Author: Cornish, Rick

Nancy Ann
One of our visitors raised a good question on the Message Board yesterday. In part here’s what the visitor said—“How can we have a compition (sic) such as how I Got Hooked on Bluegrass or name that Musician or who wants so called Jamgrass when you are not addressing all of the membership?” In other words, not all CBA members visit this web site….some don’t even have computers….so what’s the justification in holding a contest or asking opinions or, in the case of “Who’s this musician?” having some fun if not ALL CBA members are participating?

The truth is, the thought of NOT using this new communications medium because it doesn’t reach 100% of our total membership has just never occurred to us. But the visitor’s question does bring to mind an experience I had several years ago—a poignant throwing-the-baby-out-with-the-bath-water experience that will forever be burned into my memory. I’ll warn you in advance that this might be a stretch for some, but for me, the two situations share something in common.

I’d taken a friend to the Humane Society in Santa Clara; she’d rounded up about a half dozen feral kittens in her neighborhood and was hoping she could find them a home. As I stood waiting around for my friend to do her business at the front counter, I wandered into the Lost Cat room. I’m not a huge cat lover—or even a liker for that matter—but I was just sort of killing time. As I walked by each cage peering in at the captives one by one, a yellow and white tabby locked eyes with me. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE. PLEASE. THEY’RE GOING TO KILL ME TODAY! I swear to you, it was as though the cat was screaming the words at me, and with just here eyes. I read the note clipped to her cage. Yep, she was due to be put down that day.

I went home and told Lynn about the telepathic episode and she, being the huge cat person that I am not, naturally concluded we had to adopt the cat, and right away. Pointing out that we already had three cats didn’t seem to carry much weight. Neither did reminding her that I didn’t even like cats, or that it was probably too late anyhow. My wife told me to call the Humane Society and tell them we were on the way and, as is my custom, I obeyed.

Half hour later we were seated in the office of the “Animal Adoption Coordinator”. After filling out three pages of forms which required both our signatures, we were given an addendum to sign. “This is necessary,” the Animal Adoption Coordinator explained, “because the adoptee, the cat in question, has been de-clawed. You must sign a witnessed stipulation that at no time will you allow the cat out of doors. And that you will keep all doors and windows and other means of escape closed to prevent the cat from exiting the dwelling.” “But that’s impossible”, I said, “we have three other cats and two dogs and all of these animals spend time out of doors. We’ve got a doggie door for the dogs and open windows for the cats…these are in-door/out-door kind of pets. And they like it that way.” The Animal Adoption Coordinator arched his eyebrows and sighed. “I don’t think you understand, Mr. Cornish. This feline has been de-clawed. She has no means of protecting herself. Outside in the elements the cat would be defenseless, probably killed within a few days. It must be kept in-doors. This is Humane Society policy.”

So the Animal Adoption Coordinator and I argued for a while. I could tell Lynn was starting to come undone. She’d already named the cat. Nancy. Actually, Nancy Ann. I tried reasoning. I tried pleading. Finally I took a different tack.

“Okay,” I said, “let me re-cap where I think we are. The cat in question is scheduled to be killed today, right?”

“Euthanized, yes”, said the Animal Adoption Coordinator.

“And unless we sign an agreement to keep all of the doors and windows of our house closed at all times, you won’t give us the cat, right?”

“A witnessed stipulation, yes”.

“And you’ll kill her today, right?”


“Yes, euthanize. And that’s Humane Society policy. H-U-M-A-N-E Society policy. Right?”


“Okay then, “ I said calmly, very, very agreeably, “I’d like to speak with the H-U-M-A-N-E Society person-in-charge.”

Without speaking the Animal Adoption Coordinator got up from his chair and left the room. He was gone a long time. When he returned he was caring the cat in question. He handed her to Lynn.

Nancy Ann came home with us in 1989. Lord only knows how old she is now. But she still gets around, and she seems happy enough. She’s never tried talking to me again, telepathically or otherwise. Guess she figures there’s never been another good reason to.
Posted:  11/16/2003

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