Cat Call

📅 Published on February 23, 2021

“Cat Call”

Written by N.M. Brown
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Rating: 8.20/10. From 5 votes.
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I worked for over twenty years as a police officer for the Lindley County Sheriff’s Office before retiring at the beginning of last year.  I’ve often been asked a lot of questions about my time in law enforcement, the main one of course being, ‘What is one of worst things you’ve ever seen on the job?’  Everyone gets a differently tailored version of events depending on how well I know them personally or how old they are.  Needless to say, I’ve told this story many different times in many different ways.  It’s high time I told the only version that matters, the disgusting, unadulterated truth.

* * * * * *

“In here! I got the door open!” A fellow officer’s voice bellowed as I exited my squad car.  Dozens of cats scattered in every direction at the sound of the approaching vehicles.  The house we arrived at was derelict; run-down would be the generous thing to say.  The yard was as overgrown and unloved as of the house.  And the closer we got to the front door, the harder it was not to gag.  The wood of the porch steps was rickety and frayed, as if slashed with millions of tiny knives.  The overwhelming smell of ammonia and bad meat wafted from within.

We had been getting calls about this lady for weeks now complaining about the cats.  They absolutely consumed almost every inch of her yard during certain parts of the year.  She appeared to be taking good care of them.  Not much you could do with that really as far as the law is concerned.  However, over the previous week, the calls had rapidly increased, now with a change in the usual reports, saying that the cats were looking sickly and at least one was feared to be deceased.

I hated to be the one to answer this call.  My childhood home was overrun with cats.  I was the kid at school no one sat near because he smelled like cat piss.  My daughter has only one, and she takes care of him very well, keeping him far out of my way.  I never had the stomach or the heart to tell her how much I hated them.

I slowly entered the house, gun drawn and ready for what awaited me.  The inside was an absolute mess of food smears, hair, and animal feces turned white and fuzzed with age.  That all too familiar smell hit me, consuming me with a sense of dreadful nostalgia.  I didn’t understand how a house could be so dusty but so oily at the same time.  Almost every piece of furniture was frayed, just like the porch steps and banisters were.  The sofa was also all ripped to Hell, the insides gutted and bulging out in tufts of piss-stained, orange foam.  The wooden fabric table legs had been clawed so much that I was surprised it was still able to stand.

There were two officers that arrived on the scene before me.  The officer’s voice that I heard upon arrival belonged to Billy Sarvis.  He still looked winded from having to break the door down.  His eyes ran wild as he scanned the largest areas of the house.

We stepped over various items of neglect in our so far fruitless search.  Every room proved uneventful except for a bathroom that contained an overflowing clawfoot tub of gritty cat waste.  There was only one more room to go, her basement.  The smell increased ever-still, making my head swim.  I rubbed some Vicks under my nose, an old trick I remembered from childhood, as we started to descend the stairs.  We were hoping not to find much of anything but also knowing that the smell had to lead to something terrible.

The basement was surprisingly clean at first glance.  None of us noticed anybody down there, and nothing looked disturbed.  The light switch wasn’t working, so I was forced to rely on my flashlight.  I did a quick sweep of the room and, just as I hoped, didn’t see much of anything. But then my light rests on a far corner of the room.

I was immediately confronted by a mass of fur, too large and oddly colored to be any animal that I recognized.  It reminded me of an enormous pile of angry fur coats.  Fur coats didn’t make a sound though, and this thing was roaring with a sickening cacophony of chews, licks and growls.  Coats also didn’t wriggle around on their own, either.

As soon as the beam of light hit, it exploded into a scattering of whites, yellows, oranges, blacks and browns; cats.  It was a huge group of huddled-up cats.  Temporarily distracted, I again didn’t immediately see what they were huddled around.  I wish now that I hadn’t seen.  All these years as an officer and I’d thought I’d seen everything; I was wrong.

The two other officers hesitantly shined their lights on it as well.  With all of the new visibility, we instantly saw hundreds -and I mean hundreds- of tiny, red footprints all over the floor, repeating over and over again in a frenzied pattern.  They were even plastered intermittently on the stairs we had just come down.  I instructed my fellow officers to check the bottoms of their feet to make sure they didn’t cause any additional tracks coming in, possibly contaminating an already grisly crime scene.

