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More Troubles -- and Radar

Welcome back to the bark side of life here in Ottertail, where soupy skies, filled with thunder-laden clouds and fraught with lightning, cling to the horizon with fierce ferocity.

We treasure each warm moment like it's the last one we'll feel this year. I think even Norman Vincent Peal would start grumbling about the weather by now.

We have the conclusion of Troubles and Radar as our featured tale this week, and so without further ado, here is Lynn Mathewson's tale of two kitties. I've been waiting all week to say this. Here comes trouble again.


Then along came Radar

Radar was a stray we rescued. Troubles was mad at all three of us for several days. But Radar being the little scaredy cat he was, won Troubles over. Troubles taught Radar how to bury his food -- they just keep pushing on the rug until it covers the food dish. Also, when the basement door was slightly open, he showed him how to use his paw to open it wider, and even how to climb the ladder.

He also taught Radar respect for the king of the house (i.e., himself). If Radar didn't obey, he would swat him in the head so hard that he would go rolling. I think there may be some logic as well as instinct in this type of behavior; male cats usually kill kittens.

As prevention for fleas and ticks, I would put stuff on both cats. The instant they heard the medicine cabinet door opening, they disappeared to the far corners of the house -- hiding under or behind whatever they could so as to not get that smelly stuff applied to their necks.

Another case for logic or reasoning is this: If we left a ladder sitting against a building or in the middle of the yard, Troubles would look at the ladder and then, the building. You could almost see his brain trying to figure out how to get up to the top. And sure enough, he would climb up the ladder and onto the roof of the house or shed.

When I had my surgery and had to stay on the couch all day, he would look at me and then come over and sniff my face. He would then jump up on the couch and lay with me, as if he were consoling me.

If you reached out a suitcase, he would sniff and mark it with his scent. And when it was lying open on the bed, he would climb into it as if he could prevent us from leaving. The first Christmas after we were married, we went to Texas for our honeymoon. Troubles paced the floor a week before Kenny even reached out the suitcases. He knew that after deer hunting, Kenny always went to Texas for a few weeks.

He was funny about people. If he liked them all was well, if not he would growl and hiss at them. He never liked my grandchildren or my youngest daughter. But a complete stranger would come into the house and he would rub on their leg and purr. For the main part he was all bluff.

The neighbor's dog barked at me one day when I was on the porch, and he came out of the door, all puffed up, doing the growling, hissing thing with his back hunched up. The dog looked at him, stepped forward, and than backed off and ran home.

I don't know if I proved that Troubles used logic or instinct in all of his acts, but I wanted to share a little bit of his life with everyone. We loved him a lot and will miss him greatly. -- Lynn and Kenny Mathewson


Thanks, Lynn, for sharing the exploits of a very creative cat. I'm sure we'll hear more about Troubles and Radar in the not so distant future. If you folks have a good tale that either depicts logical or instinctual behavior, please send it in to our "Logic vs. Instinct" contest.

Here's how you enter. Either e-mail your entry to or write to me at Keith Alan Ross, Richville MN 56576. You may also phone me at 218-495-2195.

Until next time...