“But the wildest of all the wild animals was the Cat. He walked by himself, and all places were alike to him.”
The Cat that Walked by Himself, from the Just So Stories of Rudyard Kipling
Last year our three girls were trying their best to persuade us to get a dog. The fact that none of them live with us and would only get to see the hypothetical dog once in a blue moon made it an uphill struggle for them – and you know what we think of hills. We did, however decide that we’d like to get a cat, as we’ve never had a dog but have always had a cat. Our last, Fudge, lived to the grand old age of 20 before she staggered off into the sunset one day, never to return. We assumed that she’d died quietly somewhere but I suppose it’s just possible that she’s still out there, snoozing in someone else’s garden.
Anyway, we finally caved last December and became the proud owners of two kittens, reasoning that they’d be company for each other, though they seem to spend as much time fighting as they do snuggling together. George has always been the dominant one and seemed determined to explore, whereas Dave is more timid.George likes to be up high…
…Dave takes his time to think things over
For a couple of months we kept them indoors, for various reasons. We wanted them to know us and the house, we needed them to be neutered and then we had to wait for the snow to melt. Eventually we knew that the time had come but one of us…not me…was very reluctant to cross the Rubicon and let our boys out into the wide world. What if they strayed too far and couldn’t find their way home? What if they fell into the river? What if they were attacked by an older, bigger, meaner cat? Or a badger, fox or otter?
To the amusement of the girls, we bought a pair of cat harnesses so that we could escort our two new charges out into the garden secure in the knowledge that they wouldn’t be able to run off. George, who’d been itching to get out into the great wide world and investigate, was fine..if not for the harness he’d have been off and running. Dave, however, was not keen at all and Mr B ended up carrying around a trembling bundle of ginger fur. In a way this was a good thing because Mr B was reassured that Dave, at least, would stay close to home if he was allowed off his leash. Eventually, under a combined assault from the four women in his life, Mr B was worn down and agreed that the time had come to let go…‘Bye!
Maybe it was the harness that had caused Dave to tremble. The first time he was permitted his freedom he tiptoed out fairly nervously but within twenty minutes he was having the time of his life, chasing butterflies across the lawn. Now, a week or so later, both cats are waiting for the door to be opened as soon as we come downstairs each morning.
Time to call the fire brigade?
They spend most of the day outside (even in the rain!) and beyond our garden wall. Goodness knows where they get to and what they get up to; let me just say that the baby rabbit survived but the two shrews did not. It’s hard work being a cat
So Mr B has accepted that the boys are independent creatures and will do whatever it is they want. Of course the real crisis will come when one or other of them decide to stay out all night…
“Alright,” said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone.”
Pencils! Bless him! Jemima loves rubber bands….
I do love dogs but really, I’m a cat lover through and through. I like their independence and quirkiness. Despite being constantly worried by their disappearing acts!
(note to self: I really must do a cat post. Maybe for Jackson’s birthday 😉 )
Love your boys – and completely understand the concerns around their safety. We also have a bold adventurous one (now almost a year) and a tiny timid one – although she’s gaining confidence by the day now. Jackson gives me much worry when he disappears off. Jemima is a homebody – UNLESS she’s still outside at twilight when she turns into devil cat and refuses to come in. My cunning has currently got the upper hand though since I feed them their main meal late evening so they’re hungry enough to come back. That said, they are terrific mousers and I wonder why I bother to feed them at all when they must be full to the brim with mouse.
I am amused by how easily I’ve managed the transition from worrying about cats in a suburban setting, to cats in a village setting and now to cats in a very rural setting. I conjure up a lengthy list of dangers every time!
Meanwhile, our current cats just get on with the business of… being cats!
Oh, they sound wonderful. Cats are so full of character, aren’t they? I don’t know why we waited so long before getting these two.
We’ve also started feeding them in the evening and hope that it works. We tried butter on the paws but I’m not convinced by that; I also planted catnip, which they’ve completely ruined by rolling over it.
One thing I forgot to mention in the blog was George’s love for pencils. If he finds one he carries it around in his mouth for a while and then drops it in front of us. We throw it for him and he shoots after it then returns so we can all play again!
Another fabulous look at life in your lovely part of the world and yet again, gorgeous pictures.
Thanks 😊 It’s especially nice at the moment, with blue skies and warm air
We have only 5 cats now (!!) – this is because we seem to live on the Main Line for Hungry Cats and all sorts of strays and ferals have turned up here over the years – for many years our status quo was 9 (all unchosen by us, I might add!) Cats manage very well outside – unless on a busy road. I would recommend a cat flap so they can come and go as they please, especially in winter – no-one wants to be stuck out in the snow!
Yours look lovely lads and have some great places to roam.
They are lovely, and very entertaining. I particularly like the way they ‘talk’ to us when they retirn from their adventures, or when they see us first thing in the morning!