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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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Escape Artist...

The Escape Artist

This has been a bad pet week, to put it mildly. Last summer, we adopted a wild cat. I use the term “wild” only to signify that it is an untamed member of a domestic variety. It was a stray cat that loved us so much that it sat on the back patio and sang for days until we finally reluctantly took it in.

The funny thing is that as much as the cat wanted in at that time, it now wants out. It has become an escape artist, refusing to behave like a house cat and instead reverting to its primitive instincts, which include escaping to the outdoors and climbing all over my car.

There is absolutely nothing as vexing as getting ready go someplace and finding your car covered with cat paw prints across the windshield. It does no good to wash it because the instant the cat sees a nice shiny clean car, its sole purpose in life is to reclaim its territory and mark it with more prints.

If the cat could go outside and behave itself, it would not be so bad, but it cannot. It fights. It was once an attractive cat, but that was before the back surgery. A close encounter of some sort in one of its adventures caused an injury that required surgical intervention and resulted in a large patch of fur being shaved off the cat’s back.

Even before the sutures healed, the cat bolted outside and was gone over night worrying my daughter to death. Frankly, I was rather glad it was gone. She made “lost cat” signs to put around the neighborhood. Naturally, it eventually got hungry and came back home, none the worse except for a bloody and crooked toenail.

Regardless of how hard we try to keep the cat inside, it manages to figure out a way to get out. The latest trick of choice is bolting unseen from behind a chair and running under your feet. Previously, it was hiding behind the curtains by the window, and bolting out as soon as the door was opened. Thank goodness cats do not know how to use crowbars.

Naturally, it does no good to attempt to catch the cat once outside. It is far too clever to let anyone get close enough. After his last wild night out, we noticed he was walking on only three feet. Another veterinary bill for an injured pad on his paw.

We decided that the cat must have motivation for wanting outside so badly, and that undoubtedly he was young Romeo to a feline Juliet somewhere in the neighborhood. Juliet apparently is not picky about appearance if she dates a cat in his shape. We decided that neutering was inevitable and the only way to keep the cat at home before he killed himself.

Another trip to the vet and another bill, but we were certain that at last he would behave like a domestic cat and forget all about the great outdoors and romantic adventures. We brought the cat home and were tremendously careful about the door, but before the anesthetic had worn off good, he escaped and was out the door, half-drunk.

Well, my daughter went after him and eventually came back carrying the cat and looking haggard.

“How did you catch him?” I asked.

“It wasn’t easy, I chased him around three houses and finally managed to get close enough to grab him.” The cat thanked her for saving his life by howling at the door for 30 minutes to go back out. He seems not to miss his manhood at all.

I really don’t have time to worry about it right now, though, as I’ve got to go outside and clean the paw prints off my car.

By the way, where’s the cat? He can’t be outside again!

Copyright 2005 Sheila Moss

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