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Cat Stories

The Tale of Montgomery Outback

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This is a true story, although even I find it hard to believe,
About an extremely intelligent cat that decided to adopt me.
I really don’t know if this feline is psychic or just very bright,
But he came looking for, and found me, one warm summer night.

I was living in Chicago and working for a large government audit organization.  My job often required me to travel to different areas of the country.  And several years ago, I had to fly to Montgomery, Alabama on an audit assignment.

I really wasn’t looking forward to this particular trip.  It was the middle of August, and it was my birthday.  Spending time in the 100-degree southern heat and humidity, and being away from home on yet another birthday, didn’t sound very appealing to me.  I had expected another routine business trip.  But what I found was anything but normal.  I still have trouble believing it.

As I settled into my airplane seat, I opened my birthday present from our office secretary, Cynnde.  She, like myself, is an animal lover, and she had given me a book by Dennis Bardens entitled, Psychic Animals: A Fascinating Investigation of Paranormal Behavior.  By the time that 737 lifted off from O’Hare International Airport, I was deeply immersed in this book.

It contained numerous eyewitness accounts and documented examples of the amazing psychic abilities of dogs, cats, birds, horses, monkeys, and whales.  These tales fascinated me.  I even wished that I could somehow experience some of the things that I had just read about.

Before I knew it, my plane had landed and reality had harshly returned as I stepped off that airplane into a broiling southern sauna.

Two of my co-workers had arrived in Montgomery a week earlier, and I caught up with them the next morning.  We soon ventured out into the stifling southern heat for lunch.

As we were heading back to our work site, a small beagle dashed out to greet me in the parking lot.  She ran right up to me and rolled on her belly at my feet.  She was extremely friendly, and she acted like she already knew me.  I examined her tags and found her name and her owner’s telephone number engraved on them.  I quickly jotted down the information.

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Just then the building’s security guard approached and told me that he had tried calling the owner with no success.  He also told me that he had also called the city animal control division to pick up this stray dog.  I petted and played with Sissy until they came and got her.

As they carted her off, I was determined to contact her owner concerning her plight.  Sissy was just too sweet a dog to be left lingering in the city pound.  I called that telephone number all afternoon but couldn’t reach her owner.

Before we left work that day, my co-workers announced that they were buying me dinner for my birthday.  They also told me to pick the spot.  I did, and we agreed to meet there at 6 PM.  But before dinner, I was finally able to contact little Sissy’s owner.

The gentleman on the telephone thanked me profusely for calling him and told me that his wife had been frantically searching the city all day for their beloved pet.  I felt extremely good about being able to reunite them.  I also had a strange feeling that Sissy had somehow known exactly who to run to for help.  I better quit reading that book, I thought to myself, as I headed off to dinner.

Both the dinner conversation and the meal were very pleasant.  I also told my co-workers about my success in reaching Sissy’s owners.  Larry, one of my co-workers, looked at me and matter of factly announced, “I knew you would.”  This trip was getting stranger and stranger by the minute.

As we stood in the restaurant’s parking lot saying our goodnights, Larry jokingly said, “Don’t go off looking for any more animals tonight!”  And in the midst of our laughter over his remark he yelled, “I don’t believe it.  Turn around!”

I quickly turned to find a tiny jet-black kitten racing down the parking lot directly towards me.  I knelt down in the parking lot to await its arrival.  And my co-workers laughed as they drove off into the night.

This tiny creature raced into my arms, meowing, purring, and dancing excitedly all around me.  It acted like we were long lost friends who had just been miraculously reunited.  I had never seen a stray cat behave like this before.

As I walked towards my rental car, this little black furball happily trotted along at my side.  A man heading into the restaurant yelled, “Looks like you’ve got yourself a new friend!”  I yelled back, “I guess I do!”

When I opened my car door, this kitten excitedly crawled right in and made himself comfortable in the passenger seat.  As I got into the car, he just sat there staring at me as if to say, “Okay, I’m ready.  Let’s go!”

I drove my new friend to the nearest grocery store where I bought him some cat food.  As I re-entered the car, this clairvoyant kitten was already sitting on the floor awaiting the arrival of his long awaited dinner.  The poor little guy must have been starving.  He polished off an entire can of cat food in a few minutes.  When he was done, he hopped back up on the seat, curled up, and contentedly fell fast asleep.

Now what?  I thought to myself.  The hotel I was staying at didn’t allow pets, and it was just too hot and muggy in the car to let my new little friend sleep there.  I soon sadly decided that I had to drive him back to the restaurant parking lot where he had found me.  But when we got there, the little guy simply did not want to get out of the car.  I finally coaxed him out with another can of cat food.  As I drove off, I saw him forlornly standing there watching me depart.

By the next morning, I regretted my decision to leave my new little friend in that restaurant parking lot.  I decided that I had to go back and find him.  I did go back right after work.  I searched for him for over an hour without finding a trace.  I even had trouble sleeping that night thinking about him.

