Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cats at Work - Part One

Cats kill me. I never was a cat person. We had a cat named Tabby when I was growing up but I was never particularly fond of her. But when I met The Farmer, he told me about all the cats he had growing up on the farm. Cats had a place of honor at their farm. Mostly they lived in the barn and kept the rodent population down. But there was one cat I never met, but I heard about many times. Her name was Stubby and she was their Momma Cat who ruled the roost. (Her name came from her short tail.) As she got older and kept surviving (which for a barn cat is a mean feat), she eventually moved into the house. She had a place of honor at the dinner table. I can just imagine dinners.... Betty and her three boys sitting on stools at their dinner table and Stubby occupying the empty stool. It's quite a sweet picture in my mind. And I vividly remember the phone call from Betty one afternoon when we were living in Colorado in our basement apartment. She didn't call us much. Mark got off the phone quickly. I knew something bad had happened by the look on his face. Stubby had died. She was up in years and she was gone.

Since we have been married, we have had our fair share of felines - Sophie, Mr. Madeline, Quinnie to name a few. I have grown to love cats and how they live their lives. I also get a real kick out of the positions I find them in during the day as I work my way around the house. Right now we have eight cats. It sounds rather out of control but truth be told, it doesn't seem that way to me. Most of the year, they are outside working hard, fending off the squirrel and chipmunk population and enjoying life to the hilt.

That is all but Vera. Vera is our Queen Cat. She rules the roost. Vera came from Holyoke - she has city roots. I got her and her brother Quinnie from a vet - they had been dropped off in the middle of the night. Vera had one litter of kittens when Julia was two. She did a good job with them and we still have two of her off-spring. Her main occupation now is to make sure I keep the food bowl full. If it isn't, she tells me by knocking down whatever is on her counter to crash all over the floor. This frequently includes my farm fresh eggs. Needless to say, I keep the food bowl full. Here Vera is in typical pose in a patch of sun. All winter, she barely ventures outside. If we have company for dinner, Vera is never far away. She is always surveying the guests and making sure everything goes okay.

This is Vera's son Charlie. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be my man Charlie. He loves me to death, greets me every morning and sits next to me on the couch watching me knit at night. And he is a darn handsome cat.

Charlie has a brother Sebastian. Sebastian is our least friendly cat but we still call him our own. During the nice time of the year, he goes away for three weeks at a time. (Yes, he is neutered, he just likes adventure.) Here he is on the left early one morning with his brother Charlie, deciding whether to take off for the day or stay inside where it is warm.

More cat tales tomorrow.


Leslie said...

Charlie looks just like my late, lamented Holiday Wilson - found as a kitten on Rt. 2 West as we were heading to Wilson's to begin our Holiday shopping.

I did't have cats growing up either. It's amazing how incomplete life would be without one now. I look forward to more cat stories.

KSee said...

What a lovely story. LOL, My Grandmother & Mother are both named Vera. You don't hear it much. I too look forward to more stories.

Katie said...

I love cats. I've been without one for all the years I've been at university, but as soon as I can get one of my own I definitely will!

HaveFaith said...

You can't have too many cats. Every time I see one that I don't have already, I want to go to Safe Haven and get another. I need a gray one, a black one, a tabby one and a calico to go with my two golden tabbies and white with tabby head and tail. swaa. Didn't mean to write that but Teddy my crazy cat just stepped on the keyboard. Cats are the best.

ColorJoy LynnH said...

I have always loved cats, mom was from a farm and they belonged outside so we never had one in the suburb. Every birthday cake I had, there was only one wish: a cat.

I finally got my cat, Muffett, when I got out of college. I had him for 17 years. He left once for 5 days (I was crushed) and came back with a shorter tail. He almost died when he was small enough to sit in one hand. He got through it and surprised us by living a very long life.

I think I understand cats. They are total pleasure beings. They don't move unless another spot would be more comfy somehow. Or if food or entertainment has become available!

They get in the way all the time (keyboards, newspapers). I am sure they are in tune to where the focus of energy is, and they want to be in the center of that energy.

Maybe I was a cat in a previous life, if there are previous lives. I can't have any now, because my beloved Brian is highly allergic, and I would much rather have Brian. Any day!

With our travel schedule it's probably good to be animal-free. I do go out of my way to spend time with cats at friends' homes.

I look forward to more stories.

Willow said...

I am totally a cat person! I love cats and always have.

Right now I have to give my cat love vicariously to MamaMia's cat Angel and the two boycats at Kiti's house. And I can't forget to include Trooper the little white Devon Rex I kittysit occasionally!

Elizabeth said...

When our cat Dylan was older and we had two kittens he assumed the role of human family member and they were the pets. And he did this by sitting at the table with us. We just had to pull up a chair and he would sit with us, never interested in eating anything and look down with superiority on "the pets".

I never really thought this happened to anyone else until reading this post!

Pungo River Days said...

I can't tell you how cozy your blog makes me feel. Except for the actual raising of the sheep and publishing the wonderful books, it fits in with my life. Living by myself now, I can't tell you how good it feels to read a new post from you. Smile