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Copyright by Pegg Thomas 2009-2015

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Nov 22, 2012


Fall arrived with colorful leaves, crispy apples – and mice. On the farm, battling mice without a good barn cat is like trying to lose weight on an ice cream diet. I almost got used to seeing the little rodents zip across the beams and dart around corners. At least I stopped jumping each time I saw one. Then one morning I reached into a feed bin and a mouse ran up my arm. After executing a dance never seen before or since, I got in the truck and headed to town.

Still rubbing my mouse scaled arm, I told the nice lady at the animal shelter I wanted to adopt their most ornery cat. She looked at me like I was nuts. (I get that a lot.)

At their floor-to-ceiling cat cage and she pointed out a Siamese wedged in one corner with her ears pinned to her head. “That one has bitten everyone who works here.”

“I’ll take her.” (I got that look again.)

I learned long ago that ornery cats do better in a barn setting than timid or lackadaisical cats. They aren’t afraid to stand up to the occasional raccoon or opossum, not to mention the farm dogs and an equally ornery ram or two.

“Will you get her out of the pen?” the nice lady asked me, casting a wary eye between the growling cat and me. I’m not sure who she was more worried about.

I grabbed a pair of leather gloves from the truck and gathered up the hissing cat. The ride home was punctuated by a variety of pointedly unhappy feline sounds. It occurred to me that I might have bitten off more than I could chew. I’ve tamed a lot of critters, but this snarling Siamese spitfire might prove my undoing.

Miss Kitty fit in our barn like a turtle in its shell. She pressed herself up under the eaves and poked her nose out just far enough to hiss at me. Earning her trust would not happen overnight. Even though I was the person who freed her from the cage, she didn’t look at me as her savior. If she could have spit in my eye, I’ve no doubt she would have. Fortune was on my side since cats can’t actually spit.

At chores both morning and night, I climbed the side of the barn – it was a single-story structure – and talk to her up there under the eaves. At first I’d just talk until she stopped making threatening noises. Gradually she allowed me to stroke her face, then her neck, and then her back. Each new inch was a victory in trust. It took weeks before I could pull her out from her hiding place and hold her. Finally the breakthrough day came when I heard her purr.

Trust came hard for Miss Kitty. Life had knocked her around a few times. Once she learned it, however, she never looked back. For years she greeted me at chore time with a head-bump against my leg. Safe, happy, and full of mice, she became a valuable partner on the farm. Never again did a mouse run up my arm – not in Miss Kitty’s barn.

4 comments:

Terrie Thorpe said...

Wonderful Pegg! Peace and Blessings!

by Pegg Thomas said...

Thanks! Same to you. :)

Anonymous said...

Fabulous story, Pegg! So thankful that our Saviour does this for us, too! I may not be much of a mouser but I am still thankful for His patient wooing! Michelle G

by Pegg Thomas said...

I'm sure you'd be a good mouser if you'd apply yourself, Michelle. ;)