John Emory Michael
Long ago and far away a flat line wind blew down the barn across the road from me. I didn't notice it for a couple of days. A few weeks later a small blizzard was raging and I was off to give the animals the evening 'feeding up'. Feeding up in heavy weather can be a daunting and dangerous task.
I've sailed the Atlantic and pulled down large jibs in crashing waves alone on a pulpit.... or bow sprit. This is obviously dangerous; feeding twenty sheep or a half dozen hungry horses in serious weather is much more subtle and equally dangerous, if not more so.
This being so, and I having met my share of 'crashes' for a few lifetimes, and on this particular evening I took a short cut for safety. I opted to throw a couple of bales of hay just over the fence across from my house, this going to about thirty or so pregnant ewes.
As I headed off to my barn to get the horses their ration an odd noise caught me... from the middle of the sheep in a foot of snow I could clearly hear the pusillanimous mewing of a kitten?? Very odd, I did not own a cat and did not particularly like them.
Now my short cut to safety was moot as I was drawn by some degree of decency to hop the fence and trudge about sifting through the hay and snow among two hundred pound animals posturing for a well earned meal.
By way of the meow I did soon find a small white kitten... very beaten up and trampled by the sheep. This was not my favorite thing as i knew I had to do the right thing and I knew I do not like cats.
That one night the cat spent in my house in a recycling bin. Small beaten up, white with blue eyes, the coloring I was soon to learn was the key, this is a given for a deaf cat. All white blue eyed cats are deaf. What the hell ya learn something every day. I fed it some ancient Alpo which I had from an old dog sitting job a couple of years earlier. The next day I bought cat food and took the cat to the old main barn and fed it there.
The prior year the mice had been so bad my phone lines were eaten in the walls of my house. I still have a wire coming in thru the window....maybe the cat could be useful. Often when scooping up sweet feed for the horses a mouse or two would jump out of the scoop as I pulled it out of the bag.
The funniest things with this first cat were two. First the cat once got in the way of a very wise and old Morgan horse whilst being fed. The morgan, galloping into his stall for dinner, put his head to the ground and picked up the cat with his teeth and threw him about ten feet across the stall into the wall. The cat always got out of the way after that.I don't know what was odder, the sight of the cat flying past me in the air...or the noise it was making in the process. I believe screech would do for description.
Second was a time I found a half dozen field mice in a feed bag. I dumped them out one by one for the now full grown kitten so she had one under each front paw and a third in her mouth.The thing was she couldn't figure out how to eat any of them without letting the others go.
This is essentially all of the art of economics expressed in one simple image. Unlimited wants in a world of limited supplies; eventually she opted for one of the ones under a paw....man I wish I had that on video.
I did not get the cat fixed. She is dead now about four years. in the process though I started a strain.... I'm on about the eighth generation of these guys, right now have about seven, have had as many as 13.....some get sick and die, some are eaten by my animal rights activist neighbor's dog sneaking on to the farm to chase my sheep and killing cats instead.
These pics are from early this spring. This was a very nice kitten....she just disappeared. I have about six white and one black with four white paws. None of them come in the house. I feed them on my porch to keep them focused on killing the mice near my house. When the mice come around I don't feed the cats for a few days....
I always think it's funny when people want to know the cat's name. who the hell would name a deaf cat and why.... maybe Jean Sartre..... who knows.
Copyright 2004 John Emory Michael. All Rights Reserved