There on the floor laid a bloody mess of what appeared to have once been an elderly woman.  She was wearing a worn paisley dress that hung off of her limp form in bloody tatters like cheesecloth.  It was obvious that she had been there for quite a while, and the cats – Jesus Christ, the cats – were eating her.  I didn’t believe that was how she initially died, but they definitely took advantage of the event.  There were two left behind, the skinniest of the group, too caught up in the delights of their dinner to be frightened away.

Their mouths glistened wet with red against the beams of our lights.  Droplets of blood and flesh stuck unashamedly to their whiskers as they growled at each other between chews.  They seemed to lap up the blood as soon as they drew it out.  I shudder even now to think about it.

“Oh, God!” Sarvis exclaimed, running to the opposite corner to vomit.  He was the newest officer assigned to our department, not to say I wasn’t having a hard time not doing the same thing.  This was disturbing even for me, what some would call a seasoned veteran of law enforcement.

“Have you ever seen anything like this in your life?  Jeez, man, my son has three of these things,” another officer said with trembling breath.  I shook my head, not being able to take my eyes off the partially consumed body.

I looked over to see a book lying next to her; barely affected by the pool of blood that surrounded her.  I put on gloves to pick it up.  It appears to be a journal of some sort.  We called for the coroner, animal control and forensics to come on the scene.  I opened the book and began reading while I waited for them to arrive.

July 10th, 1980

The first thing I’ll say is that I’ve never been much of a cat person.  Honestly, I’m not really a pet person at all….but especially not cats.  Their litter box fumes that take over the entire house, all of the hair left lying around, and the constant grooming always grosses me out.  Also, why is it that every time a cat jumps and decides they want to cuddle, they always present themselves butt-first?  Is it just me?  I don’t know…

I’m not completely heartless; the sad puppy eyes get me just as much as the next gal.  I wouldn’t wish harm on an animal; I just don’t find them necessary as companions.  So when I find a strange kitty sitting on my porch steps, I’m a bit confused.  I know I’m not going to get any fans here, but I’m sure if I just don’t feed it, eventually it will go away.

July 18th, 1980

I was wrong.  A week later and still…. morning after morning, on my way out the door, there it sits.  He – she? – it’s a tuxedo cat with short hair and 1.5 ears.  It looks mangy, and its feet are stained with dirt.  It tries to rub against me.  I gently shoo it away with my foot in response.  It shakes its rump at me as it saunters away.  Yep, after further and unwanted inspection, it turns out that the cat’s definitely a He.

July 24th, 1980

My roommate Iris just came home from vacation a couple of days ago.  This is the first chance I’ve had to talk to her since she’s gotten in.  I found her in the kitchen making what smelled like meatballs.  It smelled amazing!

We got lucky, really.  We hadn’t known each other at all before we moved in together.  Our situations had both brought us to the right place at the right time and it worked out.  Despite my nervous social tendencies, we got along right away.  I was totally comfortable around her.


I ask Iris where the tuna was, hoping to make sandwiches.  Do you know what she said?!?  Her eyes looked to me all pathetic-like without lifting her face.  She said, “Laurel, there was the cutest little kitty on the porch when I came home.  He was just sitting there waiting for me, and he looked so hungry.”  Of course I got onto her about it.  “Great!  Now he will never go away!  Did you give him a name too?” I demanded.

Iris was trying hard not to show her excitement and failing.  She tells me that she named him ‘Pepe’ after the cartoon character!  Said he looked just like him.  My annoyance is growing more and more at this situation with each day that goes by.  She knows that we just re-mulched the front yard, and it finally is to the point where it looks nice!  How long does she think that’s going to last with a cat outside?  She lifts a finger as if she’s already thought of this. “Wellllllll…then maybe he could be an inside cat,” was the suggestion she gave me.

