The Banning of the Ghost Guard…The Shameless Shenanigans of Pat and Demon

Poor Pat. Living with me did have its drawbacks, especially when I had a camera in hand. Being a rescue dog, however, she was eternally grateful and willing to pose for me. Reluctantly. Behind her is the wood stove we used for heat and, above Pat’s tail, our first TV. It was a while ago. Grin.

Pat the Greyhound set the stage for the banning of the Ghost Guard from my bed.

The night of the skunk was an exception to Pat’s normal stay-at-home routine. As usual, I had crawled into bed with an assortment of animals. That evening, it was minus Pat. Good, she took up a lot of room. Somewhere around midnight, I half way awoke as she hopped up on the bed, completed three dog turns, and snuggled down. Consciousness made a quantum leap as my nose was assailed by an unmistakable perfume.

“Seems we have a skunk visiting,” I told Pat and reached down to scratch her head. The fur was moist. As I pulled my hand back, the skunk suddenly got much closer. Now, I was totally awake. Ms. Greyhound had been bullying the wrong pussycat. It was a night to sleep inside. In fact, Marshall had a roommate for several days. I don’t know how many times I washed that hand but I do know that the bedding was tossed and Pat learned what a tomato juice bath was. When I finally made it back outside, the animals were put on notice: One more problem and off they went. 

Then Demon the Black Cat made her contribution.

She was well into middle age by this time and there had been no pause in kitten production. This was a time before spaying became common. Every few months, Demon shelled out another litter. She had long since finished overpopulating Diamond and was working on surrounding communities. We were teetering on becoming known as the Cat Family of Diamond Springs. My father reverted to drastic measures. Demon was not pleased. She started hiding her kittens and became a master at subterfuge. If someone tried to follow her, she would stop and nonchalantly give herself a bath, her whole body, one lick at a time. Then she would wander off in the opposite direction.

Mother paid me in cookies to track Demon down. When the Graveyard was her destination, I had a flat tombstone I would stand on as a lookout. There was an added advantage; Demon didn’t check for people perched on tombstones. Who would? Eventually, the missing litter would be discovered. I felt like Daniel Boone.

Demon’s special home delivery took place the same summer Pat had her close encounter with the skunk. As noted earlier, my attitude about bed companions had become testy. I wasn’t above rolling over quickly to see how many I could dislodge. A really good roll would net three or four. Sleeping with me was like living on the San Andreas Fault.

I did feel guilt over routing Demon. Once again, she was pregnant. I watched her balloon out. By this time, I was a veteran of the birthing process and found it interesting rather than troublesome. One night I had awakened to Pat howling, found that she was delivering puppies, and sat up with her through the process. Another time I had gone out with Tom Murphy, our grocer, and assisted in the delivery of a calf that wanted to come out the wrong way. It was messy, up to the elbow work. Remember the coke I stole from his store on my 5 AM walk home from Rudy and Robert’s? Tom was repaid many tines over.

I really didn’t expect to be around for the arrival of Demon’s kittens. That would take place in some hidden nook. One should never make assumptions. 

It started as a normal night. Roll over, kick the animals off, and go to sleep. Wake up and repeat the process. It was not a normal morning. I woke up with wet feet.  

“What the heck!” I exclaimed as I sat up quickly, dislodging Pat in the process. Demon looked innocently back at me from the foot of the bed. Okay, nothing suggested why my feet were wet. Then I noticed movement. Demon was not alone. Several little black clones were lined up for breakfast. Demon had delivered her litter on the bed and my feet were awash in afterbirth.

That did it.  My bed was not a home for wayward dogs who encountered the business end of skunks and it certainly wasn’t designed as a maternity ward for unwed cats. I bought a water pistol and initiated a campaign of terror. Any four-legged critter on the bed became fair game. The cats learned quickly; getting shot with a water pistol was not their idea of a proper bath. The dogs were more resistant. Usually it took several squirts and then I would get the look: big brown eyes accusing me of dark deeds. But I was tough and my canine companions eventually vacated the premises as well.

