Friday, December 27, 2013

Mr. Socks Invents Whack-a-Lizard

When approaching this challenge, it took me several days to shake off the idea that I need to think of a 'risk', some adventure I'd missed doing along the way,  and rather, something I'd like to do if I could but can't.

After we returned from living in Australia in the early 1990's, my husband and I bought a house in Florida where he had been assigned.  We knew we would be there only a month before he would be reassigned temporarily to Seoul, Korea.  We bought a house to hold our 'stuff' until we returned. 

The first night of our moving temporarily into our new home, we heard a young cat meowing in our flower bed.  I inquired with the neighbors as to whose it might be.  They all thought it was ours as we three had appeared in the neighborhood on the same day.

At that time Palm Beach county euthanized 2500 abandoned dogs and cats a year.  (People come for holidays, think because the weather is so benign that their 'short-time' pets can shift for themselves!)

Naturally we took the cat in.  My husband's daughter was attending college nearby and agreed to move in with her rescued dog and house/pet sit until we returned three months later.

Interestingly I had always thought I was allergic to cats.  But Mr. Socks (named because he had four white paws) didn't seem to bother me.  We grew to love him and we have many, many Socks stories.  He was a real character.  Over the 13 years he lived with us, I had convinced myself that I had developed an allergic tolerance to him.

Socks was to be an indoor cat, largely because we are birders, but also because a gator would show up in the pond behind our house occasionally.  He preferred to be in…he'd heard the Florida panthers at night.  He loved to play and made the best of his indoor life.  

His favorite game he invented himself.  He would wait patiently in the screened patio for a lizard to show up…he would catch it gently in his mouth, march to the dining room and place it on the highly patterned rug.  The lizard would run to a shape…try to camouflage itself and hold very very still.  Socks would sneak up and give it a whack and watch it run to another spot to camouflage itself and hold still.  Repeat, endlessly.  It was Mr. Socks' own game of Whack-a-Lizard and he thoroughly enjoyed himself.  He wasn't the least bit happy when his 'person' would rescue the lizard and release it out of doors.

There's nothing quite like self-delusion.  I attributed my severe allergic reactions that came on while we were living in Florida to a plethora of other causes.  Never attributing my increased doctor visits to the cat.

After his death my symptoms slowly subsided.  We will never be able have another cat.

The risk I would take, if I knew there'd be no complications, would be to rescue another ginger cat.
Mr Socks: 9"x18"

Mr Socks detail

One of his toys


  1. When I saw the title of your post in the queue, I really couldn't imagine where you were going. It's really interesting the things that make a life complete……I will loan my cats, if you will loan me some of your travel :)

  2. I was thinking pretty much the same thing…Your cat Lunchbox in exchange for no reservations, no expectations, a backpack and three Aboriginal Communities' invitations to visit. By-words "No worries, Mate". And it was before there was any internet to speak of in the desert. It was a blast. I hope you get a chance to just GO. Alone ;^)