Our friend Clyde Martin wasn’t smiling a lot when within months last year he lost two of his buddies, Chico and Eddie.
They were the small dogs that were often seen around town riding with Martin on his motorcycle.
The dogs had a special seat constructed for them. They enjoyed country music playing on a system installed by Martin in the motorcycle, they wore sunglasses when riding and enjoyed the attention of many passing motorists.
When Clyde’s motorcycle started, Chico and Eddie were ready to go.
Then the sadness came. Chico disappeared. Clyde searched and searched for the little dog, advertised and tried everything but never found him.
Months later, Eddie became sick, so much so that he had to be put down, and Clyde was left to ride alone.
Then one day, his son was in Madisonville at a store when a woman came up to him and asked if he would hold her dog. He agreed and the woman walked away explaining that she was going to jail.
The dog was just a puppy, and Clyde’s son brought her to Clyde.
They named her Cookie, and she is now taking motorcycle rides. Clyde’s smile has returned.
Cookie is still young and has to ride in a special cage that Clyde has built for her because she is so small, he’s afraid a high wind would blow her away.
“She’s always ready to ride, and is spoiled. She is a pleasure and she knows there are treats always in the trunk for her enjoyment at the end of a ride,” Clyde said.
Now let it be known that we’re ready to close the books forever on the feral cats.
To begin with, take my advice: DON’T MESS WITH FERAL CATS!
Remember we talked about Speedy, the mama cat that started all kinds of trouble, having four kittens. An owl killed one when they were young. One that looked like a Siamese was hit in traffic during a snowstorm, but one we called Sweet Face and its sister, Stripe, survived.
Then Speedy was pregnant again. Then Stripe was pregnant and Sweet Face had to have a lesser gentle name as he turned into a wild tomcat that fought other cats, possums, coons and even killed some of Speedy’s new kittens, and then one which looked liked the second Siamese was also killed in the traffic in front of the house.
One day last week, the cat once called Sweet Face bit me. There was a long scratch and fang marks. I was told to get a tetanus shot immediately, which I did, and we were also told to destroy the cat, making sure that the head was intact and have it tested at the Breathitt laboratories for rabies.
Word came from Dr. Pitman, a really nice fellow, that the test was negative.
Now we are left with just Speedy and Stripe, and Stripe is really pitiful.
She just had kittens last week, we didn’t know where or how many, but we found out and it was awful. A nearby resident had a large trash pile to burn. It was set on fire and Stripe came flying out through the flames but the kittens couldn’t be saved. They perished in the fire.
For several days after, Stripe would eat her breakfast, get a drink of water and then slowly walk to the place where the trash had burned and would just sit there for awhile and then slowly walk back and take a seat in one of the chairs on the patio.
She seems to feel safe there.
She comes to the door and meows at times both day and night and when I go out she follows me and stays close, but of course I’m not going to try to touch her or any other feral cat.
She seems to have suffered some trauma from the fire and for some reason, Speedy, and an old tomcat that visits frequently fight Stripe.
She’s a pretty little cat and we think she could easily be tamed and would make a great pet. She’s had a tough life, and we’d love for someone to adopt her and give her a good home.
As for Speedy, we’re going to try to trap her before she gets pregnant again and take her to the shelter.
What was a fun time watching kittens grow up has turned into a nightmare, and from now on, our property is off limits to wild cats.
Mary D. Ferguson is a staff writer and columnist for the Kentucky New Era. Her column runs every Saturday. She can be reached by telephone at 270-887-3230.