Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Cat Stories.

I feel compelled to put together a post about Cats I Have Known.

I am not really a dog lover. (Not too keen on rug rats either, not until they can talk. Tsk.) My husband feels that a dog completes the family, I guess, and so when the YD was a year old, we got a mutt from the pound and kept dogs(3) from then until after both daughters left for university. We tolerated each other, the dogs and I. And yes, I have dog stories, but not now.

In spite of this sort of benign indifference, my journey through life has been littered with encounters with cats.

My grandparents’ farm had both barn cats and house cats and since I stayed quite a bit with my grandparents as a very small girl, and also since after my father returned from the Navy in 1946 we lived in a wartime house not far from their farm, the cats and I were on cordial terms. My youngest aunt was a cat fanatic and so the house cats were mostly hers. She used to wear one draped around her neck from time to time and she fed them all up to a magisterial plumpness. Another of my aunts almost packed one of these somnolent beasts into a box of Christmas gifts to be mailed. He was sleeping in the box, of course, and didn’t move until my poor aunt pushed down on the parcels to set the lid. There was a fine yowl and she unpacked.

The barn cats were a separate society and hung around my grandfather when he was milking but there was one old dame who always brought her kittens up to the back kitchen steps when they could see and left them there. My grandmother swore that she was left to babysit. I loved this, of course, and once brought a kitten into the kitchen (strictly forbidden) where it got in behind the refrigerator. My grandparents were due to take me home but could not do so until my grandfather moved the frig and hauled the cat out of there. He got hissed at, and so did I.

My mother was not so keen, but the cats liked her. One rode back from the farm to our house inside the hood of her car and she had to drive him home again. In my kindergarten year my school held a pet competition and I begged to bring in one of the cats from the farm. My mother (reluctantly) agreed and my aunt loaned me Schmoo*, who came to our place in triumph in a cardboard box. Before the pet parade, he got loose from the box and found the tin can under the sink where my mother kept used grease. This he ate and became even more dopey and relaxed than his usual self, so much so that he won the prize for best behaved pet.

A few years later we were adopted by a cat, an handsome black and white Tom who arrived on the cottage steps one day and demanded food. I named him Christopher (Columbus) for his exploring ways and when we moved back to the city when school started, we brought him along. And then one day he was gone. Sadness. My mother assured me he could take care of himself and she was right! A few weeks later we spotted him living at a butcher’s shop some blocks away.

This perfidy cured me, I thought, of cats. When my grandkid’s beautiful sort-of-Siamese jumped onto my feet in the wee hours, one night when I was baby-sitting, I was so startled I took a swipe at him and sent him flying across the room. We have not been friends since.

And then, a few years later a small and starveling cat turned up one day nosing around under the bird feeder. She was pitiful, all skin and bones and terror. JG and I decided on the instant to feed her and that was the beginning. I told her story here * and have been posting cat stories and cat photos ever since.


In the meantime, Miss M received a rather gorgeous part Siamese kitten for her second birthday. He was named Miso and has been a fixture at the ED’s menagerie ever since. An opinionated beast to be sure, but handsome and very photogenic. Miso and I do not agree much of the time; he regards me with suspicion since I flung him across the room by accident some years ago. 

But he does love to be photographed and is accordingly a source of much joy to me.

Callee took a great shine to my YD
  and, when we went on a trip, the YD boarded the cat. Her dog and Callee bonded and she stayed on at the YD’s, only coming back when the YD needed both of them boarded. In the city she, like Miso, is a totally indoor cat, but when she visits out here she reverts to her outdoor self and demands to be let out to play with the cat down the road, terrify (and sometimes eat) the small local rodents, and riot around the landscape.

And, of course, drive me nuts.


  1. Your cat stories are completely charming, and they are very reminiscent of my mother's and my own. And that picture of you holding the cat as a girl looks very, very like the one I posted on my 5th Blogiversary in August of 2010.

    My most revered President Abraham Lincoln loved cats, and I am immediately more at ease with Cat People than Dog People. But any Pet People are the Best People.

  2. You always know just how to tell a good story, I enjoyed this one today. We had a cat named Callie too. She was the best cat we ever had.

  3. Fun little vignettes! I especially enjoyed the one about the almost-mailed cat.

    You also got me to thinking about my collection of animal/pet stories that should be written at some point.

    I haven't had a pet cat since I was a little girl, but I have been toying with the idea of getting one. We are going to be moving (fingers crossed, since it's still in the works) into a house with a barn, and it strikes me that a cat could help with the mice that have clearly taken up residence in there.

  4. Nance, I found the photo and you are right.
    AC, why am I not surprised.
    Calicoes are great cats, Kelley.
    Alejandro, do write them! And if you get a barn cat, refuse to kitten-sit.