Friday, September 18, 2009

Just What I Needed

When I started this blog the one thing I was determined not to do was to write cute stories about kittens-- particularly since I am a dog person.

So we are going to call this a story about mice.

And dogs.

When you live in a hundred year old barn, the one thing that quickly becomes a fact of life is the mouse situation. No matter how determinedly you renovate, no matter how many holes you patch, no matter how modernized you become (hey, I have satellite t.v.! And a Roomba!) no barn is complete without its share of resident mice. Maybe the mice of centuries past have left their ghostly imprint on the place, staking their claim for future generations. Maybe there is some kind of mouse underground railroad upon which the word quickly spreads: Hey, did you hear about that barn on the other side of the mountain? Cabinets full of cookies in paper wrappers and no one lives there but dogs! Now, I'm not one of those women who jumps on a chair when she sees a mouse but come on; enough is enough. And when the mice start holding their nightly poker games at 2:00 a.m. in the attic above your head (whoever said "quiet as a mouse" clearly did not know what he was talking about) a rational person does start thinking about Taking Measures.

So the thought of a resident cat has crossed my mind from time to time, usually about this time of year when the mice start throwing their final block parties before finding a place to bed down (hopefully outside my house) for the winter. It has never gone beyond the daydreaming stage, though, until this morning. As my Collie, Kodi, and I were finishing up our morning walk we heard a demanding, insistent, and really rather desperate yowl coming from the woods. When we stopped, a tiny gray striped kitten climbed down from a tree and scampered over to us. He introduced himself to Kodi, who was quite gracious if I do say so, and fell into step beside us, mewing all the way. You know the rest.

I read somewhere that, unlike dogs and most other land mammals, cats do not use their vocalizations to communicate with each other, and that they developed the meow solely to communicate with humans. When I think of that kitten, watching from the tree until a human happened by and then starting to cry as though his heart would break, that seems entirely plausible to me. I often suspect that when it comes to domestic animals, we're the ones who are domesticated and they're the ones the who really know the score. After all, you don't see the stray kitten rushing into town to buy me wild salmon in a delicate cream sauce, do you?

What you see is a stray kitten snuggled up in a flannel-lined basket sound asleep after having consumed a bowl of milk, a cup of kitty crunchies and the afore-mentioned wild salmon. Of course this is a temporary arrangement. After all, there are the dogs to contend with. And lots of people who would love to have a kitten, I'm sure. Maybe I'll put an ad in the paper.

On the other hand, I did hear the mice have canceled their poker game for tonight...


RenĂ© September 24, 2009 at 10:24 PM  

I'll admit, I'm a cat person so I'm biased, but perhaps she'll grow on you. You do have to wonder, though, if you were the first human she saw, or if she waited until she saw just the right person. Either way, I'd say she's a lucky cat.

  © 2008 'Ladybird' by

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