Taffy the Cat, (11/07/1999)

Sticking with this week's theme of fundamental animal misadventures, I offer you Taffy the Cat!
Taffy was an unremarkable domestic feline, small by most standards due to a tough start as a barn cat. He was adopted by an unremarkable suburban family at 8 weeks old, trading the rough and tumble rural life for the comparative bliss of the housecat. He enjoyed all the typically inscrutable cat behaviours which are the norm - shredding upholstery, defecating in shoes, slashing children with his razorsharp claws without the slightest provaction, etc. etc. All in all he was a completely typical cat with a completely typical life. Until he ate the yarn.
No-one really knows why he ate the yarn but there is no question that he ate it. The evidence was pretty hard to ignore (but, oh how we tried) - the yarn was gone and the cat had taken on the appearance of a deflated ballon. He just flopped around listlessly with a short piece of string hanging from his... bottom portion. Occasionally he would launch a vicious assault upon his own rectum but, aside from a lot a soft cat grunting and uncomfortable silences from the humans in attendance, nothing was achieved by it. How long could this unnatural state of affairs be tolerated? Longer than you think. It was that strange state of affairs where everyone is proceeding under the strained pretense that they haven't noticed the disgusting bit of string hanging from the cat's asshole. Finally, after a couple days, we convened a meeting wherein we resolved to do something about that nauseating cat/string problem.
I should point out that all of the human participants in this drama were young adolescents between the ages of eight to fourteen. The only adult in the household was a working mother who did not lay eyes on the cat for weeks on end as she had no use for cats and that antipathy was reciprocated, in spades, by the cat. (See above re: defecation in shoes) So there we were, five of the most squeamish kids in the world, at the most squeamish age of all ages, dealing with a problem that would make Quincy squirm with distaste. We quickly ruled out an appeal to the adult authority as foolhardy - that cat would be buried before you could say "Euthanasia".
It was a real dilemma and we had all but decided to go back to ignoring the whole thing when one of the neighbourhood kids - who was made of sturdier stuff then we five wimps - offered to solve the whole problem gratis and on the spot. "Quit yer whining and get me the cat," He said, in a manner that shamed us all with our gutlessness. So we did. And you know, before I say it, what he did. He pulled the string and all hell broke loose. It's not actually accurate to state it so simply as that; he didn't really pull it at all. He simply kneeled on the floor, took hold of the string firmly, and give it a quick little tug. We weren't prepared for the screeching and squalling and general shitstorm that ensued but our worldly neighbour apparently was. He looked a little grim and he even cursed a bit but he never let go of that string. The cat shot off  like a chinese firedrill  but he only got about eighteen inches before he was brought to a screeching halt by that deceptively strong yarn. They say that cats have nine lives, well that quick halt must have taken three or four judging by the sound alone. At this point the cat decided that, if he was going to go, he would take his tormentor with him and launched a full frontal attack on the stringbearer. With surprising agility, the kid slipped the attack by throwing himself to the floor to one side and he gained an additional six inches of string as the cat shot past him. This time the cat didn't come to a full stop but instead started on a quick little pendulum manouver on the end of the string - swinging back and forth through 180 degrees on the basement floor, trying to reach the safety of his hiding spot under the couch.
Well, what a bloody mess we were in now - the kid was laid out on the floor rolling around in shit with a demented, screeching cat flopping around on the end of a short string. We were all screaming advice and exhortations at the cat and the kid trying to bring this horrendous scene to an end.
"LET HIM GO!!!".
The cat kept swinging and our stoical friend simply held on like an experienced fisherman waiting to land the big one after it has fought itself out. The girls were crying but you could barely hear them over the spitting and yowling of the cat. Suddenly, with an incredible screech, the cat disappeared. One second he was there in all his screaming glory and the next split second he was gone, leaving our friend clutching a shitty string with an impossibly large knot in the end. We didn't see that cat for days - he shot straight out the basement door and didn't return for nearly a week. When he returned he appeared to be fine and we adopted an unspoken agreement not to discuss the event. Poor old Taffy is now long buried, died of natural causes I'm happy to say, I trust that he will forgive me for breaching his confidence all these years later. All in the interest of lightening up this (temporarily) dreary froup.
the old yarn-spinner...


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