Porcupine attack good for field cat | VailDaily.com

Porcupine attack good for field cat

Shirley Welch
Vail, CO Colorado

The next summer Frank’s mother and brother stayed at home, so he did not repeat another summer of survival at the cow camp. However, his dad did hire another cowboy to work the line camp.

This summer was at the peak of a cycle of infestation of rodents: mice, squirrels, chipmunks. The fields were full of mice and the High Country was riddled with chipmunks.

The cow camp shack became a favorite stop for all of these rodents. Frank’s father disliked the droppings and damage the rodents did, so on one trip to the cow camp, he brought a field cat to mitigate the rodent problem.

The cowboy at the camp had different ideas. “I don’t want a cat up here,” he said as Frank attempted to take the howling animal out of a sack.

“Don’t be silly. It will control the mouse population.”

“I hate cats,” the cowboy said. “Don’t bring that thing in here.”

Frank held the bag up in the air and the cat wiggled and meowed. “It won’t hurt you.”

“It ain’t that. I just hate cats. If you bring it inside, I’m going to shoot it.”

Just then the cat managed to get out of the sack, ran off, and hid in some scrub brush. “Well, I guess we won’t have to worry about that. The cat is gone.”

“Good riddance,” the cowboy said.

After unloading the rest of the supplies, Frank settled in for the evening.

With a full moon, a swath of light sliced across the cabin. Some time in the middle of the night, the cowboy woke to see a dark shadow slowly moving across the floor.

“Damn cat,” he mumbled to himself.

Carefully, he reached for his six-shooter and slid off the bunk. Standing, he moved toward the creature. When he was about a foot from it, he lowered the gun to its head only to feel a million needles shoot into his foot. Screaming and hopping in agony, he dropped the gun.

Frank put a match to a lantern to see a fat porcupine wobble out the door and his cowboy hopping on one foot, while the other foot looked like a pincushion. The rest of the night Frank spent first pulling porcupine needles from the cowboy’s foot, then dousing it with whiskey.

After that, the cowboy never complained about the field cat, who grew fat and sassy on the rodents living in the cow camp.

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