No way, Iris.  I’m sorry.  I’m really not comfortable with stray cats hanging around.  I tell her if she stops putting food out, he’ll move onto someone else.  I asked her to please respect me on this.  I couldn’t believe that we had to have this conversation.  It was the first term that we ever had disagreed on, and I feel like a total jerk.  I know I won’t change my mind, though, and she needs to know how I feel about it.  I should have just lied and told her I was deathly allergic…

August 4th, 1980

I woke up late today and had to rush out; there’s a lot to do today.  I got about 5 miles down the road when something terrible assaulted my nostrils.  I gotta say it was honestly one of the worst smells I’d ever experienced.  My eyes darted around the car to see where it could be coming from.

As soon as I got out, I checked my patchwork boots. And wouldn’t you know, the bottom of my left boot has cat poop all over it.  This is why I’ll never want a cat.  They are all fluff and balls of yarn; just wait ‘til you track their crap all over.  It was in the grooves of my shoe and also my brake and gas pedals.  The shoe I could take to the tub and hose off with the high-pressure shower setting.  The pedals, though, that all had to be cleaned by hand.

I pulled back into the driveway, trying to put it out of my mind.  As I get in front of the porch steps, I find a once steaming, smeared pile, right in the mulch.  “Goddammit!” I yelled aloud to the sky, as if my voice can be heard in the vastness of the cosmos.  See what I have to put up with?  Hopefully, writing all this down helps.  My therapist said that it would, but I still feel silly.

September 3rd, 1980

Iris isn’t home.  Her boyfriend Eric has the weekend off, so she is staying with him tonight.  They usually alternate between his place and ours.  I don’t need to tell you that I prefer it when she stays there, honestly. The house stays cleaner, I get to listen to my music as loud as I want, and I can eat dinner in my underwear.  Oh, and no guttural sex chanting through all hours of that night and sometimes the next morning, that’s nice too.

Date Illegible

I walk out to check our mail and ‘Pepe’ runs towards me, weaving in and out between my feet with a swiftness I can’t match.  I trip and almost fall right onto an iron rake face first.  As I just barely catch myself, I see the cat sitting there staring at me.  The look in his eyes is unmistakable; he knows he tripped me.  You know, that damned cat could have killed me!

I tried to shoo him away with my foot, and he hissed at me.  He tripped me, almost gravely injured me and then had the balls to hiss at ME?!?  Damned cats!  And Jesus Christ, wouldn’t you know, another pile in the mulch.  This wasn’t something that I could just pick up or scoop with a plastic shovel.  Whatever this cat was eating clearly wasn’t working for his stomach.  I decided that enough was enough; I called my parents and asked to borrow their cat carrier.


The next day I ashamedly took ‘Pepe’ for a drive to the next town, found a decent gas station and drop him off behind it.  The gas stations in Florida were always loaded with stray cats at night.  Surely someone would ‘adopt’ him and help him find food.  Satisfied, I got back in my car and took the hour drive home.  I will tell Iris I found him a good home, and he will be happier now.  I feel good about what I’ve done.  My mind justifies itself by telling me that I’m helping him, but really I only care about myself and my yard.

September 24th, 1980

A week has gone by, and it’s been awesome!  A totally hair-free, poop-free, cat-free week.  Pepe’s probably off having fun with his new merry band of wayward cats.  Iris is happy because she thinks the problem was solved without any trips to the humane society.  I even tell her he’ll be an inside cat so she won’t worry about him getting hit by any cars.

October 5th, 1980

My best friend Jennifer has called today to ask if I want to have lunch; I’m happy to accept the invitation.  I’ve just bought a new black and white paisley dress!  I go outside, and my blood chills to see a familiar sight.  I shake my head and re-open my eyes; it’s ‘Pepe.’

He’s come back!  They say this happens all the time; pets travel great distances to find their owners.  We’ve been seeing this cat for less than two months, though, and I have no emotional relationship with him.  He sits on his hind legs, sharpening his claws on my tires.  “Stop that!” I yell.  I know cat claws can’t flatten a tire from one time, but over time and with repetition, they sure might.

