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All Hat, No Cattle

Ferdinand, my eight-month old, is literally at the brim of a life of crime. Any day now, I expect the juvenile authorities to be at my door and take Ferdinand off in handcuffs.

For some reason, Ferdinand has developed a deep affection for hats. Not just any hat, but big, tightly laced straw hats that keep out the summer sun. I can understand Ferdinand wanting to protect himself from the summer sun. After all, this orange tabby has a thick coat of hair that probably adds twenty degrees to the outdoor temperature.

But Ferdinand never wants to WEAR the hats. He just wants to capture them. He sneaks through the entire neighborhood, garage by garage, garden by garden, backyard by backyard, looking for his favorite prey. Once he finds it, he never wants to let go. Until, of course, he deposits his kill on the living room floor.

I now have the most exotic collection of straw hats in town. I’ve got Panama hats, sailor hats, gambler hats, and Ferdinand recently captured a pith helmet. Most of them represent quality haberdashery. These hats probably would make lovely nests for a family of birds, but I doubt Ferdinand is gathering foodstuff for his dinner. He seems to have a taste only for the high quality manufactured pet food – the best that upscale suburban pet stores can supply. His natural instincts aside, I doubt Ferdinand is a dedicated carnivore.

Ferdinand’s addiction has, however, upset some neighbors, even as I put up notices on neighborhood telephone poles to announce the arrival of dozens of found straw hats. At least this has become a way to meet some of my neighbors and get a glimpse of their personalities. I make a note to stay away from the ones who arrive at my door with belligerent tones.

Some have demanded that I keep track of Ferdinand. I have even attempted to put a small X10 surveillance camera on Ferdinand’s collar. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to stay on board. Presumably, Ferdinand scratches this impediment from his collar and leaves it lying in the street. There could even be some folks out there who collect X10 surveillance cameras the way Ferdinand collects straw hats.

You might think people could get their own little X10 cameras at the ridiculous prices X10 is charging these days.

They’re a lot cheaper than straw hats.


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