5: Junior

5: Junior

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Cat

Junior

Fun fact: Some people believe that if you dream about a white cat, you’ll have good luck.

A white ball of fur, nails, and teeth was thrashing on top of the young dog that had foolishly wandered into our garage. My father tried to pry her off the poor canine, but all he got was scratches on his shoes and one on his leg. Junior wanted that dog gone right away. The dog managed to break free, blindly running out of the garage and across the road. He frantically disregarded any car that might have been driving on the asphalt because that danger was nothing compared to the white ball of insanity threatening to destroy him.

We had gotten the tiny, delicate kitten from a friend of my sister, who had commented that she looked just like her mother. This characteristic caused someone in my family to suggest we name her Junior, and the name stuck.

Junior grew to be a little smaller than an average cat, but her personality was that of a tiger. She hated dogs and only barely tolerated the two we had. Once in a while, she would attack the larger dog, and he would turn his face away and just try to get out of her way.

Whenever she saw a stranger dog, things got very interesting. She would sneak up and slowly make her way to the unsuspecting beast. She would then puff herself up until she looked five times her normal size. Then she would spring into action, and all we would see was a white flash of nails and teeth. When she was attacking a dog, she was unrecognizable as a cat. She looked like something out of this world, and that was her weapon. How can a dog fight something that looks like it was sent by the devil?

One time a client came by in his truck. As my father was talking to the man, his Blue Heeler jumped out of the cab and wandered about the yard. Junior spotted the dog. We saw her approaching and doing her dance, moving sideways and arching her back.

My father advised the man: “Watch out, that cat attacks dogs.”

The man responded, “Nah, my dog eats cats for breakfast.”

Just then, Junior sprang toward the dog and attacked. The poor dog did not know what to make of this white blur scratching at his face. He frantically escaped and retreated to the cab of the truck. Disappointed, the man exclaimed, “You big chicken!” Junior walked away to the back of the garage, still furious but proud of her accomplishment. The dog waited patiently in the truck while the client talked business with my father.

This happened several times to different dogs. Junior even attacked a blind dog. No kidding. Junior had no remorse for dogs that came into her territory.

She was also a next-level mouse hunter. When regular mice became too easy, too boring, she started bringing home prairie dogs. A prairie dog is prone to a ferocious self-defense, but once in a while, Junior would drag one of these guys home and offer it to us.

Not surprisingly, Junior had muscle tone that I have never seen on a cat. We noticed her muscles as she climbed the stairs, and my brother nicknamed her Sarah Connor after the fierce, muscular heroine in the Terminator movie we had recently watched.

Junior was not spayed. Despite Bob Barker’s efforts, no one I knew had their pets fixed in the rural southwest. I did not even know where a veterinarian could be found. Junior had a few litters and we managed to find homes for all of them. As her kittens grew into adulthood, we began to receive reports of those cats attacking dogs. She taught her kids well, and they became warriors in their own battles against the dog invasion force.

Although Junior was a vicious fighter, she was soft and gentle when interacting with her human friends. She loved to be petted, and she would occasionally sleep on my bed at night. When she was around, I felt strangely protected. When we played in the back yard, Junior was usually around but at a distance, as though she was watching over us.

We lost Junior during our family’s big move. She hated car rides, and halfway to our destination, she finally had enough. She broke free from her crate and squeezed out of my old pickup’s vent window as we slept in a motel room. The next morning, we walked around the neighborhood next to the motel calling her. If she was there, she was not coming to our calls. After a few hours, my father decided that we needed to press on and let Junior be.

Two decades later, we still talk about Junior when the family conversation turns toward our furry friends. We remember her victories, we acknowledge her influence, we regret our separation far too soon, and we wonder how she made out in her new home. Maybe there is a family of dog-attacking warrior cats near that motel right now.

~Dan C.

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