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The Bengal, A Cockateil and a Checkbook Box

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I had been sitting in the living room with my broken foot propped on an ottoman. Make-shift ice packs of peas and carrots were placed tightly around my bandaged leg. I was trying to relax and watch a little TV. Out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse my cat, Bangle, scurry by. She’s an amazingly beautiful cat, a Bengal, with a breathtaking leopard spotted pelt. I know, I know….”Bangle the Bengal” you’re thinking? My husband named her. Enough said.


Her stance was that of a conqueror. Her head was held high. She appeared very proud of her stealthy prowess. Her back was straight and her body was tall. Her jaw was tightly clenched. Out of her lips I saw feathers, bright yellow feathers! She pranced by and stopped in front of me. I knew that she was mocking me. She knew that I couldn’t get up. She knew I couldn’t stop her. Her determined stare penetrated my soul. She had been the victor and she was relishing the moment.

I screamed to my husband "Jeff! Bangle has Nikki's cockatiel! HURRY!” With that she knew she would now be the prey. She was gone in an instant. Jeff came from out of nowhere. “Down the hall!” I screamed. My muscle bound husband sprinted down the hallway. He made it just as the black tip of her tail made it under my bed.

I grabbed my crutches and somehow pulled myself from up from my chair. What I saw when I finally was standing made my heart stop and my blood run cold. There were yellow feathers everywhere. I held my breath remembering the last time one of Nikki's birds met his end in the mouth of one of our cats. Nikki had been out of town. She called everyday to see how Buddy was. I couldn't bring myself to tell her that her Dad left Buddy out of his cage the day after she left town. Jeff had Buddy on the table with him as he worked on blueprints. The door bell rang. Once he got to the door he began chatting it up with the one Nikki calls “the accomplice in Buddy’s murder.” Jeff forgot that he had left the prized pet on the kitchen table. He thought nothing of it when a cat slipped by his foot and into the house.

I walked into the kitchen several minutes later. I froze as I saw an open cage door. I found scattered feathers and a pool of blood on the dining room hardwood floor. We tried to save the ravaged bird; we really did, to no avail. Poor Buddy spent the next two weeks chilling in a checkbook box in the garage freezer. We couldn't bury him until Nikki came home.

The sight of the feathers curling out of Bangle’s smiling mouth petrified me. I got light headed and thousands of thoughts raced through my mind: “poor Nikki”, “I don't want another dead bird in my freezer”, “damn cat!”, “if that bird is dead I’m going to kill that freaking cat!” I envisioned John Walsh posting my picture on “America’s Most Wanted” for cat murder. I was gonna be sick.

Through the haze of thoughts twirling through my mind I heard something. I could hear Jeff wrestling things around. “Oh Holy Mother of God!” I thought, “The cat’s under my bed with a dead, bleeding cockatiel!” The noise stopped. I could hear Jeff lumbering down the hallway. He came back to where I was standing. His jaw was set. His eyes were those of a warrior. He grabbed one of my crutches out from under me which knocked me back into the chair. Without saying a word he turned back to finish his mission. The fight was on.

Sweat began beading up on my forehead. I could hear the recovery continue. A small feather floated by on a wisp air. What were we going to tell her this time? How in the hell did the cage get left open? I began to mentally survey each of the kids' whereabouts. No one was home. Nikki must have left the cage open herself. “Thank God!” No, I mean, “poor Nikki”.

Banging and cursing were coming from the theater of war. I heard Bangle running down the hallway back toward the living room. Feathers were still in her mouth, lots of feathers, huge, bright yellow feathers. It wasn't just one of the cockatiels; it looked like she had been hunting on Sesame Street! Just as the cat ran past my foot, Jeff jumped and landed on her. My 240 lb husband was playing tug of war with a 16 lb cat and I wasn't sure which one was going to win.

There was growling and hissing, cursing and flying feathers. It was a rolling, screeching ball of determination. Suddenly, after a loud yelp, Jeff jumped up triumphant, Bangle's prey in his bleeding hand. He stood there before me. He was covered with sweat, scratches and feathers. His blue eyes pierced mine as he held in front of my face hundreds of big, yellow, wet feathers. It wasn’t moving. “What the hell is it?”I asked. He shook it out. It was the chickadee costume! My oldest daughter had worn it in a dance recital when she was four years old. My cat, killer of chickadee costumes! Thank goodness it wasn't a cockatiel.

Jeff dropped the dead costume in my lap and told me to wait a minute, as If I could go anywhere with a broken foot and only one crutch. When he returned he handed me Bangle's other "catches” he had found in her lair beneath my bed. There was a princess hat with a few purple feathers left on it, the feathered headband that belonged to the chickadee costume and the bare bone of a chicken leg. What a huntress Bangle is, Conqueror of all things inanimate. My heart slowed. I could again breathe. I was glad that both cockatiels lived and, most importantly, I don't have to tell Nikki "he's in the freezer".




8 comments:

Snowbrush April 21, 2010 at 9:42 AM  

I'm so sorry about your bird.

You wrote: "If some people are right I have nothing to lose, but if my faith is right I have a lot to lose....does that even make sense?"

This IS what's called Pascal's Wager. You might enjoy Googling him. His famous argument was made hundreds of years ago, yet it is the same argument as you are making now.

Classic NYer April 21, 2010 at 10:49 AM  

"Your cat-intelligence is no match for my people-intelligence!" --modified Family Guy quote

Teri April 21, 2010 at 11:17 AM  

Snowbrush, I'll check it out. Thank you. It was nice to finally be able to say something about the whole topic.

Teri April 21, 2010 at 11:19 AM  

Classic NYer,

My cats.....oh my cats! They do feel they are superior in the food chain. We had to find a new home for Bangle though. She was constantly causing trouble with the other cats, dogs and her human pets.

john April 22, 2010 at 9:56 AM  

first off, what a beautiful cat. Those spots are amazing.

Second, too funny. the vision of everyone chasing the cat around and you on your crutches (poor thing) was just too funny. Thank God everyone is safe and you didn't break anything chasing bangles around.

Hey, at least bangle knew it was easier to hunt something that was just laying there then something flying around. Gotta hand it to her.

Teri April 24, 2010 at 10:46 PM  

I can't help but laugh everytime I envision Jeff tackling that cat!

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- Norman

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