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The Watch Cat
The story of a black alley cat who adopted an Israeli family and became their 'watch cat'.
Norman A Rubin
Correspondent (Israel) for the Continental News Service writing under the headline "Dateline - Middle East". Free-lance writer for the past sixteen years writing on various subjects - Near East culture and crafts, archaeology, history and politics; religious history and rites, etc.. Norman A. Rubin has been featured in publications world wide - Jerusalem Post, Jerusalem Dateline, Esra, Israel - Coin News, Minerva, Oriental Arts, etc. England - Ararat, Good Old Days (White Birches Publications), Letter Arts Review, Queen of All Hearts, etc. USA - Spotlight, Japan - International B, Hong Kong - Archaeological Diggings, Australia etc. - Norman A. Rubin can be found on the Web - asianart.com with articles on Japanese Ghosts and Chinese Snuff Bottles - bibarch.com on the subject of musical instruments in the Bible, etc.. For comments on his writing, Norman A. Rubin (Israel) can be addressed to [email protected]
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The Watch Cat
Norman A Rubin
This is an amusing tale about a cat, a crafty little lady that adopted our family. Her pedigree was simply "Alley"; black she was with a few white spots on her front paws. She had drifted into our house without nary a word, found my lounge chair to her liking and settled in. My wife and I tried to talk to her, but the cat only turned on her back and expected one of us to rub her tummy, which we did. With this sign of affection we decided to let her stay and join our growing family.
The cat quickly made friends with Lassie our cocker spaniel; they simply sniffed each other and after a bit of play became bosom companions. There were never arguments between the two and they shared the pleasure of their daily lives, and ended the day by sleeping together in the dog’s cosy basket.
My two little boys, Yaron age eight and Johnny a kindergarten scholar, took to her sweet nature as the cat allowed them to cuddle and pet her. The young’uns enjoyed the touch and the ensuing playful motions of the cat, and they coupled their fondness by calling out endearing names. They relished in her warmth and christened her "Mrs. Cat". Mrs. Cat, in return, followed them about, rubbing against their ankles, and taking pleasure of a small hand on her fur.
We lived, at that time, in a small agricultural village in the center of Israel; a pleasant place whose inhabitants were mainly immigrants of German-Jewish stock. We knew when the good doctor was at home when we heard the airs of a Beethoven sonata wafting in the breeze. The honourable mayor of our town liked to imbibe schnapps and at at many festivities his honour would serenade the gathering in an off-key voice... and the local electrician; well, that’s another story....
Our home with a spacious garden was also home to many animals and birds. My two boys fed a score of plodding turtles, cuddly rabbits... and, were forever trying to heal injured wild birds and small animals. Of course, there was our Lassie and her numerous spaniel litters..
Mrs. Cat joined the comfort of our home; sharing the joys of well-being and harmony. She romped on the spacious garden with our Lassie and allowed the dog’s pups to join her in her daily siesta on the lounge chair; and when one disturbed her rest, she would simply cuff him with her paw. Mrs. Cat knew of the correct taste of the food we served our Lassie by being the first to partake of the various edibles served in the dog’s bowl.
Within time, Mrs. Cat decided, in her infinite wisdom, to be the ‘watch cat’, over our menagerie, and woe be to any intruder who dared to stray into her realm. Outside of her regular duties like cleaning her shining black fur or catching a helpless field mouse, she would take up her station of the watch, which was on a flat rock, shaded by a gnarled lemon tree, at the entrance to our garden.
Mrs. Cat would wait quietly, ever ready, until an intruder would appear, which would usually be a dog that would sniff into our garden for an hoped-for amorous romp with our Lassie. Mrs. Cat hated dogs, except for our pet, and she, like other cats, had a deep mistrust for them. But, instead of running away from their sight, she would be ready to attack. Upon seeing one, the feline would arch her back, and stretch her claws... and before the canine could yelp out a howl, a flashing black creature would be on its back clawing and biting. The helpless dog would whine loudly in misery, turn tail and rush away. It was a sight to behold - a frightened dog trying to shake off a clawing and biting bundle of black fur... and when the luckless creature would be some distance from our garden, Mrs. Cat would leap off its back.
The neighbors were not pleased at the sight of their, not too seriously wounded pets; especially the owner of a champion Alsatian, the reputed Lothario of our cocker spaniel. His attemps to enter our garden to woo with baying howls of love to Lassie, were always thwarted by our Mrs. Cat. The dog, till his very last day, would shy at the sight of a black cat. "The dog must be superstitious", the owner related, puzzled by the dog’s fear.
A few months, after Mrs. Cat entered out lives, we heard one night, in the confines of our garden, a lot of cats screeching, hissing, and howling like banshees.... And within time, Mrs. Cat was blessed with seven kits. She was a good mother. She evicted our Lassie from her snug basket, and within its warmth, reared her brood.
Mrs. Cat, after feeding her kits would take them for a stroll around the garden and beyond. She was a watchful mother always concerned for the safety of her brood and she, at every few steps, would scan ahead for any signs of danger. This daily ritual was a sight to behold; Mrs. Cat, with her head and tail raised would proudly walk, followed by her seven kits that were forever gambolling in play. We never knew the direction of their walk, which usually ended after a hour or two upon their return to our house. Until that day when Mrs. Cat, with her kits strolled out of the garden as it were their custom, but failed to return at the appointed time.
At the closing hours of the day as I sat comfortably in my vacant lounge chair, our Lasssie nudged me with her paw and looked at me with forlorn eyes, trying to convey her thoughts. Then my sons burst into the room and clarified with excited shouts of the missing presence of Mrs. Cat and her brood. Quickly my wife and I ended our activities and searched around the house - no sign. We continued the search through the garden and the surrounding area, but the enveloping darkness made it difficult to continue.
The following day we continued our search; despite our efforts, we couldn’t find a trace of Mrs. Cat or her brood... Our kindergarten scholar conveyed the mood of the time by sniffling out the loss. We were mystified by the dissapearance, and were ready to accept the loss. Until, one day we overheard a farmer from the neighboring village, remark, "There is a crazy black cat attacking the dogs of the area."
P.S. We went to that village with the hope of finding our Mrs. Cat, but we were unsuccessful in our search. Aterwards we surmised that somewhere in Israel, Mrs. Cat is still carrying out her duties as ‘watch cat’.
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