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The Cat That Chased Dogs

Sally Sobattka's story about her "guard cat"

Submitted by:  Sally Sobattka, 5/6/07
This entry relates to the past
Category(ies) of this entry:  Pets, Family, Houses/condos/apartments

 June 1974.  I was a Single Mom with three young teenagers, a new doctorate, just moving into a small apartment in Davis.  I had only modest job prospects, no car, and little money – also no furniture or household goods to speak of.  In short, we were poor and hungry!

Illogical as it may seem, one of the wisest things I ever did then was to acquire a sweet kitten that we named “Wilhelmina.”  She was a tiny,  plain gray tabby, but she quickly distinguished herself as a remarkable feline – indomitable, in fact, like the old Dutch queen who stood up to Hitler. 

The kids and I planted a vegetable garden in the empty lot next to our apartment and for a whole year we proceeded to live off its produce (along with yogurt and eggs from the dairy driver on our delivery route).  “Willie” kept a close eye on the garden, which she considered hers.  If any neighborhood child or dog came near it, she would growl ferociously and chase them off.  Woe to any dog who dared to pee on her corn or pole beans!  She would chase it right down the middle of the street, the dog yipping and tucking his tail in between his legs.

After the chase, Willie would come home, her head held high to be admired and petted by the kids.  But, the neighbors complained. What was I to do?  She growled and hissed inside to be let out, sensing when a dog was near.   It was impossible to keep her in all the time.  Luckily the problem solved itself as the owner of the empty lot decided to build on it, our circumstances improved, and we were able to move into a different place – an apartment complex where I live to this day, that was mercifully free of dogs or streets. 

Wilhelmina settled down to being a meek, mild kitty, adored by all. She lived to the ripe age of eighteen and is remembered with great affection.  My children, who have all prospered nicely, honor her to this day by enjoying their own many cherished and elegant mousers.

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