Not all teachers are human

Daily writing prompt
Who was your most influential teacher? Why?

Not all teachers are human.
My most influential non-human teacher was my gray cat Clancy J Bumps ( don’t ask what the J was for, he didn’t like to be called by it and would attack madly). Among the nicknames he earned was – The Grey Menace. The Menace loved to fight. But he almost always won through strategy and intimidation. Few cats or dogs dared actually to engage him in full combat.
The enormous German shepherd learned this lesson the hard way. He thought the kitty was a handy snack. The Menace was tied on a leash in the yard. The dog did not know that the leash had a breakaway section for times just like that. Clancy mewed piteously and lured the dog into our yard. He then snapped the lead, assaulted the dog, and sent it into a hurried attempt to clamber over an eight-foot palisade fence. Afterward, the Menace sat there licking the blood of his claws. The dog’s owner was furious. I pointed out that the dog was collar and leashless, outside his yard and in mine. The dog also had attacked my poor, innocent cat. I refused to pay the dog’s vet bills.
Although the Menace tried to lure the dog back into the yard again, it whimpered every time it saw Clancy in the yard.

An excellent example of a teacher you’re thinking? Well, he tended to make friends with his foes after fights. Seeing four or so cats basking in the sun was amusing. With catnip growing as a weed in the garden, the afternoons often turned into catnip nap sessions.
The Menace was fiercely loyal to his friends and would threaten to tear you up if you threatened them. He also knew when to make a face-saving retreat and take credit for a victory.
He was a gourmet who loved chile, roast beef subs ( with hots, please), and relished a good dance party.

What did I learn from him? First, you should attack fiercely when attacked, make peace afterward, and enjoy life to its fullest.


Game On! the first chipmunk of the season has been sighted. Yes, he was not one of the chubbier chippies that are so appealing. He appeared this morning on the ice near the stone wall. Father rebuked me because I did not chafe and bark at the door or howl with outrage.
Mine will be the long game this year. I will keep my peace until the furry little rats come up on the porch within range of my mighty lunge.

Last year I was young and inexperienced. I barked and then chased. The chipmunks dived into their little chipmunk holes and chittered with amusement. It was merely a type of entertainment, and I was just a barking Buffon ( a word I recently learned from the kitty).
This year will be different; kitty has suggested chasing before barking. She has also recommended her sort of yowling hunting cry. But somehow, every time I try it, she rolls on the floor and behaves like she has had too much catnip. She can’t be laughing at me…only humans do that.
Quick! There is another one. Open the door; the hunt is on!


What is the biggest challenge you will face in the next six months?

The cat and the new dog have unionized over the issues of food and feeding times…it’s going to be touch and go until the new contract gets signed:

We want food!!

When do we want it?


Down with the repressive human corporatist elites! Open the cans now ,or we go on strike!

We want food!!

When do we want it?


New Room

We finished the major renovation on the back room – soon to be my wife’s room for all the activities she has had no space for over the years.

I’ve converted an unfinished storage room upstairs and have the greenhouse workshop, but this is all hers. Oh, one minor quibble, the best window has a beautiful yard view, especially of a bird feeder. So guess who has decided that this window is hers and that the work table in front of it is a proper cat bed?

Xenia, Empress of all she surveys, feels that her mother’s objections are unsolicited and that she should be glad to have a cat supervising. I’ll let them work out their arrangements.

I have been erecting shelving and planning a pantry work counter with cabinets below for all the items my wife needs. But I have to be careful. It’s too easy for me to put up what I think she needs rather than follow her lead and give her what she wants.

In the meantime, the dog has decided that the other window is a great place to monitor squirrel activity next door. It may be my wife’s room, but she’ll have lots of company.

Pernicious rumors

There is a pernicious rumor that father makes these combs for my grooming. I want to address this in a direct and frank manner.

First, I am sure that the source of these slanders is none other than that mutt of questionable parentage, Max. Just because he lacks lustrous, silky fur like mine is no reason for him to slander his betters. Having short scratchy fur is OK if you are merely a dog.
Secondly, I do not need or ever use perfume. Cats are born into a state of perfection and need no amendment.
Finally, It’s time for my second breakfast. So bring it to me here on the dining room table father, the mother isn’t home yet, and she’ll never know. Chop-chop!

Team Work

I am ambivalent about the partnership between our cat, Xenia, and our dog Max. It has gone from enemies to frenemies to partners in the past couple of weeks. Back in August, they could not even be on the same house floor, but just before Christmas, I came home one evening to find them lounging together on the second-floor landing and looking for an evening snack.
So this relationship has progressed from gladiators meeting on the arena‘s sands to something entirely different. Even my wife, usually much more the optimist than I, admitted it was a surprise.

Then the six in the morning, arias started up again with Xenia in my room singing about hunger, the agony of abandonment by beloved humans, more about the desire for breakfast, and just a bit of a threat regarding what might come next. OK, those we’ve had before. But it was the baritone growls and yowls of Max that surprised me. Damn! They were doing a duet.

I get up, stumble downstairs, make them breakfast, and they slink off to the living room to lie in front of the fire. Obviously, the cat is the dominant member of this partnership. She has years of experience manipulating humans, and she gets results. What more can you want?

Xenia Houdini

I don’t care what my sister said. I was not being an impulsive brat! I was merely going out for a bit of exercise. No reason for mother to shriek at me!
That hound, he dropped the dime on me, ratted me out to father. Howling at the door until they came running.
Of course, it was pleasant to watch as they ran to and fro, trying to find out how I had gotten out without their noticing. That will remain my little secret. It’s so endearing seeing them flummoxed.
I’ll have to get on father to do more shoveling. That icky white stuff is soooo messy. I know my cousins in Florida don’t have to put up with the nasty stuff!

In the meantime, I’ll warm up on the heated blanket and ponder how I can precipitate more mayhem. It’s so much fun being an evil genius,

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