Cat Story

My oldest son has always loved cats and we had lots of cats around the house as he grew up. At one time we actually had 19 cats and kittens running in all directions, but always showing up for dinner.
One of his first cats was given to him by a lady who lived in Jonesboro. I recall our going to get the cat in the family car, a Volkswagon Beetle. On the way home, the cat, a Siamese...about half grown, became frightened and jumped to the wall of the car with all four legs extended and embedded her claws into the upholstery. She let out a mournful cry that lasted most of the way home, and there was no way to remove that cat from the wall of the automobile. When I see these Garfield stuffed animals affixed to the windows of cars, I always think of that incident.

The cat was given the name, Sheila, and Sheila was allowed to stay in the house, a privilege never afforded any other cat. Several months later, Sheila started acting very strange. She would put her body close to the floor and snake along while making that mournful cry of hers. She definitely was not herself. My son became very concerned thinking that she was ill.

When I got to work that day, I asked a lady friend of mine who had cats of her own, what could be wrong. She laughed and told me that when a Siamese cat went into “heat," it would act this way.

I lived very near my office and went home for lunch each day. It was during summer time and my son was on vacation from school. Being quite relieved, I could hardly wait to tell him that Sheila was not sick. In those days, it was not common for houses to have central air conditioning and we had all of the windows open to keep a breeze flowing through the rooms. I took my son aside and said, “David, don’t worry about Sheila, Miss Opal said that nothing is wrong. She is just in ‘heat’ and Siamese cats act that way when they’re in ‘heat’.” I could tell that he too was relieved as he ran off and I went to the back of the house to prepare for lunch. To my surprise, as I returned to the kitchen, my son was there holding Sheila horizontally by her front and hind legs in front of an air conditioning window unit that we seldom used.

“What in the world are you doing!” I exclaimed.

“Cooling Sheila,” he said.

When a father teaches the “birds and the bees” to his son, it would be a good idea to include “cats”.