By the following morning, I knew that I had to rescue that spunky little guy.  I just had to.  I quickly decided to try something that I had read about in the psychic animal book.  Some animal authorities have speculated that animals communicate telepathically through pictures.  Throughout the day, I kept creating mental pictures of the parking lot, the kitten, and myself.  I felt a little foolish, but I hoped that my new little friend would somehow get the message.

That evening as I drove back to the restaurant parking lot, I convinced myself that the kitten would be there.  Of course, he wasn’t.  I again searched for him for over an hour with no success.  As I sadly got back in my car and turned on the ignition, I glanced at the fuel gauge and realized that I was almost out of gas.  Without thinking about it, I formed a mental picture of a gas station that I had passed several blocks down the road.  I immediately drove there.

As I was absentmindedly filling the tank and worrying about the plight of that poor little kitten, I happened to look up toward some bushes at the edge of the service station.  Within seconds, I saw a tiny black head peek out of those bushes.  Seconds later, I stood there in shock as I saw my little friend racing across the concrete towards me.

As he had done two nights before, he ran into my arms, meowing, purring, and dancing excitedly all around me.  Then he jumped into the open car door and made himself very comfortable on the passenger seat again.  I couldn’t believe it.  He had somehow found me again!

This time, I drove him directly to a pet supply center.  I purchased a litter box, a pet carrier, and more cat food.  I knew that I couldn’t abandon my persistent little friend again.  I think he knew it, too.  He was obviously a very intelligent little creature.

As I drove back to my hotel, after stopping to pick up a hamburger and some fries, I also wondered how I was going to sneak him up to my hotel room.  As I glanced at my new friend, he just grinned at me and purred.

When we reached the hotel, I placed the little guy in the pet carrier and stuffed it into a large plastic bag.  I put the bag under my arm and tried to act as innocent as possible as I entered the elaborate hotel lobby.  I prayed that this clairvoyant little creature was also smart enough to keep quiet.  He was.  The hotel clerk never glanced up as we walked by.

As I approached the hotel elevator, an attractive looking woman was already standing there waiting for it.  I nonchalantly said, “Good evening.”  She returned my greeting in kind.

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After we boarded the elevator, it seemed to take forever for it to reach her floor.  As she finally walked off, my tiny little friend in the bag made a loud noise that I can only describe as the best male ‘catty come on’ that I’ve ever heard.  It sounded something like, “RRROWWW!”

The woman immediately turned and gave me the nastiest glare that I had ever seen.  If looks could kill, I would have dropped dead on that elevator floor.  After that door closed, I chewed out my new little friend for embarrassing me.  I also laughed to myself and wondered if besides being psychic, my tiny new feline friend had a devilish sense of humor.

After we reached the safety of my room, I called my wife and told her that I was having dinner with a very good friend.  She, too, somehow sensed that I was referring to some sort of new animal friend.

“I see.  What kind of animal is it?”

“Uh.  It’s a little black kitten, sweetie.  He’s the cutest little thing.  You’ll love him!”

“You’re bringing him home?  All the way from Alabama?”

“Uh.  Yes.”

My wife just laughed.  She’s a very good wife, and very understanding, thank God.

“Have you named this new little friend of yours yet?”

“I sure have.  His name’s Montgomery Outback.  Montgomery, in reference to the city where we met, and Outback, in reference to the restaurant where fate must have sent me for dinner the other night.”

As my wife burst out laughing on the other end of the line, I looked over and noticed that Monty was sitting on the coffee table, merrily helping himself to some of my French fries.  What a clever little character he was.

My next challenge would be carrying Monty aboard the airplane.  I had purposely purchased a black flexible carrier that looked somewhat like a computer case or small overnight bag.  I didn’t want my new friend to have to fly home in the cargo section.  I also knew that the airlines would let you carry on a small pet in an approved carrier if you had current health certificates for the animal.  Of course, I had no such papers for this feline.  He wouldn’t visit the veterinarian until we arrived in Chicago.

As I stood in the crowded check-in line at the airport, trying to look as inconspicuous as possible, little Monty began making an awful fuss.  He began meowing, yelping, and forcefully banging against the side of the case.  The poor little guy wanted out!

As the ever- increasing crowd in the check-in line began searching all around for the source of these strange noises, I gingerly picked up all of my luggage and hurriedly rushed outside.

As I stood there in the hot summer heat, I sternly informed my new little friend that he would have to be very quiet, both in the terminal and on the airplane.  Monty looked at me very seriously, as if he understood every word I said.

The little guy never made one peep during the entire three-hour flight.  None of the other passengers or flight crew knew that he was under my seat.  I was beginning to truly believe that this was one very intelligent cat.

When we finally landed at O’Hare, I carried him outside the terminal, set his bag down on the sidewalk, and said, “Welcome to Chicago, Monty!”

He immediately started meowing very loudly.  He also looked around, looked up at me, and looked around some more.  Finally, he nodded his tiny head up and down a few times, as if he were trying to say, “Of course, it’s Chicago, silly.  It looks exactly like I pictured it to be!”

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