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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

    To carry her weekly column in your newspaper, or to republish an article, please contact her. It's that easy. 

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Stray Cat...

Never Feed a Stray Cat

A stray cat began hanging around our house this week. Actually, it is more of a kitten that has reached the stage when you realize that, like other kittens, it will eventually become a cat. It was wearing a pink collar.

I had to run it out from under the car to be sure we didn’t run over it. I thought it would go home. “Scat, kitty!”

I later caught my grandson playing with it. “You can’t have that cat,” I said. “It has on a collar. It belongs to someone.”

It spent the night on the patio on top of the gas grill. “Don’t you dare feed that cat,” I told my daughter. “It will never go home if you feed it. It must be lost.”

We checked with the neighbors, and no one claimed it. "Maybe it belongs across the street. They have cats." It had to belong to someone; it had on a collar.

“I don’t want another cat. We have a cat, not to mention two dogs and a fish,” I said.

The next night it was again on top of the gas grill crying. “It can’t come inside. It belongs to someone and they will be looking for it.” It would not stop crying. It was driving me nuts.

I noticed my honey continuing to make trips to the kitchen during the evening. Every time he came back there was a cat report.

“It’s really getting hungry.”

“It’s crying to come inside.”

“It’s afraid of the fireworks.”

“It is going to starve to death.”

“Do you want to be responsible for starving an animal to death?”

Finally, I could stand it no longer. “All right, let it inside but it’s going to be YOUR cat!” He couldn’t get to the door fast enough, and soon the kitten was inside gleefully drinking a saucer of milk.

When my grandson could not find the cat outside, he was upset. “Have you seen….the CAT!?” The cat was sitting on the back of the sofa smiling.

“What’s that cat doing inside?” “Can we keep it? Can it be my cat? Can I name it?”

I still held out hope that it belonged across the street. Fat chance. When we checked, the neighbor said it had hung out at his house for a day or two, then got in a fight with his cat and he hasn’t seen it since. Of course not, it lives on my gas grill now.

Maybe we could put up a sign, “Found, gray and white cat with pink collar.” My daughter made the sign, but no one called.

The cat has moved it lock, stock and barrel now. It climbs on our laps and purrs. It gets in the beds at night. It finds cat toys, like pens, string, paper wads and anything that dares to move. A scratch on its lip from the neighbor’s catfight makes it appear to constantly be smiling. I'm sure that it is just the scratch.

“Did you ever think that cat would be inside when we couldn’t find it?” my grandson asked his mother. I don’t know about her, but I didn’t think so.

The cat now owns the house, chasing its own tail, climbing on the furniture, eating us out of house and home, and tormenting the dogs. It has catnip toys, a name, and an appointment with the vet for a checkup and shots.

And that’s how we ended up being adopted by the stray cat. But it has on a pink collar - it must belong to someone.

Copyright 2004 Sheila Moss

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