News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion Columns

September 21, 2013

RONN MOTT: Feeling good about cats and kindness

TERRE HAUTE — The thing about raising animals is no matter how hard you try they are still like little children who cannot speak to you in English.

Our cats communicate with my wife, and she has it down to “I’m hungry” “I want to go back out” or “I am bored.” We live across from Collett Park on an extremely busy street that separates us from the park. We have tried to keep our cats out of the park and, so far, we have been successful.

The other morning we awoke to see one of our male cats stretched out on a picnic table in the park across the street from our house. I alerted the wife and we both went out and were about set to go across the street to the park to get him when the attempt was interrupted. A dog, not used to seeing cats sleeping on picnic tables, began to bark and growl and, fortunately, he was on a leash and could not get to our cat.

The cat was scared. His pencil tail all fuzzy and the rest of his fur fluffed up, he jumped off the table and began to fly across the street. It is a busy time between 7 and 8 a.m. on this street. We watched as he ran into our yard but when we glanced back at the street there was our other male cat sitting in the middle of the street on the yellow line.

Potentially, we could have lost both cats very quickly. As it was, we got them back in the yard and around to our back yard safe and sound.

Whew! It was scary. Cats and busy streets do not mesh well. It is dangerous and deadly for small animals.

The squirrels have learned (there are many squirrels in the Collett Park area) to avoid the cars.

However, squirrels do not always make the right decisions and there are often fatalities.

It seems we have gotten our cats used to the idea of staying out of the street, but like any cat, curiosity or the chance of a chase breaks down that concentration. I hope we don’t wake up to any more cat-in-the-park events, but we have to keep a wary eye open for just that type of thing.

Three or four days ago we were involved in a project and my wife had been out to start our car. We got the job done, did not need the car, and we both went back inside the house. I went for the paper and my cup of coffee and the wife busied herself with something in the kitchen. We got busy and stayed busy, and then in about four hours or so, I heard dogs barking in the park.

A young man and a young woman were walking their two dogs in the park. Nothing usual in that, except this time the young man gave his leash to the woman and he trotted across the street to our door. I had just walked out to the front porch to see what the barking was about. I answered the door and the young man said, “Sir, did you realize your car is running?” He said he noticed it the first time around the park and when he came back around it was still running. The wife immediately went out and shut off the car.

We thanked the young man profusely and, for whatever reason or why, we forgot to get his name.  So, to those two nice people, we say, “thank you very much!”

It doesn’t seem to matter what season or time of the year, people who walk around the park just seem to be nicer than the rest of the folks in our town. And we thank you for that.

Kindnesses seem to be rather rare these days. But you see that around Collett Park. It makes us feel very good about where we live.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.

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