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Pumpkin the cat showed up one day and decided to stay

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

Twenty years ago this month, my two boys and I returned from fishing in the Oyster Creek area, and waiting for us at the house, was a black and orange little cat, meowing her head off.

I had seen the cat nearby a few days before, but then she disappeared. I guess the smell of fish brought her back. Or, the fact that we had a vacancy.

Two of our cats had recently died of old age. One found us before Sharon and I married, and the other, while we were newlyweds, and they had moved with us several times. They died within a couple of months of each other.

Cats must have some ability to locate houses that have a vacancy, because the replacements seem to show up like clockwork.

“Here I am,” she said in cat language. “I came to make you happy, now feed me some of that fish, and take me in.”

We named her Pumpkin, because it was almost Halloween, and she had those fall colors.

She came right in, which made me think that she got dumped. My experience has been that feral cats take a while to march in and take their proper place in the house. But Pumpkin didn’t waste any time, making herself right at home.

I have been listening to that irritating meow ever since. I’ve been the recipient of presents, mostly mice and lizards. We learned from the cat experts that is considered an honor, an expression of gratitude or affection.

Pumpkin never could understand why I wasn’t so impressed with those dead mice by the front door.
When she caught a lizard, she wanted to bring them in the house, perhaps to play with them because she never ate those things.

She ate some darned expensive cat food and goodies from the dinner table.

Pumpkin also knew how to keep my dogs at bay. A few scratches to the nose area relayed the message that those inferior canines should not mess with the queen of the house.

She went outside a lot, but she never ventured too far from the house. She knew where there was safety and food.

As she grew older, she developed this throaty meow that she could escalate to almost ear-shattering decibels. Perhaps the old age made her cranky, because once she reached that high pitch, she stayed like that for a while. There was no use in trying to conduct a conversation.

And then, Pumpkin learned how to tell time, because this blood-boiling meow started at 6:30 a.m. It was the equivalent of an alarm clock, except Pumpkin could not distinguish weekdays from weekends.

You can smash an alarm clock on the floor, or disable it with something heavy. We could not do that to our Pumpkin, although some mornings it was tempting.

Then the meowing stopped.

Don’t get me wrong. Pumpkin is still around. There is nothing wrong with her. But for some reason, she has decided to only meow for a few seconds, and then go back to just looking around the room, or go to sleep.

And, we can also go back to sleep.

She’s not a “cool cat,” but she is now less irritating. I’ll take that.