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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Hunger (11/08/04)

TITLE: Cat on a Slippery Tin Roof
By Linda Germain


Three birdhouses and two feeders are hanging from part of an old Beech tree about five feet away from the kitchen window that faces the street. The tree doesnít know it is deader than four oíclock. It seems to be too full of manners to fall down and disappoint sweet little feathered visitors. In case a wind gets to it with news of its demise, my plan is to keep it standing by bracing it on all sides with metal spikes.

Admiring the Cardinal who is poised on the mailbox considering his potential bed and breakfast options, something catches my eye. There sits my Miss Kittypants in all her gray striped, feline splendor. I know her tummy is quite full with store bought munchies, but she too is eyeing the little red fellow, plotting to thwart his check-in to the bird-lodge. She is not hungry for food. It is natural instinct that drives her to bring him down.

I tap on the window and he retreats to the pine tree. She glances up at me, and although I am pretty sure cats cannot do this, she seems to roll her eyes at my interference. I tell her thatís too bad. She has a cute but deliberate marching way of walking that makes me picture her wearing a hat and carrying a sensible purse.

Up the street she clomps, then makes a sharp right turn into the driveway. There is usually a brief pause at the birdhouses to confirm any new residents. Then she sashays into the house to search for the nap-place du jour. Big cats in the jungle make frequent sleep location changes in order to keep prey off balance. Those cryptic internal cat rules do not consider size. She prowls and sleeps in much the same pattern.

The instinct to satisfy hungers has always existed in humans. Even King David, who could have had anything he needed, lusted for a beautiful married woman. His covetousness resulted in the death of her husband, a loyal and innocent man. More havoc followed.

We are given the ability and the tools to identify which hunger we choose to feed. Without a moral code, we are no better than the dumb animals who act on instinct. Godís commandments are to keep us safe, not make us unhappy.

Last year, Miss Kittypants began a most peculiar roof sitting routine. The reason for her elevated position was to gain a better view of bird activity. Her desire for more than food sent her scampering up the tree and across the housetop on a daily basis.

At the end of her shift, she would meow hysterically, begging for help to descend. The new tin roof over the back porch scared her. She did not like the sound her paws made as she tap danced to the edge, and she was afraid of losing control and shooting straight down into a potted plant. Her self inflicted fears resulted in great pain to her main caretaker.

Every night, her inability to connect action to consequences sent me up an old wooden ladder to hoist her to safety. Then, the next day, acting more like a human, she had forgotten how her extracurricular hunger had driven her to a scary place, and she was back up there surveying the neighborhood, hoping for a stray Tweety flying under the radar.

Barefoot and in a hurry, I grabbed an ancient chair destined for the dump. I wanted to gain enough height to grab that errant feline and haul her into hearth and home. Crashing through the rotten seat was not on the agenda.

That dramatic decent changed her interest in cat scanning, but my spiffy, new yellow ladder is standing by in case a disarmingly charming kitty needs help. Her curiosity and penchant for investigation, and her lack of understanding that we reap what we sow, predicts her adventures will never cease. All I can do is keep a warning bell on her collar to help curtail those instinctive hunger activities that have nothing to do with food.

For a safe and happy future, all she has to do is follow my rules. That cannot be a very original idea. In fact, observing the imprudent behaviors of his children, God must say the same thing. Hungerís wild pursuit ignores the window of opportunity to be rescued. In the end, all hope will be gone and we might as well be stuck on the roof with no ladder.

Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Malley11/15/04
I enjoyed reading your creative story that drove your point home. Wonderful writing. Thanks for the journey through your cat's eyes as well as your own.
Lucian Thompson11/15/04
Linda, this was so creative and just plain sweet to read. Good job.
Good job Linda, quite a different approach. I enjoyed it.
Corinne Smelker 11/15/04
This is the reason you are one of my most favourite authors! Miss Kittypants?? My cats have sensible names like Serena, Chloe and Tessa, but not you!!

Lovely style of writing, loved the beginning part of the dead tree - four o'clock dead, and not letting it know it died, how clever is that?!
Cyndy McNaul-Nelson11/15/04
Yes Linda;
This was a very good read. I truly enjoyed the escapades of your cat, much the same as my own cats do. I wonder how many people and how many lessons God has taught through His animals? Thanks. cyndy
Verlie Ruhl11/17/04
This was simply wonderful. The imagery was so vivid and true to life, and the lesson application hits home in a kind but insightful way. I loved it!
Deborah Anderson11/19/04
This was great, Linda. I love your stories. God bless you.
Kenny Paul Clarkson11/19/04

Yep, people are like cats. Much of what we do is driven by our desires.
John Hunt11/20/04
I loved this article - from the title until the end.
Very nicely done.
Mitzi Busby11/20/04
Linda, great job. I enjoyed reading it.
Lois Jennison Tribble11/21/04
Great approach, Linda. A very entertaining way to bring home good lessons!