So there are times when I need to call on friends to help me out. I've become so busy the last few weeks and blogging as become an afterthought. It's one of those things, I know I should do, but just can't seem to get around to actually doing it. I promise this phase won't last long. And I promise to get back on track. But I figured what better way to fill my current blog lull with a fun post from my friend Kate Lutter. She writes, she travels, she volunteers and she does it all with her furry feline Chuck. So please enjoy a super cute and fun story from Kate :)
Chuck Tangles with the Babysitter Hyena
Hi, my name is Kate and I blog about my exotic travel experiences with my adorable but rascally cat.
The blog is called Hot Blogging with Chuck.
Now I know what you’re wondering--is Chuck your cat?
And, yes, he certainly is.
Not many people take their cat with them when they travel. I know this. And believe me, it’s not easy to stuff Chuck into my carry-on, all the air deflated out of him, only to be pumped up upon arrival and raring to go.
But it is a reality born of necessity.
You see, Chuck was bored at home, and he was developing into a “over groomer.”
Feral and homeless, I adopted him, expecting some problems, but I did not expect that this cute orange and white tabby would turn into an obsessively clean cat or that he would begin to groom the fur right off his body. In spots, of course.
The vet said Chuck was bored. He needed stimulation. Travel. Fun. That’s how it all began.
My trip to Kenya, Africa is a perfect example of Chuck in action because leave it to Chuck to always want to do or see the opposite of what I want to do or see.
For example, on safari I had my list prepared of all the animals I wanted to take photos of--the big five--as they are known by the hunters of long ago: the buffalo, rhinoceros, elephant, lion, and leopard. Not to mention, of course, the giraffe and even the hippopotamus. Nowhere on that list do you see the hyena. In fact, I would have gone in the other direction to avoid seeing the hyena.
Dirty and filthy animals, I thought. Scraggly scavengers.
But no, Chuck wanted to see hyenas.
Why, he wouldn’t say, but Chuck has a drawer in my house, where he stores pictures of all his secret desires, and sure enough he has a giant glossy of a hyena.
And so it happened one day while we were riding along the dusty road in a preserve near Oltukai Lodge at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro that our driver, Stephen, knowing that Chuck was “into” hyenas, and being a “cat person” himself, pulled over to the side of the road and pointed.
“And there you have your first glimpse of a hyena,” Stephen said.
Well, Chuck, who was catnapping in the safari vehicle, literally jumped up and stuck his cat nose out the open window to have a look. Immediately his tail began wagging back and forth.
Ugh, I thought to myself as I gazed at what looked like a spotted wrangled mass of beaten flesh lounging on the ground. “That is the ugliest animal I have ever seen.”
Chuck glanced back and narrowed his eyes at me in disapproval. I was obviously ruining his moment.
“Now look to your right.” Stephen pointed to a gigantic boulder and there in the overly large crevice, two faces peeked out. And they weren’t ugly at all.
“Baby hyenas,” Stephen said, in explanation. “In their lair.”
Well, that’s all Chuck needed to hear. In one flying leap, he jumped out of the safari vehicle, intent on getting way closer to those baby hyenas.
“Chuck, get back here. Are you crazy?” I screamed in near panic mode. “These hyenas are wild animals.”
But Chuck didn’t seem to be listening. In fact, he only seemed to prance faster toward the hyena lair, anxious for some kind of cat/hyena encounter.
And then the unthinkable happened.
The ugly hyena, the one who appeared to be lounging over to the left, sprung into action.
“Uh, oh,” Stephen said. “Not good. She’s the babysitter. Her job is to protect the baby hyenas. She sees Chuck as a threat.”
And sure enough, the babysitter’s beady eyes focused on Chuck, and she dropped into stalking position as she slowly moved forward.
There was going to be a encounter all right, but it wasn’t going to be between Chuck and the kids. Oh, no. And my poor little Chuckie Cheese didn’t stand a chance.
“Chuck, to your left. Look to your left.”
Well, he must have heard the plea in my voice. At the exact moment that the babysitter hyena broke into a run toward Chuck, my clever cat jumped sideways about four feet, then somehow propelled himself backwards, and scampered back to the safari vehicle.
“Jump up, Chuck. You can do it. You can do it.”
The entire vehicle began to cheer behind me.
And it was either the motivational cheer or the hot breath of the babysitter hyena on Chuck’s neck, but Chuck leapt up into my arms, rattled, but safe and sound.
“Whatever possessed you?” I asked him later when we were back in the cabin. “You could have been their dinner tonight.”
Chuck blinked and didn’t say a word, but I noticed that he still had the glossy of the hyena, and I figured that even though he’d looked death squarely in the eye, he’d done what he’d had to do, what any cat would do-- to follow his dream and he wasn’t about to let any babysitter hyena stand in his way.
Also from Kate is Wild Point Island, coming soon from
“I reached out. The tips of my fingers skimmed his cheek, felt the rough, uneven day’s growth of beard. Here I was touching him. For the first time in my life I wanted someone. I felt desire. Despite the taboos that existed, I desired him.”