The Gopher Cat


Larry ScheckelShe was a yellow calico cat. Very quiet, the way cats are supposed to be. She arched her back up when you reached down to stroke her. She didn’t have a name, so we simply called her Cat. Cat would sit on my lap and form a perfect ball. Cat had three or four whiskers on each side of the head. I wondered what those whiskers were for. Other animals didn't have whiskers. I’d tweak those whiskers and Cat would pull her head back. My brothers, Phillip and Bob, and I would put our head close to the stomach of Cat and listen to the purring growling sounds.

Phillip: "It's digesting food. That's the stomach growling."

Lawrence: "No, it's not. That's the heart pumping blood."

Bob: "Tain't neither one. Cats got special parts that make 'em do that. That's why those Egyptian pharaohs had cats running around."

Cat was a house cat in winter and bad weather. She could hang out in the kitchen, living room, or basement. Cat would get a slice of bread soaked in milk, placed on a saucer. Cat was treated special, different that the other farm cats. 

But in summer, Cat was a moneymaker. You see, Cat hunted gophers and gophers had a Crawford County in Southwestern Wisconsin had bounty of a nickel in the 1940s and 1950s. Gopher tails brought five cents, mole feet garnered a quarter, and monies paid for rattlesnakes varied depending on the number of rattles or eggs. 

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