One of Dr Suess’ best stories is “The Cat in the Hat.” I have my own version of that story, so set back and enjoy as I tell you about “The Cat in the Trap.”
Once upon a time in a land far far away known as Kansas, a young trapping enthusiast accompanied a well-meaning old coyote trapper as he made his morning trap check. It was a fine November morning and the two chatted about trapping as they drove through a field of milo stubble where the old trapper had his traps. As they approached the end of the field, a black shape in the trap ahead caused the old trapper to shudder; “Oh no, not a skunk” he thought. But much to the old man’s relief, the black shape was only a black cat held firmly in the jaws of the coyote trap. Now even though the trap was far from any dwelling or farm, the coal black cat appeared to be a healthy specimen, “Probably someone’s barn cat,” thought the old trapper, “And I know how much the farmers round’ here like their barn cats” he mused. So it was decided the cat should be set free to return to its life of mousing. “This should be easy and take no time at all,” he advised his young apprentice.
Now the cat it was a feisty one, spitting and growling as it fought its steel captor, but the old trapper had done this before and knew just what to do. A well placed boot on the cat’s throat would anchor it long enough to open the jaws of the trap and free it once again to its life of farmstead servitude. The boot was so-placed and the cat appeared to be held nicely against terra firma. Dropping to one knee, the old trapper quickly sprang into action opening the jaws of the trap, when the unspeakable happened. Whether his weight shifted slightly off the foot that held the squalling feline, or whether the black demon suddenly became Satan himself we’ll never know, but the old trapper suddenly found the cat’s teeth fastened firmly across his left index finger, causing him to instantly leap upright and orate scathing words of disapproval towards the cat’s actions. A couple quick, spiteful stomps anchored the cat again and it was released to run for its life.
The mornings trapping lesson ended early for the young apprentice. The old trapper was carted off to the local dispensary where three tiny knots of thread were added to the cat’s handiwork on his finger, and he would be told by the attending doctor that “Nearly all cat bites will become infected if not properly treated.”
The moral of the story is this; good ole’ house cats can be fun as they roll around at your feet on the floor, and good ole’ barn cats are irreplaceable when it comes to keeping your barn mouse-free. But from now on and for the rest of my trapping career every cat found in a trap of mine not easily identified as “Fluffy” next door will be charged a fee, consisting of no more and no less than the unused portion of its nine lives …Continue to Explore Kansas Outdoors.
Steve can be contacted by email at [email protected]