10pm watching television, when they say the lights come on in my aunt Rose’s cottage. They both knew she was at work so they (stupidly) decided to investigate. My mother had my aunt’s spare key so they let themselves in to have a look around. I have no idea what they thought they would do if a burglar was present, but one wasn’t. They saw the light in the kitchen was on and the radio, which sat on the top of the refrigerator, was also on. Nothing was disturbed and Shasta was asleep on the couch, so my mother turned off the radio and the light and locked up and left.
They went back across the patio and resumed watching television and about a half an hour later, they noticed the lights next door were back on. They went back to the cottage, this time armed with a baseball bat (oooohhhh good thinking, folks), unlocked the door and went in. This time they looked under the bed and in the closet (fortunately unoccupied) and found nothing so, once again, they turned off the light and the radio, locked up and went back across to my mother’s cottage and back to their television show.
When the lights came on for the third time they began to get a little worried (only now, folks?). They called me. I’m not stupid, I called my cousin who was a detective with the county sheriff’s department. If I was going in, I wanted someone watching my back that had a gun and knew how to use it.
We opened the door and my cousin did a thorough search and found no one or anything out of the ordinary, other than the fact that not only the lights and radio were on, so was the television. He looked around to see if anything was on a timer–it wasn’t. So, once again, we turned off the television, the radio and the lights and started to leave. We had just gotten to the front door, when Shasta got up off the couch, jumped up on the kitchen table, flipped on the light switch with his paw, then jumped from the table to the top of the refrigerator and turned on the radio. Then he jumped down and went back to the couch, and gave the group of us one of those ‘if looks could kill’ stares that only cats can manage before reaching for the remote on the coffee table to turn on the television. Seems he didn’t like the silence of the empty house at night.
The moral of this story is to never try to get one up on a Siamese, they want what they want when they want it and won’t tolerate any interference. He was also quite adept at answering the telephone but could never learn to hang up the receiver.
When my aunt had to retire due to health issues, I would try to call her a couple of times a day just to check on her and to keep her from getting lonely. Sometimes, she wouldn’t be home because she had gone to the corner market. But Shasta would be home. And he would answer the phone and carry on a good conversation. So we would talk until my aunt got back home to hang up the receiver. I always thought it was just that he didn’t feel that he needed to be the one who hung up the receiver. After all, I was the one that called him.