Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Down to Two Chickens

Alice and Patrick are down to two chickens and their rooster. A hawk got one of the chickens not long ago. Then, shortly after that the hawk was back looking for another meal. This time the two chickens hid in the brush while the rooster did battle with the hawk. Finally Patrick came out of the house and the hawk retreated.

The chickens have now been given an enlarged home to stretch their legs and from what I can ascertain it's hawk proof. On the roof of their new place are two anti-aircraft batteries, one manned (manned?)  by field mice and the other by rabbits - all allies against owls and hawks.

Patrick's friend James built the addition for the chickens. (Actually we all call James "friend" but he is especially Patrick's friend since they grew up together.) The thing is that the rooster doesn't care for James, he has attacked him more than once. I don't get it. James built the rooster and his chickens a nice new house. James doesn't look like a hawk, nor does he look like an owl, nor a fox, nor a weasel - James looks like a good old country boy, which he in fact is. James even drives a pickup; now how may hawks or owls have you seen drive a pickup?



Monday, March 14, 2011

C. S. Lewis and Whiskers

On March 21, 1955, in a letter to Mary Willis C.S. Lewis writes:

We were talking about Cats and Dogs the other day & decided that both have consciences but the dog, being an honest, humble person, always has a bad one, but the Cat is a Pharisee and always has a good one. When he sits and stares you out of countenance he is thanking God that he is not as these dogs, or these humans, or even as these other Cats!

Lewis may have something here. Humble cats are hard to find. Humble cats are, I think, hardier to find than haughty dogs.

We once had neighbors, two doors down, who had cats and dogs. Their large black cat, Whiskers, was the neighborhood bully. When our neighbors went on vacation we watched their pets and when we went on vacation they watched our pets.

One summer they went to the beach leaving their pets, including Whiskers, in our care. As the week progressed Vickie remarked that she had not seen Whiskers. As the week drew to a close and the day came for our neighbors’ return we had still not seen Whiskers; in spite of calling his name within and without the house. This was unusual for he not only patrolled his neighborhood on a regular basis, reminding other cats, dogs, and humans that they lived in the area solely by his sufferance; but he also used “home” has a source of food and water. What had become of Whiskers? Had he met his match? Was he road kill? Had he hijacked a truck of Nine Lives cat food, been caught, tried, and was he now in prison?

It turns out that as our neighbors were getting ready to pull out of the driveway on vacation that one of their sons realized he had left something in his bedroom. Whiskers, who was in the house at the time, followed him into the bedroom without being noticed; when the son left the bedroom he shut the door…he shut the door on Whiskers. It was a second-floor bedroom, it was summer, and the air conditioning was turned off. It was hot, it got hotter, and there was no water.

Now at this point I could write to be continued…but that is a cheap trick so I’ll tell you what happened – he lived! I can’t testify whether he used more than one life that week, but he did indeed live, dropping a number of pounds. Of course Whiskers tried to get out of the bedroom – oh my did he try. He destroyed the carpet by the door. He destroyed the trim around the window. It’s a wonder he didn’t claw his way through the drywall – but he did live.

It was weeks before we saw Whiskers again. Whether he held it against Vickie for not finding him we’ll never know, but he seldom came down to our house after that experience; of course our dogs didn’t mind his absence, but I have to admit I kind of missed the old boy.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Georgie the Kitty Boy

 A few weeks ago I shared about Beatle Man, a kitty our friend Deb and her husband Tommy lost to illness. I recently received the following note from Deb:
Hope all is well with you!  I want to introduce you to Georgie, our new kitty boy!
I walked in to Heritage Humane Society a few weeks ago and there he was, in all his red tabby splendor, sprawled out on the floor of the cat colony.  His original Mom went to assisted living, and entrusted her kitty to her granddaughter, who gave him up for adoption.  Fortunately, he was only at the shelter for 9 days, before we brought him to his new home.  His card said he was 15, but his rabies record states his birthday is 10/14/97, and even with my math skills, I figure he is really 13!  Anyway, he is afraid of dogs, so he hasn't come downstairs yet, but that's okay.  He's a good boy...HUGE, and has the red tabby disposition that we know and love.  He's not Beatle Man, but no one could ever replace him.  We love him for who he is...

Now as you'll see from the photo Debby sent the kitty is HUGE - he should be called "King Cat". But the thing that struck me is the old boy's age - he is somewhere around 13 - 15 years old. Now if you're not a pet person you might now get this; it is painful losing a pet. Whether or not you're a pet person you will get this; when you adopt a senior pet you are closer to losing that pet than if you had adopted a puppy or kitten - it's a math thing. It takes a special couple to adopt an old dog or old cat - and Deb and Tommy are special. Vickie and I have talked about adopting senior dogs, but I always bail out because I put my pain ahead of the senior dog needing adoption. Of course the other element is that senior pets usually require more money to care for - and that is a reality that can make or break a decision.

I hope King Cat, or King George, or Georgie the Kitty Boy will be around for a long long time; but however much longer he has to work through his nine lives, I don't think he could have done better than to have been adopted into Tommy and Deb's family. Of course, Georgie still needs to work through his canine phobia.