Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Jack: Killer, Cat of Leisure

I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.
--Johnny Cash

Kim started feeding a wild black cat a while back. He wasn't completely feral but he was out there with no owner. He hung around our house. Eventually she got him a dog house to sleep in over the winter. He ate the food, slept in the house, and went about his business. He was a strong, big cat, and he had his way with the other wild cats, and took no crap from any of them. Kim named him Jack. Jack the black cat.

I started feeding the birds about the same time, including the crows. Crows are very smart birds, and I like them. I usually have stale bread, so I would throw some out on the lawn for the crows. They became accustomed to eating the bread in the morning when they showed up for their work, which is hanging around in my neighborhood looking for food.

One morning I heard the crows in the yard put up a huge uproar, a cacophony of CAW! like they do when they mob the hawk that lives in the area and are chasing him out. Jack had sneaked up on them while they were eating their bread, and killed one of them, and they were pissed.

Jack didn't care, he was a strong young cat just being a cat. It didn't matter that Jack was well-fed, if you hang around in his yard eating bread he gets to kill one of you if he wants.

Then we put our house on the market in the summer of 2008 (it didn't sell and we pulled it just before Thanksgiving. We'll try again in 09). I'm not a cat person, but Kim is, so I learned that we needed to find a place for Jack before we moved.

We were in Gettysburg, and saw a flyer about a missing cat, and it was Jake, the black cat that had been a fixture at the Wilderness Shop for as long as I've been going to Gettysburg. I said to Kim "Let's bring Jack up and deliver him to the Wilderness Shop as if we had found Jake - they look exactly the same. They'll never know the difference". We had a laugh.

Later in the day we told the story to Cameron, the owner of the shop, and she said bring him up and let's see what happens. We did.

Now Jack lives in Gettysburg at the Wilderness Shop.

Jack's new home is the Wilderness Shop on this stretch of Steinwehr Ave

Jack in his new home, resting up for a stroll through the store.

Jack is reveling in middle age. He has a comfortable life. He kills nothing. His job is to walk around the shop and let people, especially kids, pet him while not being skittish. He has enough material wealth (shelter, food) to see him through, and he isn't about to be laid off. I think he's set for life.

Jack and I are both middle aged, but my life is not as simple and perfect as his. At least not yet.

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