My favorite pet when I was younger was our cat, Austin. We'd had dogs when I was a little kid, but only one of them ever took to me. And he was a great dog, but Austin ranks at the top. In fact, Austin acted like a dog--he'd come when you'd whistle. And he happens to be an integral part of one of my favorite stories.


After I posted about the dog that gave that man his receipt at the vet's office, I remembered the last time I was at the veterinarian's. It was way back in 1983. Austin had wandered into our yard and set up shop in our storage building in the fall of 1982. My dad hated cats, but our Uncle Austin (you gettin' it?) loved 'em and really took to the cat. So we got to keep him. And you can now see where we got the name.


Austin's affinity for the storage shed worked out just fine. I mean, we'd let him in from time to time, but he preferred sleeping outside. So that's where'd we put his food and a pillow, and that was his home. One night, however, it was his undoing. Before turning in for the night, one of the family would always make sure the shed door was open just a little bit, so Austin could come and go. But one night, the door was shut all the way and Austin got stuck inside. None of us had need for the shed the next day, so he was stuck in there for quite a while. When I noticed the shut door, I immediately opened it to find Austin covered from head to toe in carburetor fluid. We'd stored a bottle of the stuff in the shed for future use, and Austin decided to claw into it and consequently soak himself in the greasy substance. By the way, it's red and I thought the poor cat was covered in blood. Well, my first inclination was to wash him off. But YOU try putting a cat in a tub of warm water and see what happens. Uh, it doesn't work. Legs went everywhere. Soooo, I got a large box with a towel in it and put it in the front seat of my car. I placed Austin inside the box, but he jumped out and got carburetor fluid on everything. He was not a happy cat. But I did manage to get him to the veterinarian's office where he got cleaned up and fixed. BONUS!


Later that day, I went with my mother  to the vet's office to pick Austin up. When we arrived, there was a woman standing by her car seemingly speaking to someone or someTHING underneath it. Well, she was talking to her cat. Apparently, the cat didn't want to go into the vet's office and the woman was begging the cat to come out from beneath the car. She was crying, for Pete's sake. Suddenly, the cat darted out from under the car and ran across the street and into an old warehouse. The woman was screaming. So my mom and I ran over to the warehouse to look for the cat. We found it. We came back across the street, gave this crazy woman her cat, and walked with her into the vet's office. By the way, it's a wonder I was any help at all; I was laughing hysterically the entire time. Whatever happened to the poor woman and her cat, I don't know. Nor do I care. But Austin was clean and a little miffed because of the snip-snip. I'm guessing that's not exactly what he had in mind.