Duke’s Scary Vacation

Happy National Tea Day! To celebrate I bought this large mouth jar and a lid to permit drinking from it. It’s going to be enjoyed on trips!


Hi and welcome to the blog! It was a crazy weekend from Friday through Sunday.  I could have lost the beloved black tomcat, Mister Duke. He’s a quiet member of the family, opting to look out the window, eat cheeseburgers, and spend time by my head as I fall asleep and wake up.


The concrete company across the street from where I live.


On Friday night Jenny was on her leash for a walk just as the sun was going down. Duke has not had to wear a leash until now. He was content to sit in the driveway and just chill out.   But something set him off and he ran into some evergreen trees across the street.  I pursued, eventually catching up to him… Then I made a big mistake.



In order to apprehend the kitty, I grabbed his tail. That always works with Jenny!  But Duke fought me, biting the top of my skull, puncturing both hands, and scratching my arms.  I cussed him out and went home to nurse the wounds.  I felt like crap for scaring him more than he already was.   🙁

By Saturday morning the swelling was horrible and I went to the ER… They prescribed antibiotics and administered a tetanus shot. I had to work and it hurt like heck to bend the fingers!  The kitty got Daddy good!

By Saturday night there were no signs of Duke – not even a meow.  I was a nervous wreck, waking every half hour or so to any kinds of sounds.  What worried me is that about 300 feet from where I live there is a large tree with an owl’s nest.  I am not a fan of owls, hearing horror stories of them killing cats, chickens, etc.  A couple of years ago a coyote was shot while roaming on the street in the picture.


The barred owl.


By Sunday I was falling apart at work. It’s not like a person isn’t stressed out enough right now with Covid-19, stories of rioting and looting all over social media, and putting up with rude customers. I could hardly get through the day.

Later Sunday evening I was walking Jenny on the leash and we heard Duke faintly meow.  At the same time I spotted a good sized bird on top of the light pole.  Duke was at the base of the pole.  That had me so worried.  Food and reassuring baby talk brought him back.

Only later did I identify the bird as a barred owl.  This species is a threat to rodents and smaller animals but they can also kill cats, too.  The easiest way to identify this bird is to listen to the repeating series of four hoots that sound like the words “who cooks your food”.


She’s going in style!


In any case, it was kind of a scary experience to have Duke disappear and it made me glad that a week or so ago this new accessory was ordered for the kitties. Now they are safe in this “Paws and Pals Elite Stroller”.   It was only about $54 from Amazon.  Jenny loves the stroller and often sits in it and meows, hoping for a road trip!  Duke took his first spin tonight.  We can cover far more ground and it gets Daddy a nice workout, too!


This is where Duke curls up with me at night. He’s the most peaceful little guy!


Kitty Duke was a little sluggish for a day, likely due to the heat and lack of food. On Monday I stopped at Fareway where his favorite was being made – freshly ground hamburger.  He wasn’t too thrilled about eating it though. But on Tuesday night I mixed the rest of the meat into a casserole and the little guy sure enjoyed the dish.  It also gave me an idea how to make the same casserole over a campfire. I plan to share the recipe in a future post after the weekend.  The weather is cooler and the plan is to camp and fish on Sunday and Monday, maybe taking Jenny along.

That’s about all that’s new for now. The antibiotics are messing up the stomach a little but at least the injuries are healing. Duke is one darned tough black tomcat… He sent Daddy to the hospital. But all is well again and I’m so very grateful to have him back.  He sure means a lot!

Take care and thanks for visiting!  Watch for Duke’s Hamburger Casserole next week.  Safe and happy camping!

Brad and Jenny and Duke
Jones County, Iowa

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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

2 Responses to Duke’s Scary Vacation

  1. Jo Harmon says:

    WOW those were nasty wounds. But seems all ended well. My daughter got bit by a nasty little dog this past week not once but twice. She never even saw the darn thing and next she knew he was biting into her thigh and then the back of her knee. This little monster was on one of those extended leashes. Yep she had to get the a tetanus shot to. The apt. manager was not happy about this and made them give her all the dogs records to make sure they had all their shots.

    Can’t wait to see your latest casserole.

    Take care stay safe

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! All is healed up again. Sorry to hear about your daughter getting bit. Owww! Those little ones can do a lot of damage. They bite more than ankles! I did get in some camping and fishing time… Now to just get things posted. It’s been a busy time. — VT