As I have mentioned before, we are not big cat people. Usually when we have them, they are meant to help us control mice. I am terrified of mice - dead or alive. My family takes delight in tormenting me. I now send a posse anywhere that I think we may have mouse traps set up. We had a lot of issues with mice this past winter in the garage. "The Blonde" and I both had nests in our car engines, and there were signs of them in the attic. Finally figured it out in May when I cleaned the garage. "Doc" had forgotten a bag of bird seed in the garage. The mice had a free food all winter and of course, moved right in!!!
While we can't keep cats now, we used to have some at our last house, and they were always barn or outside cats. When the kids were much smaller we bought a house that had a barn with a goat in it. You do remember my story of Casper the Friendly Goat, right?. Did I mention that he was the first goat ever written into a contract for purchasing a house? Anyway, the owner also left two cats. I don't think they were meant to be outdoor cats, but they began living outside once we moved in. I don't think they wanted to live in the same house with us and the feeling was mutual. "Calvin" named them after "Doc's" partners' daughters, Sarah and Melissa.
Sarah was the first to pass on. We buried her in the yard and had a little funeral for her. About six months after she died, I luckily caught "Calvin" coming out of the garage with a shovel. Hmm, any guess where he was headed? So, I asked him and yes, he was going to dig up Sarah. When I asked him why, his answer was simple. He had forgotten what she looked like and needed to remember. This became an opportunity to discuss death with "Calvin", I wanted to handle him gently and explain what happens when someone or a pet that you love dies and is buried. So I had this beautiful discussion and looked at him lovingly and asked if he had any questions. Of course he did! "So, you mean I can't dig her up because she doesn't look the same?" Well yes, that is correct. "So she is dead, blowed up, becayed!" Yes (those are not typos, those are his own words!). "Well, okay!." and he walked away and put the shovel back. Of course he announced his revelation of the cat's condition to everyone he saw for the next week!
We got another kitten a few months later. He was dubbed Pancake after "Doc" accidentally stepped on his head one day. The poor cat could only walk in circles for a few days until the head fuzziness cleared up! You really had to keep an eye on "Calvin" back then. You never knew what he could dream up and whatever it dreamed up was spontaneous and he quickly moved on. He would spend a lot of time playing in the barn and imitating "Doc". We bought him a toy tool box and shovel and stuff like that. We noticed one day that we had not seen Pancake for a day or so. I mentioned it to "Doc" and he promised to keep an eye out for him while he was fiddling around outside. While he was in the barn, he kept hearing cat noises. He looked around to see if the cat was stuck somewhere in the barn. The noise took him to "Calvin's" tool box. "Doc" opened the box and the poor cat leaped out of it like a cartoon character and attached itself to "Doc's" chest! When he finally got pried off, he took off running. "Calvin"!!!! Did you put the cat in your tool box?" the answer was affirmative. "Why would you do that?" "I don't know. It was empty." And he happily strolled away. We did have a long talk a little later about never doing that again. I think he was more impacted by the loss of his tool box than he was about the cat. Pancake did come back after he cleaned himself off, which shocks me! He stayed with us until we moved. We brought him to our new home, and as soon as we opened his carrier door, he ran, never to be seen by us again! Hope he didn't find his way into another tool box.
Wife, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Nurse, Grandmother, Friend...that's me in a nutshell!