Everybody has a story: Silly old cat said little, did much

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My wife, Norma, and I were ready to attend a funeral, and I went to the mailbox to mail a letter. A car came by at a high rate of speed and a cat fell or jumped out from underneath. It skidded down the road a long distance before crawling into a brushy area of our property.

Upon return from the funeral, the first thing my wife did was go down to the brushy area and call, “Kitty, Kitty,” for the cat. He came out with some injuries. His foot was damaged and an area by his mouth had the skin torn off.

Norma lovingly nursed him back to health, but he would not meow or make any sound. He never had any identification, so we decided to keep him. We named him “Cataramas,” after the children’s story of a male cat that tried to impress a female cat with all kinds of tricks, and she would say, “Cataramas, you are a silly old cat.”

This cat was really a silly cat. He would climb up on the roof of the house and look down through the bathroom skylight when the bathroom was in use.

We had a small inflatable raft that Norma would tie to a tree by a long rope. She would take the grandchildren in the raft and float down the small river behind our property to the end of the rope, and pull herself and the grandchildren back upstream and float downstream again. One day, Cataramas was on the riverbank and decided it must be fun to float down the river, so he jumped into the raft as it floated by. His claws dug into the thin covering of the raft and the raft began to sink. Needless to say, that ended the rafting experience.

One day, we had a birthday gathering at our home, and I lowered the ladder to the loft above the garage to get a small box for a birthday present. I put the ladder back in place and forgot about it. After the gathering was over, the cat was missing. Norma called everyone that had been there to see if Cataramas had gotten in their car, since he had a bad habit of crawling in visitors’ cars if they left a window down even a little bit. But no one had seen him.

Three days went by, and no Cataramas. Then one day, Norma came in from the garage and said, “I know where Cataramas is.” Norma has much better ears than I ever had and she said she heard a very low “meow.” In all the time we’d had him, Cataramas had never made a sound before. I backed the car out, lowered the ladder, and the cat came down from the storage area above, no worse for his experience.

Cararamas did many silly things over the years but his nine lives ended one day when he ran under the rear wheel of the car as I was driving into the garage. We still have nice memories of this cat who came to our house under unusual circumstances and stayed to entertain us.

Everybody Has a Story welcomes nonfiction contributions, 1,000 words maximum, and relevant photographs. E-mail is the best way to send materials so we don’t have to retype your words or borrow original photos. Send to neighbors@columbian.com or P.O. Box 180, Vancouver, WA 98666. Call Scott Hewitt, 360-735-4525, with questions.