September 7th, 2008
There are some things you just wouldn’t want to do without living in the country in Kansas.
A lot of rock on your driveway.
A good view of the sunset.
Neighbors with tractors.
Some way to get rid of trash and recycling.
Some friendly outdoor cats.
That last item is there because there are a few things you would really love to do without:
Other assorted rodents.
Now, although we were adopted by a stray cat not too long ago, he is really the skittish, wondering hobo type of cat. Sometimes he’s around, sometimes he’s not. We’d really like more of a 24/7 rodent patrol. Plus we can’t ever get close enough to Sneaky to play with him.
So on Labor Day, I brought home two cats from my parents place: Hudson and Nash. Both are yellow. Neither of them were really accustomed to a car carrier, and though the trip is less than 15 minutes, were quite scared by the end of it.
We normally pen up outside cats for the first few days so that they can identify with a new home, then let them roam free. So we decided to take them in to the grain elevator and let them roam in there for a little while. This is a big old wood structure about 80 years old. It has two stories, and a series of wooden grain bins built into the first floor.
We took the cats, in their carriers, into one of those bins, closed the door, and then let them out. Both were scared, but one of them calmed down quickly, and was soon happily playing with shoelaces, purring loudly, and generally wanting to be held.
The other made a run for it. He couldn’t get out the door, but, well, he managed to climb up the wall. Up and out of the grain bin, and another jump or two and he was in the second story of the building — no doubt finding a lovely cat-sized place to hide.
We eventually closed up the elevator as best we could, and left for the evening.
Tuesday morning, we saw only the smaller cat around. By the afternoon, Terah saw the older cat prowling around in the yard. That’s one thing about 80-year-old farm buildings: they can’t keep cats in or out. A cat will find a way in, or a way out, if it wants.
By now, they’re playing outside and love it. They still like to go inside, and Hudson — the older cat — will let me get within about 5 feet of him. Nash tries to not let me get more than 5 feet away, and has climbed most of the way up my jeans using his claws by now.
When we’re not outside, we can see them prowling about outside. Sometimes they’ll see something — maybe a cricket or a mouse — and they’ll crouch down, tail moving excitedly, ready to pounce. They don’t really play with each other, but they stay close by.
All of this is great, but it comes with a price: I no longer have an excuse to avoid cleaning the rat droppings out of the elevator, because they won’t just reappear within a month anymore.