I am a careful reader and I did read that poster before I jumped in.
Free cats. On the wild side. The photos on the poster were of three lovely orange and gray cats. My son and I were running errands when I found this treasure.
We needed cats for our barn, which was constantly under attack from a squadron of field mice. I didn’t care that these cats were a little on the wild side. Better to hunt mice.
I found the girl with the cats. “Do you still have them?” I asked.
Her face should have clued me in. Body language says raised eyebrows, wide eyes and an open mouth mean surprise. “Do you want them?”
“Great! I’ll tell my dad.” She scampered away and I turned to my son.
“I’ll finish up here and you go with them. We can put the cats in the car and go home.”
He followed the girl and I finished my work. When I walked into the parking lot toward our car, I spotted Son at the edge of a small group, a large cardboard box in the center.
The girl’s father snugged the last piece of shipping tape over the flaps on the top of the box as a bystander said, “If they can’t get air in there, they might die.”
The father stepped back from the box, which was tap dancing a bit, and brushed his hands together. “That wouldn’t be the end of the world.”
By now, I was near enough to hear scratching inside the box. A lot of scratching. The sort of demonic scratching that threatens to claw through trees and steel walls.
“A little wild?” I asked him.
Son shrugged. He likes cats and he hoisted the box into the back of the car. “It’ll be OK.” I watched the box shimmering with cat rebellion and muted yowls.
“What if they get through the cardboard?”
“I guess we open the doors and bail out ’til they escape.”
That was comforting.
As I turned back to the family that had advertised the cats, they were nowhere to be seen. What a shock.
And so we drove home. My kids as toddlers usually dozed off as soon as I put the car in drive – and so, apparently, did this cat trio. No sounds until we got to our barn.
We laid the box on its side in the middle of the building so the top faced away from us. We were fools but not that bad.
I peeled off the tape while my son stood guard. I’m not sure what his plan was if the cats did a u-turn. Well, maybe we were that bad of fools…
I had donned my own leather gloves and goggles before I lifted the flap. There was a pause before an explosion of orange and gray fur burst into our barn, across the floor, and out the back door. Followed by heavenly silence.
Son and I looked at each other and I brushed off my hands. “Well, that wasn’t the end of the world.”
But I do read a little more carefully these days.