I got into my car to leave and turned on the air.  My windshield was wet; the wipers smeared it in a way that told me it’s not just water.  Instantly the smell of ammonia wafted in from my AC vents.  The cat!  Also, that’s another thing; remember when things got weird earlier with me talking about the cat scat?  Well, the same also goes for cat urine.  No other animal is like it, with the males being the worst.  It’s hard to get the scent out of your clothes.

Laurel’s No Cat Reason # 74: sometimes they won’t even use the cleanest of cat boxes and will just piss on your clothes; real nice.  How in the Hell was I going to clean this up?  It already had dripped down under the hood of my car and affected every single atom of air that came through the vents.  With it being almost 90 degrees outside, what choice did I have but to endure it?

I made sure, discreetly, when I got out of my car that the smell didn’t transfer to my dress.  I went in and met with my long missed friend Jennifer, putting ‘Pepe’ far out of my mind.  We had such a good time and had more drinks than expected.  Pretty soon, I was wasted, emboldened by alcohol and rejuvenated by my visit.

I have to admit, it almost didn’t even bother me that I had to sit in the equivalent of a human cat box on my way home.  I rolled the windows down as the night brought in refreshing cool air.

I pulled up to my driveway, and there he sat, that cat.  I swear he leered at me when I opened my car door but I didn’t even care.  I felt amazing!  As I walked by him to go up the steps, he swatted at my foot, catching a toe with his claw and drawing blood. “What the hell, cat?!”

November 22nd, 1980

I’m not proud of myself, and I wish I could blame it on temporary insanity due to blood loss, but this is what happened.

I went right inside my house, got a pinch of weed, a knife, and a can of cat food Iris had bought.  If I was gonna do this, I wanted to make him feel good first.  I sprinkled the herb over the food, put it in this new thing called a Tupperware container and returned outside.

He eyed me warily, seeing and smelling the container from afar.  I sat it down and stepped away.  As soon as he deems me at an appropriate distance, he circled the food bowl.  He sniffed at it a couple of times, then jumped back as if it’s going to lunge at him and bite him.  Finally, he settled in and started really chowing down.

I crept up behind him and steadied the knife, determined to get it right the first time; there wouldn’t be a second try.  With one swift motion, I grabbed the scruff of his neck, held him down, and cut off his tail. I was afraid the blade wouldn’t make it all the way through in one shot, but it did.

He howled in pain and released from my grip, turning around to attack me.  I covered him with a towel and held him there.  He eventually fell silent and still, knowing he’s not able to run off.

My hands were bloody, and I was still delirious from drinking earlier in the day.  Iris just happened to pull up in her car at this point.  She leapt out and started running to me, not sure what she’s seeing.  “Laurel, are you hurt?  What happened to your hands?”

Upon seeing the cat, her face darkens.  I could actually see flames in her eyes.  “That’s it!  To not prefer animals is one thing but this is totally sick!  He’s an innocent creature!”  Her eyes filled with tears.  “Screw it, I was going to tell you after we paid rent, but I’m moving in with Eric.  You need to get him to a vet!”

By then, the cat had disappeared.  I knew what I did was messed up.  I don’t blame her for reacting the way that she did.  The mind doesn’t work that way when you’re drunk though, does it?  “Fine!” I responded, slurring my speech.  “Go live with your boyfriend.  I’ll be just fine here on my own…AND WITH NO PETS!!!”  I don’t mean it.  How far could our friendship possibly progress now, though? Sometimes it’s best to just let things go, even people.

December 1st, 1980

Eric’s truck came and went a few times over the days to help move her things. Iris and I didn’t even say goodbye, really.  She tried to talk to me, but I was too distracted by staring out the window, making sure the cat was gone for good.

Eventually, I heard her say, “Fine, bye then.  If that cat comes back, just call me, and I’ll take it home with me.”  It sounds odd hearing her say the word ‘home’ and knowing she’s not referring to this place.  She muttered “animal killer” on her way out the door.

After she left, I decided it was time for me to leave the house again.  I was going to go out of town to treat myself to a night out.  Maybe I could find a nice man to sweat my frustrations out with; forget the mess about Iris and the cat.  A night away was most definitely exactly what I needed, and soon.