As soon as I fell asleep, however, the whole menagerie, fleas and all, would quietly slip back up on the bed.


Blog a Book Wednesday… From “The Bush Devil Ate Sam” : A student revolution with world-wide implications was about to begin at Berkeley. As a student on campus it would have a dramatic impact on my world view and be an important factor in my joining the Peace Corps. I discuss how I gradually became involved and provide background information.

33 thoughts on “The Banning of the Ghost Guard…The Shameless Shenanigans of Pat and Demon

  1. I am laughing so hard. Oh the skunks are the worst.
    It seems you have a way with animals Curt and Demon knew you were all squirt and had a loving heart! Wow, even helped deliver a calf. No better gift than birth …..The annointed your feet.. 🤣
    I don’t think anyone of them would agree with you here:
    “My bed was not a home for wayward dogs who encountered the business end of skunks and it certainly wasn’t designed as a maternity ward for unwed cats”.

  2. HA! oh Curt…well, you make me feel that the 3 cats that occasionally wind up piled on me in the morning aren’t so bad- the worst I’ve gotten on me is a hairball!

  3. Yes, water pistols can come in handy. Restaurants and cafes near Sydney’s Opera House will now provide patrons with water pistols to try and keep seagulls away from diner’s plates. They had becomes so brazen that customers would be frightened. I have seen birds chasing kids carrying food in their hands
    I am glad to read signs posted on trees around the local lake that I often walk around, for people not to feed the local bird population. World Wildlife Australia now vigorously oppose feeding birds, cute as it may seem to see birds waiting for their feed.

  4. We were told we could keep the cats, so long as we found homes for every kitten. At the appropriate time, kittens would go into a lovely basket, and we’d go door-to-door. “We wondered if someone in this household needed a kitten?” we’d ask innocently. Our range grew wider and wider, as the neighborhood became saturated with our tabby kittens. Near the end, desperate, we’d use the secret weapon, my little sister. She was like a china-doll–a tiny child with, big blue eyes and a shock of thick blond hair. Better yet, she could summon tears in an instant. If a prospect was wavering…she’d turn it on, thick, “If we don’t find homes, my daddy says he’ll have to drown them in a sack!” I nearly always worked. We were greatly relieved when spaying became an option.

    • Door to door kitten service. I love it. And the secret weapon: Who could resist? The old cat in the bag trick was far too common in our area. Spaying is the civilized way to go! –Curt

  5. And there was thinking my one cat on the bed at night was one pet too many and giving Sooty a gentle nudge to the floor! Curt, I’m surprised you ever got ANY sleep!?😀😀 You’re a gifted storyteller and I’m transported along with your words about Pat and the gang … cat afterbirth on one’s bed is definitely the final straw!

    • Going back to sleep was a lot easier then than it is now, Annika. Ground, army cot, animals— no matter. Now if I wake up twice on a comfy, pet free bed, it’s stare at the ceiling time. 🙂
      Thanks on the story telling note. I enjoy writing. –Curt

  6. The whole thing made me chuckle.Thanks Curt. You had far more tolerance for bed companions than I ever would have. I’d have been using that water pistol from the first night. One cat I had insisted on sleeping next to my face. Yeah, just no. I would pick it up and literally hurl it to the bottom of the bed. This happened about 6 or 8 times every night for about a week. Finally he got the message – sleep at my feet or not on the bed at all. Ruthless I am. Ruthless 🙂

  7. I once had a cat that would start every night on my chest. It would take two or three times of tossing him on the floor before he moved to the foot of the bed. Then, the next night, same routine, like clockwork.

    But having your feet used as a maternity ward? Only Curt…

    • A cat will do what it wants to do, Dave. Damn the torpedos and full speed ahead. 🙂 That cat knew your chest was the perfect place to sleep!
      I once knew a cat that decided sleeping on my head was the place to be. After I had similarly tossed him off several times, he decided that my hair was something to attack. 🙂

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