So, I’ve been prompted by my much admired friend and author Anne to write an animal story. An animal story, an animal story, I’ve been thinking and thinking and it’s so hard to decide but here’s a try.
What I’ve found with my animals is what I’ve also found to be true with the people in my life – they come when the time is right and they may sometimes leave, come back, and leave again. This is most true with my cats – I’ve never considered myself a “cat” person – they are as you know very independent and seem to choose who they ultimately want to be with. I’ve now had several in my adult life – my first cat “Tigger” a large gray cat that I have no idea why he was named “Tigger” (as in Winnie the Pooh’s friend – seems like he should have been orange but who knows!) Tigger came to live with me before I moved to the Adirondacks. He was brought to me from a friend who apparently had an extra cat that needed a home.
Tigger lived with me and my two dogs in my little Jersey house – he moved to the Adirondacks slightly in advance of me – he moved into the Stillwater Shop as I was selling my house and gradually moving and combining my life with Frank and his one cat “Dave”. Combining lives never goes quite as hoped and alas our great hope of integrating the cats was a colossal failure. After a couple of days in the Adirondacks and several cat fights with flying fur in our garage Tigger up and disappeared. I mourned and Dave the cat happily strutted his stuff content to have his turf back to himself.
It was several months later that our neighbor called and said – hey are you missing a cat? Hoping beyond hope we hustled over and called out for “Tigger” suddenly this rather fat gray cat came running and meowing right to me – he had been pilfering from the neighbors cats for months. I scooped him up and brought him back to Jersey where he stayed with me and kept me company while Frank was living here and I was still down state – both of us happy for the company - until I made my final journey finally leaving the Jersey life behind. We moved Tigger into the “round” house as it was called back then which is now Northern Lights. He lived here for a while but was never quite content – eventually another neighbor called and informed me that she had a gray cat sleeping on her bed and would like to keep him if I wouldn’t mind. Sadly I realized he would obviously be much happier there! Tigger lived out the rest of his days in her care – quite happily at that. And my house became much happier without an unhappy cat.
Hansel at Northern Lights
But that’s not the end of my cats. After an exasperating season of mice coming into the house there came Hansel. Hansel came from the Otter Creek stables and also turned quickly into a large black & white cat much loved by my family. He took up residence here with our Doberman, Greta and put her quickly in her place. He was joined over time by our barn cats outside and couldn’t quite decide if he liked them being around. Hansel would come and go from the house – spending more time inside obviously in the winter than the rest of the year. We respected his turf and did not allow any more kitties indoors. He graced us with his presence for several years until Charlie moved in.
The story of why Charlie moved in will have to come at another time but let’s just say Charlie is a little Jack Russell from the shelter who moved in and to say “freaked out” Hansel would be an understatement. The cat that flattened the Doberman could not quite figure out this little dog. Sooooo it wasn’t too awful long before the same neighbor was calling me up AGAIN saying hey – your cat is moving in and I’d like to keep him if you don’t mind! Once again my cat had divorced me! Our family was saddened to say the least – children don’t quite understand – I’ve taken it as fate – sadly I am not destined to be loved by a cat any time soon. Hansel is quite happy and content in his non-dog occupied home and his new Mom and Dad are just thrilled to have him in their lives. I am happy to see him bring joy to their lives and them to his.
This isn't Charlie of course but it pictures him perfectly! That little dog can teach us alot!
We do still have two barn cats outside – Maggie Mae and Bella Donna – they have figured out how to quickly evacuate the scene when they hear the dog collar jingling up the path from the house. They perch on cabinets or hay piles in the barn safe from the reach of Charlie. We’ve had a couple of other cats over the years that eventually disappeared as outside cats do; seems I’ve never had a cat content to stay indoors. These two little girl cats are survivors – They did not like each other at first but came to an agreement - they can climb the tallest trees around the house and know how to get down; I have had to dig them trenches in the snow this winter to prevent them from being trapped under the hay shed and they have so far evaded the many predators in the Adirondacks and that would include the infamous Charlie. They love their little heated water bowl and I’d probably have fewer mice if I fed the cats a little less. Here at least in the barn a balance has come to exist – perhaps because balance as in life is essential in any horse barn. I think these two cats may actually like me after all but they probably would stop with like…after all the jingling dog collar is always followed by me walking up the path. So I’ve told the kids no more kittens! But I hate to confess I’d probably be the first one to cave in to a little whiskered face even though I should know better. I’ll need to read this periodically to remind myself I am not destined to be loved by a cat but apparently I can raise little kittens to be loved by others!
My Maggie Mae
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