Over the years I have enjoyed the company of several black cats.  The first was Jinx who mysteriously appeared at our backdoor in Mooringsport.  My mom liked cats and Dad tolerated them, outside.  He hated the idea of something that buried its poop jumping onto countertops or tables.  That’s understandable, but in my dotage I have weakened on that one to the extent that my table is okay but the cooking countertop remains verboten.  Dad referred to Jinx as Stinks, and it is remotely possible that he dropped the cat off halfway to Shreveport on his way to work.  It is also possible that Jinx left for the company of a gal cat, or figured some other humans needed him more at that moment.  He wasn’t hit by a car, or killed by a bad dog:  country people only drag road kill off the street if it’s theirs, but none was found.  Jinx vanished.


A couple of years later another black cat appeared at our door.  That was the story the ‘rents got from me.  In truth he followed me home from school (with much encouragement).  He looked like Jinx but all black cats look alike: two yellow headlights and a white tail light, almost invisible in darkness.  We called him Cat for months, then I renamed him after he learned to harvest fish bait from the live well Dad built to contain his leftovers from Saturday fishing trips.  Since the cat had paws, and used them to catch minnows, the ten year old me named him Minnow Paws.  Older people in our household began to wonder if — already — the time had come for The Talk, so one of them gently asked about the name.  A truthful answer deferred The Talk until there was no reason to bother.


But like Jinx, Minnow Paws disappeared as suddenly as I had brought him home, and again, no corpse.  Black cats vanish into thin air without rhyme or reason.


Not too long ago Kat and I came to know another black cat known as Midnight.  He was a bad stud cat, and when he wasn’t eating or napping he was at war with his rival Yellow Tom.  Midnight was just a shade tougher than Tom.  I have seen only one black kitten ever, and this kid was Midnight’s boy, son of Tyga, the toughest p-cat on the planet.  I called him Tyrone, and had he lived to maturity, one day Tyrone would have run off Yellow Tom and Midnight.  But somebody killed Tyrone: the likely suspects are Tom and Midnight, and Tyrone’s is the only black cat corpse ever I have seen.


Kat is a pet person, and she linked up with a cat rescue organization that encouraged her to capture and neuter the feral cats around us, including Tyga and Midnight.  We never caught Tom, but did get Tyga and Midnight fixed.  Tyga found it a relief to limit her crop to 40 or so kittens, but Middy didn’t like it at all.  Upon his return from the vet he took off for the woods at a full sprint, never to be seen again.


Bugger came to us after Walt’s passing.  We were not Walt’s first choice of adoptive parents, but were the ones able to take her in.  Bugs had been with us for over a year now and seemed happy.  A few days ago I left the screen door open momentarily, and rather than as always before being fearful of the world outside, Bugger embraced it.  Quick as a roach she blasted off into the woods of Jedidiah Smith State Park in upper California.  We extended our stay two days.  We set out sardines and went out in the middle of night to sit and listen.  We realized Bugs had left us, and that we must leave on this year’s journey to Washington, S. Dakota, Georgia and Kentucky.  This morning with great sadness we packed up to move on up the road.


Ten minutes before hitching up we heard a “Meow?” and Kat spied Bugger.  Ten minutes later a crawling Kat captured Bugs in the underbrush.  The band is back together once again.


Black cats are spiritual.  They come and go.  They disappear and return at will.  Kat can’t believe she’s back.  I don’t believe it.  Fifteen minutes more and we would have been gone.  Did Bugger sense that we were packing up, and realize she had enjoyed enough adventure?  That’s what I think.


Here for your listening pleasure is the serene adagio movement of Mozart’s Gran Partita, the full version with which I celebrated Kat’s capture of Cat.

5 thoughts on “Bugger

  1. That’s amazing, or should I say “cat’s amazing”! Really glad to hear that your Bugger made it home in time to continue the journey! I’m allergic to cats, but I admit that I think the black ones are especially attractive.


    1. And Kat’s amazing; she caught that rascal. It’s odd that no one would consider it strange that a dog would recognize his people setting up their rig to move, but think that cats just aren’t that observant. Bugs is; likes to hide on rolling day. She recognized the signs and didn’t want to be left.



  2. I have a huge affection for black cats. Bear was my favorite, as a kitten, he looked like a black bear, hence the name. Another we named Pumpkin as we adopted her on Halloween. In my area, they don’t normally allow black cats to be adopted in the month of October, but since they knew me it was allowed. Loved your story.


    1. I’m glad you liked Bugger, JoHawk. But she never took to that name; perhaps she has heard of the British usage and finds it offensive. So we later settled upon Brunswick, after the manufacturer of the most common and almost always black bowling balls offered at public alleys. She is a cat insistent upon trying to weigh 20 pounds while we try to hold her to just 16, which incidentally is the weight of the heaviest ball commonly used in that much-maligned sport (“I don’t know whether I should shoot myself or go bowling!”)

      Thanks for checking us out.


      Liked by 1 person

      1. The poor dear, now that you mention it perhaps she was offended. A friend of mine used to work for Brunswick. I think I wold put the gun down and just go bowling. But please double check and make sure the cat is not in your bag. 😊🐱


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