Your Eyes Don’t Deceive: Squirrel is a Cat
Since it’s been awhile, I decided to post a brand new short story. Never before published. Here for the first time.
I do truly write about more than animals. But with our menagerie of crazy dogs and cats, they have provided plenty of stories over the years. So, for now, here’s another animal story:
A Place for a Squirrel.
Our barn housed a trio of cats.
There was Flash, a three-legged gray that boldly chased strange dogs from the yard, Thomas, a rough and tumble tri-colored tabby always in search of a rowdy brawl, and then…there was Squirrel.
My husband named this bright orange fellow Squirrel for a couple of reasons: his big, bushy squirrel-like tail incessantly swishing back and forth, and his “squirrely” personality.
Squirrel excelled at giving love – always up for a pet and a hug. But his success as a barn cat? Not so much.
Often Squirrel hanged out in the yard and observed Thomas, a standout mouser. Squirrel eventually gave hunting his best shot. But rather than patiently stalking his prey, the little oddball tried a different approach. One day, unbeknownst to me, he pried flat-as-a-pancake road kill from the street, dragged it to the house, and placed it on our doorstep. Upon opening the door, I nearly stepped on his “gift.” Squirrel sat nearby, chest puffed and face donning that typical goofy expression. He hurried towards me for praise.
“Wow, Squirrel,” I said, petting his head. “Good job!”
Squirrel purred and pushed his head into my hand. Poor little guy. He tried his best. He simply didn’t possess the skills for being a good hunter. Or gatherer. Or climber, for that matter.
After watching Thomas scale trees with Olympian-like swiftness, Squirrel attempted this feat too. It didn’t work out. That rainy summer evening, I heard a yowling outside. Following the desperate pleas to the backyard, I discovered Squirrel on a tree limb. Water dripped from his furry face. He screeched while pacing back and forth, completely distressed. I pulled out the ladder, trudged to the backyard in the downpour, and pulled the little guy from the tree. He purred his appreciation.
Thomas often grew weary of Squirrel. Rather than lounging on the porch in his spare time like a typical barn cat, Squirrel preferred screaming in Thomas’ ear. Quite often, Squirrel found himself backhanded by his much larger, 14-pound friend. Sometimes the swats landed hard, with Squirrel tumbling backwards. But he’d shake it off, jump up, and scamper back for more. Squirrel never lacked persistence.
Although Thomas found the little guy annoying, he secretly liked him. Thomas took on a parental role, providing baths and protection. Squirrel had an annoying habit of shoving his head into a bowl of canned food and leaving the hardened, brown mess on his head. Thomas pinned down the untidy heathen and left him spotless. And if any animal picked on Squirrel? Thomas came to the rescue.
Before Squirrel came along, Thomas preferred solitude. But little by little, with Squirrel’s loving ways, Thomas grew softer around the edges. Not that Thomas was ever mean, but Squirrel drew out his need for companionship. And after Squirrel passed away, without his little buddy, Thomas actually sought out pets.
Not all cats can be barn cats, but there’s a spot in the barn anyway – even for a Squirrel.