April 25th, 2011

It’s All Rather Unconventional…A Game of Cat and Moose

By: Kirstie Pike, CEO Prois Hunting & Field Apparel

As most who know our family understand, life around the ranch can be anything BUT conventional. At any given time there is some level of ridiculous catastrophe unfolding. Some catastrophes are too good NOT to share while others should not be shared without legal counsel.

On a recent hunting trip to Alaska, my husband Steve harvested an amazing bull moose. The mount arrived a couple of weeks ago, but the effort to get that massive animal on the wall could arguably be compared to childbirth. Not only does the moose require two men (a fact we quickly learned in our first attempts to hang the thing, but thankfully we figured it out before blood was shed) but it was too big to fit anywhere. ANYWHERE. This thing is huge.

So, what started out as a seemingly simple task took an entire Sunday. Within an hour ALL mounts were removed from the walls. It looked like the carnage from a scene in the Cabelas Dangerous Hunts Wii game. The moose migrated from spot to spot but we finally found the perfect perch for it. We commenced rearranging the other animals and pictures until we were satisfied. I will not go into the part about needing to retexture and paint various portions of the house. I may need legal counsel on that one.

I will divert here, but bear with me. I will get to the point quickly. One fact that must be understood is that cats do not thrive long in the Pike household. It is not that we do not like cats. It just seems that the coyotes and owls like them more. In fact, my daughters decided we should start naming the cats numbers instead of names. They also thought it would be funny to name the next cat Appetizer. Their father felt that was tasteless. This coming from the man who will neither confirm nor deny that he had possibly been spotted slaying a menacing raccoon while wearing his boxers and Crocs. Any further information may require legal counsel.

The latest cat is, in fact, Bridget. A cat my daughters decided they had to have from the local pet store to the tune of $100 (their own money, to be sure). At least she was spayed, which gave this particular cat an advantage over the rest because it seems that as soon as we spent $150 to spay or neuter a cat, it was a sure sign that the thing would disappear within a week. Much to our dismay, we all fell in love with this cat. She is The Princess. She has toys. She has a cat box. We even perform a search and destroy mission each evening to make sure she gets in the house before she becomes fodder. A service never provided to any previous felines.

That said, Bridget has on more than one occasion been found on top of some of our mounts. Her favorite perch was often the antlers of the elk which occupied the spot the moose overtook. We tried everything to keep her down, but we soon learned that she is like a willful child- best to ignore her and she will give up the game.

She quickly found her place on top of the massive moose. We frequently found her splayed out across the broad based antlers. This habit came to an abrupt halt early one morning.

The following events were not witnessed by any of us, so we can only speculate the true nature of this particular catastrophe. First, a very loud crashing sound is heard from the living room. Second, the cat is running at a blinding speed down the hallway away from said loud crashing sound. (In fact, she was running in place at points because as she was peeling out on the hardwood floors) Upon inspection, the moose had come crashing down. I am not sure if I have mentioned how massive this thing is, but let us just say that it must believe in the Scorched Earth policy as it cleared EVERYTHING in its path. Amazingly, it did not break. As we cleaned up the mess, we assumed Bridget was at the bottom of this somehow. My daughter went to find her.

We are unsure of how the cat was involved, but not only would she steer entirely clear of the moose, she would not venture into the living room. At all. If she needed to get to food or water, she chose a path around the entire perimeter of the room keeping a keen eye on the killer moose at all times. The following evening, I caught her on one of her stealthy stalks. I felt it prudent to try to make her sit in my lap and calm down. That decision only resulted in blood loss. So I chose the next logical thing any adult would consider…I asked the kids to do it.

As my two teenage daughters held the cat down (yes, it took two of them…) the cat could not stop staring at the killer moose. It was at this point we figured she may have been under the moose when it fell. As she would look up, she started to back away from ALL mounts on the wall. It didn’t matter if it was a goat, buck or caribou- everything was apparently going to attack her from above. She quickly escaped the girls’ grasps and backed herself into the wall, carefully inspecting each different animal. She then ran to the cat box…a natural reaction when one is quite frightened. On subsequent trips through the living room, Bridget would make a stealthy track, but if she happened to gaze upward at any of the mounts she would quickly hit reverse and back herself away. As terrified as the cat was, it became fairly fun family game to try to coax her through the living room and see exactly how she would get through.

Today, she will venture into the living room. She avoids the moose at all costs, but has somehow determined the bucks, goat, elk and caribou pose no immediate threat.

It seems it’s just a game of cat and moose.

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