The Radical Cat

by Wendy Peterson

“Sometimes Known As Rad Cat”

No one knew where the Radical Cat came from. He just strolled into Jerry’s life one mid-summer day. Jerry spotted the marmalade cat wondering nonchalantly down the centre of the road – fearful of no one and nothing. When the cat noticed Jerry standing by the gate, his tail and his ears stood to attention.
In the next few seconds he had scaled the gate, brushing past Jerry on his way to the front door where, for awhile, he became the Mat Cat.
Jerry bent down and stroked the Mat Cat’s soft orangey fur. The cat languidly blinked green eyes, then lifted up his nose as if expecting a cat kiss.
This is radical, Jerry thought, a kissing cat!
He glanced around to make sure his annoying sisters weren’t within spying distance. Then he allowed the Mat Cat to snuggle into his neck and rub a wet nose against his.
The Mat Cat purred loudly enough to signal a thunderstorm.
“Would you like something to eat?” Jerry asked as he reached for the door.
The cat had whisked through the doorway before Jerry had one foot inside.
As Jerry hunted through cupboards to find something suitably fishy, the cat washed his coat and preened his whiskers before the Big Meal. He sucked up the first tin of sardines like a vacuum cleaner.
And the second.
Then the third.
Jerry watched the disappearing food in amazement. “You want more?” He asked when the cat lifted his head and look at him hopefully.
The cat meowed and flicked his tail.
Jerry laughed. “You’ll be Big Mac Cat at this rate!”
Big Mac Cat purred and slurped his way through nearly half a litre of milk with no trouble at all.
“You’re a totally radical cat, aren’t you?” Jerry said admiringly. “In fact, that’s a good name for you. How’d you like to be called the Radical Cat?”
The Radical Cat pondered the new name while dozing on a chair.
Rad Cat was the dog Jerry always wanted. Everywhere Jerry went, Rad Cat followed. And he didn’t just go for tame walks, he went flat-out jogging. Rad Cat jogging was a peculiar sight. He bounced along like he had inner springs inside his paws. But when Jerry and Rad Cat went down to the beach, he would scoot across the sand like he was Jet Bike Cat. He had one tricky maneuver: he liked to cross in front of Jerry deliberately tripping him up.
Then he was Mad and Bad Cat.
In hot weather Rad Cat became lethargic, even a titch grumpy. Usually they only made it to the top of the lane when Rad Cat decided he’d had enough. No amount of coaxing and wheedling would make him budge from beneath a shady tree.
There was only one possible way to get Rad Cat safely home. The sound of his blissful purrs filled the quiet lane as Jerry trudged homeward. Thanks to all the sardines and milk Rad Cat had devoured, he was the heaviest cat Jerry ever carried.
The occasional dog wandered the dusty country lanes where they lived. Any dog naturally became excited when he saw the marmalade bundle of fur bobbing along beside Jerry. He charged – as you do – hoping the radical cat would run.
However, Rad Cat refused to be intimidated and stood his ground – or sat on it. This took all the fun out of it and confused the dog, and they pulled up in mid-charge. Rad Cat then marched past with his tail held high. But if he was feeling hot and bothered, the dog got a whack across the nose as he passed – or a sharp claw up a tender nostril.
When he wasn’t being Whack Cat, he became Laptop Cat. The moment Jerry slumped onto the comfortable old sofa to watch telly, Rad Cat swooped, ending in a purring heap across Jerry’s knees. However, his sisters complained they couldn’t hear anything over Rad Cat’s thunderous purrs.
Rad Cat’s favourite sport was fishing – in the family aquarium. He never caught anything, but he had the best time trying to nab one of the darting goldfish. This past-time was strictly forbidden, so, Rad Cat always had an ear cocked.
One afternoon, feeling particularly daring, he balanced on the edge of the glass with three paws, shooting out a fourth paw when a goldfish swam near. While passing through the hallway, Jerry spotted Rad Cat on the edge of the aquarium and decided to teach him a lesson. He crept up behind the happily oblivious cat until less than an arm-length away.
He reached over and tapped Rad Cat’s back. Rad Cat did a strange dance on the edge of the aquarium then slipped and fell.
Water rained over the sides as Rad Cat hit the surface then sank down among the water plants. Jerry frantically reached into the water and grabbed a handful of soggy fur.
“I hope you’ve learned your lesson,” said Rad Cat’s defiant expression as he was toweled and blow-dried.
Jerry took Rad Cat to visit his best friend, Sam, who lived a lane away. Sam had a gorgeous ball of fluff called Melon. Rad Cat was entranced. Unfortunately, Melon was much less impressed and wouldn’t let him inside the house. She sat on one side of the screen door while Rad Cat sat dejectedly on the other. If he so much as moved a whisker, she hissed.
Every time Jerry took Rad Cat to visit Sam and Melon, the same thing happened.
It was a stand off. Rad Cat increasingly became Sad Sack Cat.
“You have to bring girls presents and stuff,” Jerry told Rad Cat knowledgeably.
As Jerry was leaving that day, he noticed a dead mouse lying beside the door. After the following visit, there was an assortment of spiders and beetles lined up. But nothing really seemed to work for Rad Cat.
When Rad Cat disappeared for a few days, Jerry was worried. He knew tomcats liked to wander, but it was unusual for Rad Cat to miss a meal.
He listlessly hung around the house wondering what he did before Rad Cat came into his life. Jerry kept seeing terrible visions of him lying in pain beside a road. He was also haunted by the possibility that one of the dog pack had finally caught up with the Radical Cat. He was so fearless he wouldn’t run away, no matter how big and fierce the dog might be.
The lanes rang with the sound of Rad Cat’s name, but only barking dogs answered Jerry’s call. Then he hurried down to the beach, but only seagulls scurried along the sand.
Sam phoned and invited Jerry around to play his new computer game. When he looked out Sam’s bedroom window, he thought he glimpsed Rad Cat dashing through the daffodils.
I’m becoming obsessed, he thought and turned back to the computer.
Not much later, he saw a flash of marmalade fur disappearing up the apple tree followed by Melon.
It was extremely rare for Melon ever go to outside.
“I think I just saw Rad Cat and Melon in the garden!” he announced to Sam.
Sam poked his head out the window in time to see Melon tearing down the trunk of the tree. Rad Cat was close behind.
Jerry and Sam looked blankly at each other then dashed out into the back yard. Rad Cat and Melon were curled up together between the pumpkins.
Somehow Rad Cat and Melon had become an item.
Not long afterwards, Rad Cat received his favourite name: The Dad Cat!
And, of course, a radical cat had to have twelve radical and loveable kittens.

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