Over the next few weeks we repeated the Mushroom demonstration for Tundra five more times. And then a change came over him. Instead of sitting in the window of our bedroom and looking miserably down to watch the pedestrian traffic passing in the alley, Tundra scratched at the front door to be let out into the yard where he would actively seek Mushroom out.

Who can really say what caused the change in Tundra. Was it April’s theory that had done it? Or was it simply Tundra’s own resolve to no longer be Mushroom’s personal scratching post? I suppose the reason why wasn’t important. What was important was that Tundra was no longer going to allow Mushroom to bully him, at least not without a genuine effort on Tundra’s part to defend himself. I was as proud of Tundra as the father of a star Little League player would have been. Nobody wants his son or daughter to be a coward, and, as I learned, that went for pet owners as well. When Tundra hid in the house all day, I have to admit, I was a little ashamed of him. But Tundra’s new found bravery had caused the dark cloud in my sky to move away from the sun.

Even Mushroom seemed slightly taken aback by Tundra’s courage. But this didn’t stop Mushroom from attacking him. After Mushroom had gotten over his astonishment, I think he viewed Tundra’s decision to come to him as a sort of preferred customer service provided to frequent patrons: “That’s right, fight enthusiasts, no more looking fruitlessly from yard to yard for a fight—the fight now comes to ‘you!’”

Tundra took his lickings every day. He fought Mushroom, and he lost. But he refused to run. And Mushroom never held back. He gave Tundra everything he had, no holds barred. After weeks and weeks of this Tundra became a battle-scarred veteran of alley and front yard fighting. Tundra’s face and head now bore deep, permanent grooves where scar tissue would never allow fur to grow back. He even had a small notch missing from the tip of his left ear, a cat status symbol as distinguished as a broken nose or a cauliflower ear is to a Golden Gloves boxer. I noticed that Mushroom had a bigger notch missing from the base of his right ear. I wasn’t sure if it had always been there and I had never noticed it or if Tundra was responsible for the missing tissue.

Every fight Tundra had with Mushroom, he was Mushroom’s rival but his pupil as well. He was an apt student, and it didn’t take long for Tundra to begin using Mushroom’s own fighting techniques on the master himself. There was the neck embrace while simultaneously applying the eyebrow bite. The cat-boxing match was always dramatic. One cat stood on his rear legs while swatting down on his opponent; this caused the other cat to also stand on his rear legs until they were both in a clinching, hissing, biting, clawing, Tango free-for-all. And who could forget the ever-popular ground grapple evisceration? This consisted of Tundra and Mushroom rolling across the earth, both of them trying to get a grip around the other’s neck or upper body with their front legs, and then, with their unsheathed back claws, kicking furiously at the other’s stomach. Each cat’s goal was to disembowel his opponent. While patting Tundra as he lay next to me, he would sometimes allow me pat his stomach. If I pushed some of his fur back I could see the streaks of scar tissue that lined his stomach. I was sure that Mushroom had similar scars on his stomach. Fortunately neither cat was ever gutted on the lawn.

More like this:


CuddleFish Feb. 24, 2010 @ 7:19 a.m.

Tundra! Tundra! Tundra! Tundra! Tundra!


antigeekess Feb. 24, 2010 @ 8:06 p.m.

Um, let me make a recommendation to you right now: Insure Tundra. Sooner or later, he's going to require a visit to the Kitty Eye Doctor, and the Kitty Eye Doctor likes to get PAID.

The KED evidently has some big bills. So will you.

And, oh yeah, GO TUNDRA!!!



MsGrant Feb. 24, 2010 @ 9:42 p.m.

I did not want to post about the fact that Tundra was being exposed to cat crap in an attempt to you not be called out as a cat loving lunatic. Allowing your cat to get its ass kicked and endure scars as a result because you felt the need to make sure your cat was not a "pussy" insures that you are.


antigeekess Feb. 24, 2010 @ 10:17 p.m.

Well, what would you have them do, Grant? Keep poor Tundra indoors? Tundra himself decided he was tired of that.

I think I would have employed the supersoaker for quite a bit longer, personally. I'd have soaked that little bully every time he set a paw in the yard, for MONTHS if necessary.

My next option would be to look into an electric fence -- just an electrified wire to string along the top of the existing fencing, keeping Mushroom OUT and Tundra IN. Not sure how practical that is, having never done it.


