Friday, January 30, 2009

The other cat


Friday, January 30, 2009

The last three days, I've been thinking about cats and mystery stories. Because I put a picture of Angel on the blog yesterday, I thought I'd put Rascal on today. He is our living cat. He is about 16 years old. We know his age because he was a small kitten, surely less than eight weeks, when we got him.

We got him in the midst of the 1993 flood as it affected Carrollton, Missouri. That was a very hard time for that community. So Rascal is a flood cat, another stray, the only kind we've ever had.

And that brings me to something I've written about before, but not for a long time. Stray animals were an awful problem on the grounds of the mental hospital where I was raised. People from town would literally drop grocery sacks of kittens and puppies on the grounds.

One time we found a mother cat and her kittens in one of our basement window wells.

Those were different times. The hospital would form hunting teams to go out and kill the dogs which ran in packs around the place. The hospital, like any other town, had its own dump. The wild dogs were a danger, not just for health reasons, but also because they attacked domestic animals. They were a danger to the hospital's 100-animal cow herd.

I've always thought you could tell a lot about a community, or maybe even a society, by the way it treats animals. Also, individuals who care for animals and treat animals well are often good people in other ways too.

On that basis, Harry in The Body in the Record Room and the other Roy Rogers books, is more than just a good guy. He is a reflection of one of the qualities of real goodness--kindness to animals.

I've been writing about Harry for years (mostly in times when he was older than he is in these books), and I've always loved him.


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