Herding Cats

Our mother had a real aversion to cats. She always told my sister and me to steer clear of them because they “could not be trusted.” Generally, Mother never wanted us to have different opinions than she did. She would present unusual tangents about such an opinion in her unique attempt to convince of the “logic” of her position. However, my sister and I almost always took the opposite point of view. We did so primarily because:

  • Dad had taught us to be independent thinkers
  • Mother’s opinions were pretty far out of the mainstream, and most of all
  • We were not crazy

Mother would talk about the entire cat family as if they were plotting to overthrow Cat in a pretend fighter planethe government. Not only could they not be trusted, she said it was impossible to get them to mind. I’m not sure if she tried herding them, but if she did she quickly learned her lesson. Herding cats is like thinking you can control the weather (though more than once Mother implied that she had some sort of special connection to control the weather). Cats are independent creatures who will not allow human beings to be the boss.

You would think Mother would have realized her plight when trying to herd her own children. It was usually not successful and the punishment awaiting was worth letting her know she was not the boss of us either! Often when she would bellow out the door or window, if she was too tired or drunk to get up from her easy chair, Abby and I ignored her. Sometimes, when she was overly imbibing in her special drinks, she would forget all about us. Other times, she was madder than a wet hornet or a binge drinker who just ran out of liquor. Then we paid the price.

Mother never got over her hatred of cats. She called them sneaky, spooky, spying little animals and she had no use for them. I am pretty sure the feeling was mutual!

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