Date Illegible

I went out and had such a nice time.  Know that I went out, had fun, looked for some company, found some company and spent the night.  I had a few drinks, not nearly as many the time before; definitely not enough to excuse my decisions.  I woke up feeling dried out and excited to go home.  I slip out from the arm atop me and sneak out the front door.

When I arrived home, I once again could not believe my eyes.  Out through my windshield, I saw that my entire porch was shredded.  It looked like a whole kennel of cats attacked the porch all at once.

 Their claws ate away at the wood like sharp termites.  How the hell could one cat have done all of this, especially an injured one?  Forget about me being pissed off; this was just getting scary now.  This porch was hand-built by the man who rented the house’s grandfather.  Can you imagine how pissed he will be once he saw this?  There’s no way this cat isn’t intentionally malicious.  I have had enough.

December 25th, 1980

I backed up my car a little and sat at the end of the driveway, waiting to see if ‘Pepe’ will appear.  After not too long, he does.  He saunters up to the porch, tail stub mangled and yellow with infection.  He sharpens his claws a few quick times, almost as if he knows I’m watching.

He walked to the middle of the yard and lay there, sunbathing like he owns the place.  I put my car into drive and floored it.  There was no way this asshole would have the time to get away, and this time I’d be done for good.

No more cat crap, I thought as I felt the tires go over the bump.  No more pissing on my car, I thought as I reversed to run over him again.  No more cat.

I know it’s cold and heartless, but I scooped up his little body with a shovel, put it into a trash bag and threw it in the waste bin.  I was glad to finally be done with this whole thing.  No one could judge me. The pound would have killed him anyway.

His death was quick, and though I can’t speak for him personally, I would like to think it was painless.

Five Empty Pages Later

I’ve made a huge mistake.  I don’t mean that I’m remorseful for taking a life that was clearly out to get mine.  I mean, nothing could have ever prepared me for my repercussions.  For every day since the day I sent ‘Pepe’ to his resting place, a new cat would show up.  On the first day, there was one, and I noticed the trash bin had been knocked over.  Then the second day two, and so on from there.  I tried shooing them, but around the 12th day, it became too much.  They seemed to be more menacing the larger their group became.  Maybe I deserve this.

April 16th, 1981

Eventually, I gave up and accepted my consequence of fate.  I didn’t bother to clear the yard; I put a cat box in every room and even installed a pet door so they could come and go as they pleased.  After a while, the numbers stop increasing.  However, by then most of the cats had bred, starting a new generation of horror.  I keep a punch bowl on the counter filled with food for them, and one tub is always filled with water.  The other tub takes the place of a litter box.  Forty-five adult cats, infinite amounts of kittens and still breeding.  They clawed at my clothes, my face, my feet, especially.  They wanted to destroy me and everything I enjoyed for my home.  After what I did, who could blame them?

A long while after it started, he came.  Maybe I’m delirious from fumes, maybe I’ve finally lost my mind but I swear I see ‘Pepe,’ sitting outside, looking in.  His tail is gone, his body is misshapen, he has 1.5 ears and an eye that hangs from its socket.

February 10th, 1983

I know that I have a forever pet, a friend who will never leave my side.  I have friends of all colors, ages, sizes and fur lengths.  Dozens of them live with me, and I love through them.  It’s crazy how a slight change in perspective can change everything, isn’t it?  In my earlier years, I was called Laurel Johnson, but now…now they call me…the Cat Lady of Lindlen County.


I searched the pages for the most recent date and found that the last entry was written almost 20 years ago; the pages yellowed, but the ink unfaded.  The teams came out and did their jobs, none of them much surprised by the sight.  I made last-minute statements for their reports before leaving the scene.

On the drive home that evening, as I looked in my rear-view mirror, I saw a flash of a little, yellow glowing eye.  It looked like a black and white clump of fur, with no tail and half an ear.  I did a double-take to make sure of what I was seeing, and…it was gone.

Rating: 8.20/10. From 5 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by N.M. Brown
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: N.M. Brown

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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