No, I've never herded cats; no I don't want to


Luella Dow

Angel isn’t much for the herd mentality, preferring the individual playfulness of a child.



I’ve heard the phrase, “It’s as bad as herding cats” several times and wondered what the person meant. I’ve herded cattle and sheep, but never had enough cats to make a herd, thankfully.

Cats are independent, haughty at times and often want to be alone. Like a little child, my house cat will not eat from the same dish as Omar, the outside cat.

Now, don’t get the idea that I expect little children to eat from a cat’s dish. I’m just explaining things. When my sister was very young she would cry when the butter on her toast melted and disappeared. She was certain somebody had taken it. Cats and little tots probably understand each other.

My cat’s name is Angel, she has never seen an angel and follows her own rules, thank you very much. She has seen little children and sometimes mimics their playtimes. Have you ever chased after a 2 year old? Angel knows just what to do. She could write a book about it. You wait until the person is almost upon you. Don’t move. When the person reaches an arm out to grasp you, you suddenly jump ahead, go about 10 feet, then turn around to laugh. How do I know she laughs? I can see it in her eyes!

When it is time for Angel to get in the house in the evening to be safe from coyotes, I call her, “Here Angel, kitty, kitty, here Angel.” Usually she pretends she can’t hear me. Recently the sun was disappearing behind the trees while I kept calling Angel. I walked down my driveway and scanned the neighbor’s pasture. Where is that cat? I began to worry that she was already some coyote’s dinner. Then I turned around and discovered she was behind me. Well, I was calling her, wasn’t I?

We shifted gears and walked toward the house. Then Angel had an idea. Quick as a flash as they say, she jumped on one of the braces on the children’s swing and began to climb for the bar at the top. Sometimes I miss. Sometimes I don’t. Soon Angel was firmly in my grasp and safe beyond the coyotes’ grasp. I might add that she didn’t thank me. Little kids don’t thank you either when they have to come in from play.

No, I’ve never herded cats and I never want to. Something tells me that the person who coined the phrase about herding cats knew exactly what he was talking about. Poor fellow.

Luella Dow is a Cheney-area author. She can be reached at


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