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Pop and the Cats

Story ID:10729
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Family Memories
Location:Bly Oregon USA
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Pop and the Cats…A Real Pussycat Story
Chuck Dishno

When it came to my Dad, Ed Dishno, and cats it was a love-dislike relationship. Pop was 50 years old when I was born in Oregon but he was raised on his father’s cattle ranch in the Big Hole Valley near Wisdom, Montana. He got his own ranch in 1910.

Growing up on a ranch, he must have come into contact with many “barn” cats and their appetite for mice. I remember Pop telling of milking time and how the cats would line up at the barn door patiently waiting for he or his brother to turn a teat toward them and give out with a squirt in their faces. He said he was a pretty good shot and the cats never missed a drop. I’m sure Pop didn’t hate cats, but he could take them or leave them. I think he was a real “pussycat” when it came right down to it.

When Pop left the Big Hole and moved to Oregon with my Mom and two half-brothers, I don’t think he realized what he was getting into, cat wise. They were cat lovers and always had a cat or two around the house. The first place they lived was on Quartz Mountain near the town of Bly, Oregon. Quartz Mountain was in a snow belt and it wasn’t unusual to get 4 or 5 feet of snow. Naturally this meant lots of shoveling just to get out of the house.

One story they tell about Pop was his relationship with a big orange cat that the boys had adopted. This cat took a liking to Pop and when he was out shoveling the latest path, the cat would sit on the snow shovel and wait for Pop to fling him into the air and on top of pile. The cat would then run around and get back on the shovel for another “thrill” ride. Mom said this would go on as long as Pop kept up the shoveling. Secretly, I think Pop enjoyed the episode even though he would come back into the house and tell Mom about that “damn cat”.

I should point out that this all happened before I arrived on the scene. I think I was conceived on Quartz Mountain and then my folks moved into Bly where I was born. My first recollection of a cat was when my grandmother, Etta, came to live with us when I was about 2 years old. Etta loved cats and either brought one with her or procured one from some barn in Bly. Etta’s love of cats and Pop’s willingness to put up with his mother-in-law eventually led to many cats. Pop never seemed to mind though and when he came home with a large batch of fish, he would clean them then place the innards on a large paper in the back yard and watch as 15 or more cats fought over the scraps.

Mom, Pop and Etta are all gone now and I have no doubt that they all made it into Heaven. If St. Peter loves cats, I am sure he let Pop thru without any question for his hidden love for the feline population.