Adam92102 Feb. 24, 2010 @ 11:56 p.m.

I have to admit, I'm finding this hard to read. Not because of the storytelling, which is fine in itself, but simply because of what you are putting your cat Tundra through. I want to point out one thing that I find cruel, if not downright despicable, that you had said in another post:

"Sometimes I threw Tundra out in the yard and shut the door. I felt that it was for his own good. Almost immediately he’d begin to scratch at the door and meow mournfully. “Merrrrooooooow!” he’d cry."

Have you no heart? Actually, don't even answer that. The mere fact that you continue to allow your cat to get its ass kicked and are content with that is proof enough that you don't.

Look, Tundra is your cat and I'd be out of place to even attempt to dare say how you or any other pet owner raises their pet but personally, I find this entire thing to be absolutely cruel. I understand Tundra scratches at the door to be let out but I'd bet anything that it's not to go outside and be attacked by another bully of a cat but simply because cats by nature are enthralled with nature itself. In a previous thread in the first fight, Tundra ran directly past you, upstairs and under furniture to not only hide but lick its wounds. If that doesn't show you that it's not out there to fight but to get some enjoyment of being outside, you obviously have no respect or understanding of cats.

There is nothing you can do about Mushroom coming into your yard, which was proven by a water gun that will eventually no longer be considered a nuisance to Mushroom but merely a new way of getting something to drink. You simply cannot dissuade a cat with a water gun. They eventually will conquer their fear of that and no longer be bothered by it. So please, stop torturing Mushroom with the water gun and have some damn respect for your own cat. When it wants out, find something to distract it and maybe play with it yourself. I understand this cat was thrust into your lives by another disrespectful owner who deserted it but no need to make it two owners who show it no love.

You say Tundra grew on you but your actions belie that sentiment.

Furthermore, I'm disappointed by all of you others replying, goading on and encouraging this. Stop for a second and think about what is going on and what poor Tundra is going through. It is not a "growing" period for Tundra. It must be pure confusion as to why being outside is so enjoyable but gets absolutely ruined by a bully of a cat. I feel terrible for Tundra, actually. I can't even imagine how it feels inside and I only hope either Mushroom goes away or its owners find more respect for its feelings and life itself.


SDaniels Feb. 25, 2010 @ 3:39 a.m.

"Tundra’s face and head now bore deep, permanent grooves where scar tissue would never allow fur to grow back. He even had a small notch missing from the tip of his left ear, a cat status symbol as distinguished as a broken nose or a cauliflower ear is to a Golden Gloves boxer. I noticed that Mushroom had a bigger notch missing from the base of his right ear. I wasn’t sure if it had always been there and I had never noticed it or if Tundra was responsible for the missing tissue."

Whew! [deep intake of breath]

Quillpena, I'm going to have to agree with Grant and Adam on this one. I'm going to put my two cents in here, because I care for cats, but also because I have very much enjoyed your writing to this point, and feel I owe you some honesty.

This paragraph makes me sick to my stomach, as it would any veterinarian, by the way, which is where both cats needed to be taken.

A vet would tell you:

Did you know that even one single bite or scratch that a cat gives another is full of millions of virulent bacteria that can cause a life-threatening infection?

Both cats suffered deep grooves where hair couldn't grow back? They--and you--are lucky, very lucky, neither became gravely ill.

"Fortunately neither cat was ever gutted on the lawn."

I can't tell if you are being serious, or funny, or ironic, --I guess it doesn't really matter. Besides the danger of being "gutted," either cat, with the vigorous kicking--with highly unsanitary claws--could have killed the other through damage to internal organs. They could have been in great suffering without you noticing--esp. Mushroom, who you did not observe closely on a daily basis, since he wasn't your cat.

I'm assuming all of this is some time ago, and fervently hope that you got them to a vet. I think it was ok to try and train Mushroom away from the yard, but I thought you were trying to prevent fights, not encourage them! Quillpena, I hope you have learned to respect these animals more, and no longer see them as little toys to manipulate. They are flesh, blood, and living minds that are more sentient than you seem aware--and they depend on you and April for love and care they cannot provide themselves, since we have made them helplessly domesticated some thousands of years back.


CuddleFish March 3, 2010 @ 4:01 a.m.

... so, anyway ...

By quillpena 1:07 a.m., Feb 25, 2010

Waiting for the next chapter, Quilly! :)


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