Cat of the thief
We came in despair. We did not know how to catch this red cat. He robbed us every night. He was so cleverly hiding that none of us really saw him. Only a week later, it was finally possible to establish that the cat had a ruptured ear and a piece of dirty tail had been chopped off.
It was a cat who lost all conscience, a cat – a tramp and a thug. His name was Voryuga.
He stole everything: fish, meat, sour cream and bread. Once he even dug a tin can with worms in the closet. They did not eat them, but the chickens ran into the dug can and stuck our entire supply of worms.
The faded chickens lay in the sun and groaned. We walked around them and swore, but the fishing was still broken.
We spent almost a month trying
Village boys helped us with this. One day they rushed and, out of breath, told that at dawn the cat swept, crouching, through the vegetable gardens and dragged in the teeth a cockroach with perches.
We rushed into the cellar and discovered the loss of the Cucumber; there were ten fat perches caught on Prorva.
It was no longer theft, but robbery in broad daylight. We swore to catch a cat and blow it up for gangster tricks.
The cat got caught the same night. He stole a piece of liver sausage from the table and climbed with it on the birch.
We began to shake the birch. The cat dropped the sausage, it fell on Reuben’s head. The cat looked at us from above with wild eyes and threatened howling.
But there was no salvation, and the cat decided on a desperate act. With a terrible howl, he fell from the birch, fell to the ground, jumped like a soccer ball, and rushed off to the house.
The house was small. He stood in a deaf, abandoned garden. Every night, we were awakened by the sound of wild apples falling from the branches on its roof-toe roof.
The house was littered with fishing rods, shot, apples and dry leaves. We only slept in it. All the days, from dawn to dark, we spent on the banks of countless channels and lakes. There we fished and raised fires
To go to the shore of the lakes, we had to trample down narrow paths in fragrant tall grasses. Their coronas swayed over their heads and sprinkled their shoulders with yellow flower dust.
We returned in the evening, scratched dog rose, tired, burned by the sun, with bundles of silver fish, and each time we were met with stories about new Bosnian antics of a red cat.
But at last the cat got caught. He climbed under the house in a single narrow hole. There was no way out.
We laid a log with an old fishing net and began to wait. But the cat did not come out. He viciously howled like an underground spirit, howling continuously and without any fatigue.
An hour passed, two, three… It was time to go to bed, but the cat howled and swore under the house, and this acted on our nerves.
Then Lyonka, the son of a village shoemaker, was summoned. Lyonka was famous for his fearlessness and dexterity. He was instructed to pull the cat out from under the house.
Lyonka took a silk line, tied a trap caught by the tail to her by the tail and threw it through the hole in the underground.
The howl ceased. We heard a crunch and a rapacious click – the cat grabbed its teeth in the fish’s head. He grabbed a dead grip. Lyonka dragged him by the line. The cat desperately rested, but Lyonka was stronger, and besides, the cat did not want to produce tasty fish.
A minute later, the cat’s head, with its clenched flesh in its teeth, appeared in the hole in the hole.
Lyonka grabbed the cat by the collar and lifted it above the ground. We first considered it properly.
The cat squeezed his eyes and pressed his ears. Just in case, he picked up the tail for himself. It turned out to be skinny, despite constant theft, a fiery-red homeless cat with white markings on the belly.
After examining the cat, Reuben thoughtfully asked:
“What shall we do with him?”
– Tear out! – I said.
“It will not help,” said Lyonka. – He has a character from childhood. It is better to try to feed it properly.
The cat waited, screwing up his eyes.
We followed this advice, dragged the cat into the closet and gave him a wonderful dinner: roast pork, perch fillet, cottage cheese and sour cream.
The cat ate more than an hour. He left the closet staggering, sat down on the threshold and washed, looking at us and at the low stars with green, sassy eyes.
After washing, he snorted for a long time and rubbed his head against the floor. This obviously meant fun. We were afraid that he would wipe his hair on the back of his neck.
Then the cat rolled over on its back, caught its tail, chewed it, spit it out, stretched out by the stove and peacefully snored.
From that day he got used to us and stopped stealing.
The next morning he even did a noble and unexpected thing.
Chickens climbed onto the table in the garden and, pushing each other and quarreling, began to glue buckwheat porridge from the plates.
The cat, trembling with indignation, crept up to the chickens and with a short victorious shout jumped on the table.
Chickens took off with a desperate howl. They turned a jug of milk and rushed, losing feathers, scampering out of the garden.
Ahead, a horseshoe, a cocked cock-fool, nicknamed “Gorlach”, rushed forward.
The cat ran after him on three paws, and the fourth, with the front paw, beat the cock on the back. From the cock flew dust and fluff. Inside him, from every blow, something buzzed and hummed, as if a cat had hit a rubber ball.
After that, the cock lay for a few minutes in a fit, rolling his eyes, and moaning softly. He was poured cold water, and he walked away.
Since then, the chickens have been afraid to steal. Seeing the cat, they squeaked and huddled under the house with a squeak.
The cat walked around the house and garden, as the owner and watchman. He rubbed his head against our feet. He demanded gratitude, leaving on our trousers tattered red wool.
We renamed it from Voryuga to Militsionera. Although Reuben also claimed that it was not very convenient, but we were sure that the police would not be offended by us for this.