Tuesday, March 13, 2007

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uno teaches me a lesson

uno's in high heaven here. for the first time since he was 7 months old he gets to go outside and he loves it. our new house in mbuya has an enourmous yard ("garden" in uganda-speak) with lots of vegetation and animal life to explore and - to our comfort - comes replete with a solid, high wall. so far uno hasn't discovered an escape route, although we know it's there evidenced by the stray cat that wanders into the yard some nights. the rule is that when the sun goes down, uno comes in. he abides by the rule pretty well and often will find his own way into the house just as the sun is setting. but, when the sun is high, his days are full of sprinting at phil's camera, lounging on the patio, climbing trees, rubbing his face on the scratchy asphalt, eating the papyrus, and...hunting...

i love all of his new found freedom, except the hunting. i'm still struggling with his transformation from my sweet, cuddly uno cat to my stealthy, ruthless hunter cat. i was proud of his cockroach catches, i tolerated his running tally of tailless geckos, but i'm not so good with his recent habit of preying on moles. moles are rodents. i don't like rodents. i especially don't like rodents when they're being deposited at the foot of my bed dead. yuck.

it's phil's job to recognize uno's triumphant trot-trot-trot and jingling collar bell as he returns to the house prey-in-mouth. it's also phil's job to get uno to drop his catch and return the poor creature outside. now that phil's gone (he's in scandanavia shooting pics), i'm not so keen on taking over his job responsibilities. so, phil's first day gone, uno got sidelined from the outside.

i knew it was going to be rough, but i was determined to stick it out. he went from happy, affectionate cat trying to coax me to caving in to a crying, insistent cat begging me to a quiet, reserved cat guilting me. i thought i had won the test of wills when seth and i left for sunday ultimate, so i (naively) left the door open and the gate closed. the gate has chicken wire the length of it so that uno can see outside but he can't go outside. or so i thought. he somehow squeezed, contorted, and pushed his way thru the one spot he could fit himself. freedom!

i got home from practice and found no uno; i knew immediately that uno had stuck one to me saying to himself, "beware if you do this to your kids someday." touche, i say, lesson learned. if kids want to do something badly enough, they're going to do it. if you tell them no with no explanation why not and cut them off cold turkey, they're still going to do it. simple as that. i'm going to write a book called: all i really need to know i learned from my cat, uno.

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