A prince among cats

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T-3 days.

Still no Mickey.

I really hadn’t anticipated that this would be a “Mickey watch” blog. I was more looking forward to writing through some anxiety, some excitement, and a touch of grief related to moving away from the town I’ve lived in for 22 years. I didn’t think I would have to write about my grief at losing my ride-or-die little furry buddy.

Maybe he’s just wandering. Yeah?

I guess you could say the same thing about me. I’m just wandering up to Oregon. Who knows if I’ll be seen in California again?

Of course, I’m a human with a job waiting for me. I can communicate where I’m going and for how long I’ll be there, with a myriad of ways to get in touch with me.

Mickey can meow and pee on bathroom rugs.

Glad we settled that.

But having my little buddy missing has put a real psychological weight on my preparation for the trip north. It’s also put a real damper on my ability to focus during the last few days at my current job. Not that I had much in the way of focus to begin with these days, but now I’m spending a little too much time wandering out onto the deck to whistle and call for Mickey. He wasn’t just my cat; for the first time, I was someone’s “hoo-man,” to steal a meme. I belonged to him and he let my girlfriend know it. (My daughter also belonged to him, but he hasn’t seen her in a couple of years (insert sad face here).) If I showed even the hint of a lap, he was there.

I got Mickey in the Winter of 2018 because I had rats. The house I was renting became the new home for a nest when my landlady cleared brush and started renovating her house. It wasn’t her fault; Fort Bragg has rats. They started coming in and leaving their distinctive evidence. The chewing in the walls at night was like a horror movie and there were times I woke from a dead sleep thinking there was somebody in the house.

So, I contacted a local rescue group, looking for a barn cat. I needed a warrior. A hunter. A cold-blooded, steely-eyed killer of rodents. I was looking for Death of Rats (to steal from Terry Pratchett). The rescue group put me in touch with a gentleman from Booneville who was finding homes for a colony he cared for. Mickey was his daughter’s cat originally, but she couldn’t care for him. He grew up as an indoor/outdoor cat, surrounded by Anderson Valley’s roughest environment.

Turns out, Mickey was so very much not Death of Rats. Turns out, he was Death of Gophers. He was great at waiting out gophers. Rats, on the other hand, he’d just stare at while I tried to beat them with my son’s Little League baseball bat. (Side note: I wrote a poem about my battle with a rat one night. I’ll see if I can find it.)

Speaking of bats, Mickey also didn’t give a flying fig about bats in the house, either.

But, if he smelled even the hint of roast turkey, you should count your lucky stars you walked away with any dinner. You do not eat until Mickey gets his fair share of the bird. Preferably hot and fresh. Needless to say, Thanksgiving was his favorite holiday, except for the ones where I smoked turkey. Or any day ending in Y where turkey was being cooked.

I miss Mickey. He’s old, crotchety, and pees on the bathroom rug, but he’s my boy. I really hope he comes home before I leave for Oregon.

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