The Gray Line Tour

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 10, 2001

I need to work out a deal with a cat

I’m generally a fan of animals. They’re fun to watch and some are downright fascinating. As a kid, I loved to watch ants work and I was always with some sort of lizard or caterpillar or worm. However, I took a more scientific approach, then the standard waving a bug at a girl. Once, I decided I wanted to examine a lizard skeleton, so I collected lizards in a shoebox, waiting for them to die, so I could take a knife and dissect it. Mind you, I was quite young and didn’t fully realize how amazingly cruel that was. Anyway, the project was never completed, since my uncle found the shoebox, opened it and was furious when he was swarmed by all these half-starved lizards. But I’ve always had pets. From a very young child, I had dogs, throughout high school. However, once I went away to college, pets didn’t seem a real possibility. Can’t have them in the dorm, you know. However, while in college, I had a too-close encounter with a pack of German shepherds which put dogs on the back burner as pet possibilities. From that day on, it was cats for me. Now, I love cats. I’ve had a few and for the most part, they’re cuddly and warm and I enjoy playing with them and just being around them. I do draw the line, however, when Moriarty begins dragging in small creatures to torture, kill and eat in the middle of the kitchen floor. In the past, it’s been mosquito hawks and small lizards. He graduated to baby birds and, soon, adult birds. Tuesday morning, it was a small snake. Sorry. I object. I tossed out the snake and went to work. When I got home that evening, Moriarty had brought the snake, now dead, back into the house. Along with this present was a dead bird. This is getting a bit much. I’m not particularly afraid of snakes. I’ve gotten over that, particularly since an incident when I was 12 years old and chased by a small rattlesnake while on a trip through New Mexico. I decided after that I wouldn’t be afraid anymore. Now, my late cat, Sax, and I had an agreement. He once brought in a huge wharf rat and my wife understandably freaked. I tossed out the rat and sat on the couch, calling Sax to me. He obediantly got on my lap and looked me in the eye. I told him not to do it anymore, as he could see what it did to Susie. He intelligently responded, “MrrrrrOW!” and hopped off. From that day, and for the next 10 years, he never brought in another creature. I still have to work out that little agreement with Moriarty. He’s young, though, and open to reason. At least I hope so. I’m afraid of what he’ll bring in next time. LEONARD GRAY is assistant managing editor for L’Observarteur.