Cleaning out the refrigerator, or cleaning of any kind, is one of my least favorite things. Yet it must be done. One day, tossing expired food out of the fridge, I found a full pound package of sliced chicken deli meat that was out of date. I knew that if I left it in the garbage for long, Mr. Verm would strike.

See, the verm cat had small and incredibly dexterous paws. Over the years, we’d tried every different kind of garbage lid to deter him with no success, and had finally resorted to placing the garbage in a closet we could close. Even that could not stop the single minded determination of a verm cat after deli meat.

I was well aware that Mr. Verm knew how to open the closet door. He’d stick his paws under the door and pull until the folding door opened enough that he could squeeze in and forage. However, this generally took a few minutes, and since I was right there in the kitchen, I assumed I was safe.

I threw the meat in the garbage and asked my son, Blake, to empty the can and haul it out of the house. He did this promptly within a few minutes, tragedy averted. I finished up in the kitchen and proceeded on to an evening of watching television. Hours later, I walked down the hall toward my husband’s office and saw something unidentifiable on the floor. I will not get too graphic with the description, but it was obvious that some animal was in gastric distress. I couldn’t figure out what the vomited substance could be and I kept finding more. An enormous amount.

I finally found the shredded wrapper and it all came clear.  Somehow, in the blink of an eye,  Mr. Verm had retrieved the pound of deli meat from the garbage and gone to work. How he achieved this, I still don’t know. From the time I put the meat in the garbage, and my son emptied it, was literally less than a couple of minutes and I was in there the whole time. That cat was a true master of his craft. I bow to his skill.

Apparently, after gorging himself, he’d throw up, eat more, and throw up again. Horrific! I was cleaning the odorous mass far longer than I care to share. And he’d made himself sick. Never fear, he rallied quickly and went on to torment us some more.

It was after this incident that my husband quietly gathered his tools and installed a lock on the garbage closet. Before his death, Mr. Verm  discovered he could roll the container I keep the dry cat food in over in front of the garbage closet, stand on it, and reach the chain on the sliding lock. Yes, I caught him using his paw on it. It was only a matter of time.

There was no stopping Mr. Verm  once he acquired a culinary target.  I envision him in the Big Deli Case in the Sky, happily running from one piece of meat to the next.