From the pages of
The Sublette County Journal
Volume 5, Number 22 - 1/25/01
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Goodbye Socks

Socks was (is) a commoner. A cat cat, instantly recognized as such by all who saw him. No royal pedigree to prove that he deserved special status, he probably would have a hard time proving his parentage, not to mention great- great-great ancestors. But there is no doubt that those forbears were their own kind of aristocrat; mighty warriors and expert hunters, carrying themselves with that remarkable grace of the felines. It was fitting that such a creature should become First Cat of our country.

It was refreshing, after a long line of famous dogs in the White House, to have a cat in charge of the pet department. Socks seemed to take over competently, creating no waves, modest and unassuming, he earned the respect and love of his American public. He was one of us, the mixed horde of people striving to make a living. Now and then, one gets lifted into a position of prominence just as it happened to Socks, but not everyone is as successful as he is in maintaining dignity and filling their niche in life.

But Socks was not perfect. He had none of the "love thy neighbor as thyself' about him. When the dog Buddy appeared on the scene, the First Cat recognized him as a mortal enemy and made no effort to hide his feelings; and he never knuckled under. He lost his home because of his firm stand, but as he had to move anyway, it is probably just as well. I'm sure he will have a good home and will still have his principals intact.

Cats have such a strong, built-in sense of self worth. The step down from First Cat will not bother Socks at all. Even as a pampered White House resident, if there had been an invasion of mice, he would not have hesitated to have rolled up his sleeves and take charge of the dirty work of clearing the place. He would most likely think it was the most fun since he left Arkansas.

Buddy, the archenemy of the First Cat, was a graduate of obedience school. Whether he was taught to never pick on those smaller than himself is doubtful. The bullying instinct is strong in most dogs. Cats must recognize this, and so the war is on. Some prudently climb the nearest tree, and from a safe position, hurl verbal insults at their tormentor. Some stand and fight. The latter stand never seems to fail to surprise the dog and very often puts him to flight, and into deep disgrace.

Obedience schools for cats are rare if not nonexistent. The feline is not a good candidate for self-improvement courses, since they are very well satisfied with themselves as they are and can see no reason to make big changes. And they are right. Cats are by nature, quiet, reserved and affectionate, neat and highly fastidious. They are easy to live with. Just don't try to change their nature, as you will run into a stone wall. When a cat feels he has been treated unfairly, his long, level stare tells you so, and he does not apologize. Never will he come creeping back, begging for forgiveness for a crime he does not feel he committed. Not that cats lack intelligence. They quickly learn what it takes for a cat's needs but they do not readily take to people pleasers like rolling over, shaking hands or speaking for food. What a waste of energy and dignity!

So Socks, keep on being true to your own cat self, and here's hoping for a long, happy life for you.

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