Ms. Rambo and the Fox


Pat and I were sitting in the swing and talking about Ms. Rambo, a cat we had for several years. We have a lot of stories about her that we tell and re-tell and never get tired of.

The street we lived on was just a block long. It was a very steep hill ending at the top with a regular cul de sac type turn-around. We lived at the bottom of the hill and up at the top lived a family that had a white cat. Being all white, the cat stood out and you could spot her wherever she was in the neighborhood. One day the family moved out and just left the cat to fend for herself. We would see her up and down the block looking for food and taking care of herself. We heard stories from the neighbors of what a hunter she was and how independent and tough she was. We all felt sorry that she had been abandoned but she seemed to be surviving and doing okay.

The cat soon had a route established to cover the block in search of hand-outs. She was checking our back door so Pat started putting out food and water. Our house became a regular stop on the cat’s route and Pat enjoyed seeing her and always talked to her. This went on for a few months until the cat decided to change the game. It was raining one evening which is unusual for San Diego. I had just gone to bed and Pat was finishing up before she, too, headed upstairs. All of a sudden, Pat heard a squalling noise at the front door. It was that loud, eerie noise a cat makes when it has made a kill. Pat opened the door and there stood this wet cat with a rat in its mouth. The cat steps in and drops the rat at Pat’s feet and walks on into the living room. The rat is wounded but it jumps up and waddles off. Pat is yelling for me to get up and help catch the rat and she is checking to see what the cat is doing. The cat is calmly sitting in the middle of the living room and watching Pat go nuts and then watching me go nuts as I try to catch the rat. Fortunately, the rat is lame and I’m able to catch it and get rid of it. Pat and I look at the cat and talk about her and figure that she must have gotten tired of living in the rain and scrounging for food and trying to survive as a homeless person and decided to adopt us. She was smart enough to offer up the rat to pay her way in. 

After work the next evening we were trying to assess what we had. This cat was slim and wiry and built like a Siamese. When she vocalized a “kill”, it sounded like a Siamese. She was pure white but wasn’t an albino because her eyes were kind of a blue-green rather than pink. She’d been taking care of herself for months without the coyotes getting her so she was smart and tough. I tried to play with her and teased her and ended up with tooth and claw marks in my hand and arm so we understood that she would demand respect. Discussing what to name her, it was her fierce fighting ability and independence that caused us to think of the latest “tough guy” movie we had seen so we called her “Rambo”. Then, remembering she was a girl, we modified it to “Ms. Rambo”.

This little cat only weighed 7 or 8 pounds but she was extremely athletic. She liked to sleep on top of the refrigerator where nobody could bother her. Most of the time she would jump from the counter top but if there was anything in the way there she could jump from the floor! Pat had a big fruit bowl that she kept on top of the fridge and Rambo took it over for her naps. 

Ms. Rambo

One day we were afraid she might have a kidney infection. We couldn’t get in to see our regular Vet so we went to another. Once we were in the examining room we took her out of the carrier we had brought her in and placed her on the examining table. Pat and I were both petting her and talking to her so she was quiet. The Vet comes in and he’s a big dude, 6’3″ or 6’4″ tall. We explain the symptoms she’s displayed and the Vet says he will take her to the back and get a urine sample. Pat and I both volunteer to go with them. We tell him that she’s called Ms. Rambo for a reason and that other Vets put a muzzle and one of those straight jacket things on her when handling her. Well, the Vet draws himself up to his full height, looks down his nose at us and says “I think I can handle this little, tiny cat.” Pat and I look at each other and we’re both thinking “OK, Bud…we tried to warn you!” The Vet picked up Ms. Rambo and that’s when things got tough! She started screaming, biting, and clawing and the Vet looked like a man possessed. He and Rambo were everywhere. He finally got her tucked under one arm and went out the door with her. Pat and I about busted a gut, laughing, and were completely out of control for a while. Later, a technician brought Ms. Rambo back in and she was wearing a muzzle and one of those straight jackets and had a big towel wrapped around her, too. They finally got the message.

I had to tell you a little bit about Ms. Rambo so you could get the full flavor of this next incident.

I wasn’t home from work, yet. Pat was just getting there and as she rounded the corner, she saw several groups of neighbors standing out in front of their homes. They were looking up the hill, and talking excitedly to one another. We lived in the first house from the corner, at the bottom of the hill, so Pat pulled into our driveway and got out of the car. She yelled at our next door neighbors who were standing out on their drive and asked what was going on. They said that several neighbors had been out in their front yards doing yard work or doing things with their kids and they saw our cat, Ms. Rambo, coming down the hill. Apparently she had been hunting up at the top of the hill and was going from yard to yard as she returned to our house. A few minutes after seeing Rambo, they saw the  neighborhood fox coming down the hill and it seemed to be following Rambo’s scent. The neighbors all thought that would be the end of Ms. Rambo. Sure enough, all of a sudden there was a terrible commotion! There were cat screams, snarls, hisses, and growls. Then, it all changed to a kind of yelping noise and suddenly, here comes the fox up the middle of the street and he is running for his life! Now, everyone can see what is happening. Ms. Rambo is astride the fox’s back with claws dug in and is riding him like a jockey! Go, Rambo, go! The neighbors say it’s the funniest thing they have ever seen. That fox is running for his life and Ms. Rambo is raking him at every jump! This is how legends are born.

This was not Ms. Rambo’s only wild ride nor her last wild and crazy exploit! More later.

Dave Thomas
October 26, 2014


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