One complication when traveling from Italy, to Uzbekistan – via North America – with a cat on board is providing a stable environment for the uprooted animal. Especially of that animal is a Machiavellian Tuscan farm cat with a marked penchant for mayhem.
Consequently, “Ponce the tyrannical Tuscan farm cat” (his official name) is bunking here at Maul-Hall while his “staff,” Andrew and Alicia, are off for an eight-day excursion.
“Hey dad,” Andrew texted yesterday afternoon, “will there be a Ponce blog?”
I hadn’t thought about it. Probably wouldn’t have found a space for it. Then he bit me.
DO I LOOK LIKE AN ITALIAN MOUSE? It was predictable. I’m sure that my forearm, folded around the back end of the Sports Section in today’s News & Observer, reminded the cat exactly of a small mouse running across the floor of a barn in the Tuscan countryside. All he could possibly have done was to pounce, grab, and try to kill the offending appendage, right?
Scout Labradoodle, at a full 75-pounds and covered in thick, protective coat, decided she would not come down for her breakfast until I climbed upstairs to escort her past the bristling, ferocious, fur-ball guarding the guest-room side of the banister. They had already met at that spot once before, and negotiated the turf. It didn’t go well for the labradoodle.
Overall, though, probably a good 99.9% of the time, Ponce the tyrannical Tuscan farm cat is peaceable, affectionate, and interested in nothing but stretching out in a patch of sunlight, or looking out the front window from my study desk.
And, to be fair, it must be traumatic to have to apply for a “pet-passport,” secure all the relevant medical papers, and then be uprooted, stuffed in a carry bag, tranquilized, and carted to America for an extended sojourn before repeating the process in order to make a new home in Central Asia.
So chill, little cat; sit on my desk all you want; peer out the window looking for your slave, Andrew; wander around the house securing more and more dog-free territory for your temporary kingdom; pretend for just a few more weeks that you own the place; knock yourself out…
But let me be clear; if you bite me again I’m going to find where Andrew keeps those travel tranquilizers, and when you wake up sometime in the distant future, you’re going to find yourself locked in the guest room for the duration.
And, Scout, really? Would it hurt you to throw your weight around just a little?
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.