Ranch Cats – Some Thoughts on the Newest

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It’s a little hard to tell in the picture, but this is a small cat – about the size of my two fists held together.

We have acquired a new cat. This is a bit unusual, as in my experience, cats acquire you. They simply show up one day and decide you belong to them. In the 38 years of our marriage, we have only acquired (as in deliberately brought home) five cats of the 30+ we’ve owned. The first was a half-bobcat orange tiger my husband brought home when we lived in Idaho. Rusty was a ferocious hunter; his favorite prey was snowshoe rabbits, which he would eat on the front porch, leaving the remains in just the right place for me to step on each morning as I went out to get wood for the fire. The next two were a pair of short-tailed Manx brothers named – with good reason – Captain Chaos and Rip and Tear. Shadow was another half-bobcat. Hubby brought home the semi-wild two-month old black cat, who hid under the bed for almost two weeks and then decided I was his human. Highly social, Shadow was an early bird. About 4:30 every morning he would leap onto the bed, stroll up my slumbering frame, stick his nose into my ear and say PURRR! In other words, “Get up, Mom, it’s morning.”
The latest curtain climber (literally) is another husband-acquired feline. Hubby happened to be in the local pharmacy when a woman was trying to convince one of the pharmacy techs to take the cat; the tech said no, but hubby caved. Bit of a softy, my husband. So we now have Radar, The BatCat (so named because he has a Radar O’Reilly habit of walking through the house with both big ears scanning back and forth), which brings us back up to our usual four cats. Cats are invaluable in rattlesnake country, as they help keep down the rodents that rattlesnakes like to eat. When you are feeding chickens and pigs and such, you nearly always have some spilled grain around and the mice quickly find it. Then the rattlesnakes find the mice, which can lead to hair-raising experiences like having a snake dart over your hand when you reach in the feed container. Luckily, in that case the snake was a young-un and more frightened than I was – he just wanted to get away.
Radar is one of the rowdiest cats I have ever run across. I haven’t found him actually hanging from the ceiling yet, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. Nothing is safe – dogs’ tails, bits of newspaper, tennis balls, shoestrings, bare toes, pants legs. The two male cats currently in residence have accepted him, but they’re a bit elderly in their late teens and have no burning desire to engage in games of tag or wrestling matches. When confronted by a small black demon who thundered across the floor and leaped on them with all four legs outspread like a ninja, they were Not Amused. Rosie, the older dog, sighs loudly and gets up and moves when Radar tries to entice her into a game of Pouncing-Walking-and-Jumping-On-The-Dog. Pip, less patient and more high strung, growls swear words in Canine.
Radar next started pestering CeeCee, the female, who is a few months shy of a year. Her initial reaction was outright hostility, followed by disdain and cold-shouldering. Radar is a persistent little beggar, however, and the two now spend considerable time engaged in tag, wrestling and tree-climbing, all to the accompaniment of growling, hissing and spitting that is as sincere as the same sort of thing in a professional wrestling match. I suspect CeeCee has met her match – she tore up a tree the other day with Radar in hot pursuit. Not only could she not get away from him, he climbed the tree right behind her and then climbed over the top of her when she didn’t move fast enough to suit him.
When he’s worn himself out, he collapses into the instant sleep stage of the very young, on my chest with his head against my chin or lying with his head on my left wrist (makes typing awkward). I know it won’t be long before he becomes a grown-up, so as one must do with young things, I’m enjoying every minute of his short childhood.

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3 Responses to Ranch Cats – Some Thoughts on the Newest

  1. Andrea says:

    I just came upon your site and am delighted by your story and see that I have found kindred spirits here! I was googling “why in tarnation do I have to hot water bath this strawberry jam?” when I saw your site. I know a few years ago the package did not call for it but just had you invert the jars for so many minutes. I don’t make much anymore since it’s just my husband and me. Anyway, I have cooked and baked for a lot of people and haven’t killed anybody yet!

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