Let me tell you the story of our family, and our cats.
First there was the orange kitten that Josh picked out from our neighbor. They had rescued a pregnant stray cat - and now had a litter to give away. Josh named his new kitten GINGER. He was very love able. He liked to step up onto your lap - put a foot onto your chest and stand up and look into your eyes. Never have seen another cat do this the way he did. Unfortunately when we were dog-sitting for a friend - their dog chased Ginger up a tree and well - Ginger didn't come back to stay after that. A couple years later, our neighbor Bob asked Josh to come and feed his cat while they were away. Josh went over and came back and told me to come with him - he said he thought Bob had our GINGER. I went over - and while Josh was getting his food and water - here came this HUGE ginger tomcat - and he came to my lap - put his foot on my chest and looked me right in the eyes. When Josh told Bob that he thought Ginger was our old cat - Bob said he had been taking care of him for years. We left it at that - convinced he was originally ours, and glad Bob was taking good care of him.
Our next cat was Ashley's and I think we called her Pudder. I remember Alvin calling him BOOTS. (Alvin who is the king of nicknames - has many names for each animal) but this cat was black with white "boots" or paws. We actually got Pudder from the pet store in the mall in Steinbach. The deal was "free kitten" with each purchase of litter! They knew how to get rid of some farm cats! So, we brought one home. Originally Pudder was an indoor cat. I will never forget the Christmas that my brother and sister-in-law came out with their new little dog Dexter - just slightly over a pound. Well - the cat came out - Dexter went after her. She swiped Dexter and sent him yelping with blood drawn on his little face. Meanwhile she came out into the kitchen and was "growling" and had puffed up twice her size. It was so scary! Shortly after Pudder became an outdoor cat too.
Our next cat - was Vanilla. Or "Banilla" as my little nephew Nicholas used to call her. She was the cat that we called "the engagement cat" as Josh gave her to Leah the same night he proposed. Unfortunately, she could not go home with Leah since her mom had an allergy (or perhaps Josh just wanted to keep her here). Vanilla became quite the mother over the next few years - pumping out one litter after another. Yes, we were not responsible pet owners I know. However - what is the purpose of a farm cat? (no excuse, sorry). Eventually Leah did make an appointment, took her in to get spayed. After that she seemed to really grow big. She also became quite cantankerous, and often bit/scratched if you tried petting her. But - she definitely earned her keep as she was the best mouser I have ever seen!
Just before Vanilla got "fixed" she had a litter of kittens. Josh and Leah fell in love with one of her kittens - a nice little grey mix one - and named her Mimi and took her home to live with them. Mimi was a very sweet little kitten. She was friendly. Loved to be held, carried and became a very good indoor kitten for them in their loft.
However, Mimi had a very unfortunate accident when the neighbor boy accidentally hit her...
After nursing Mimi back to health - they are pretty sure she met her match with a coyote, and lost. All Josh knows is that he saw the coyote in his back yard, and never saw the kitten again. That was very sad. But then came Louis... a cat like no other we have ever seen. Yes, unfortunately for Leah, and later for Ashley, and Alvin (all who had some nice articles of clothing eaten) ... when Josh and Leah took the cat from previous owners - they didn't tell them that Louis had an addiction. He loved laundry. Not just nestling in it - or smelling clean laundry. No - he actually ATE clothing. Sometimes he just ate strategically placed holes out of women's tops... he also ate one of Alvin's new shirts (ate it completely except for the tag!) Honestly, I have never seen another animal like him (except for the story my sister in law told me about her friends dog who ate their little girls ballet tutu and had to have it surgically removed!). Louis had no surgery. But he was brought out to the farm. OUR farm. And became an outside farm cat, alongside of Vanilla.
There were some good fights at first, as Louis (the tom) established control... but not without a fight. Alvin said there was white and black tufts of fur everywhere over those first few days. But they figured it out, and became friends. Vanilla was the mouser. Louis... I called him KING LOUIS as he usually laid on the deck like he was King, and honestly, I don't know if he moused or not. I actually think he was the lazy one of the two! While Vanilla hated being held and petted... Louis loved it.
They also got along really well with Oreo, which was such a bonus. When we went on walks - it was like "the incredible journey" with the dog and the two cats following us - meowing as they came along.
Well - Vanilla went missing in action about a week before Christmas. We are not sure what happened to her. We miss her a lot. And Louis, met his fate the first week of January. I am still actually quite sad about that. The thing is... "when the cat's away... the mice will play" and well - that is the thought behind this blog. Because they are definitely playing!
The cats (or at least Vanilla for sure) kept the mouse population AND the squirrel and chipmunk population down to a Minimum! It was kind of weird and gross, but almost every day in summer, I would come home to find chipmunk or squirrel "heads and tails" at the back door - like a trophy.. lying there to greet me. Sometimes numerous heads and tails were deposited there. We have not had to catch a mouse in our house for years!! And THAT suited me real well. Because even though I call myself "the country mouse" - I actually hate mice in my house!!
Well yesterday Alvin noticed little mouse tracks in the snow on the front deck . Not good.
Then last night - at about 10 pm I decided to go and put wood in the boiler. I walked to the back door. It was dark, and I heard the dog munching his dog food. But then again... no... he was fast asleep. Okay. Something was munching in the old half eaten bag of cat food at the back door. Something that also had a little squEAK to it. It was a pretty tall bag - and I could hear it trying to climb out...
A quick call to Alvin - basically for moral support and encouragement since he was at work - and he told me to knock the bag (the mouse would fall to the bottom) and then double it up and take it out. Simple. (ya, right) I could be brave. I knocked the bag. Quickly doubled it up. Put it in a garbage bag, tied it and carried it out to the boiler. I know, I know... not humane. Alvin actually was shocked that I threw the cat food in the boiler. (And what was I supposed to do with this thing?)
So ... here is the dilemma. I have sticky traps all over the house. Not that I think there are any more - but 1) we don't have any cats around outside 2) we saw tracks in the snow and 3) if one got in - there may be more. (have I told you how much I hate mice?)
Josh and Leah have a new cat ~ Georgia (got her in October of 08)
Ashley and Michael have two new kittens ~ Chips and Chandler (got them in Dec 09)
Alvin has a birthday on Saturday... hmmm... wonder what he would like as a gift - personally, I am thinking perhaps he wants a new cat. Maybe a nice ginger colored one - kitten? adult? not sure... whether it is a kitten, or a mature cat doesn't really matter as long as it loves mice as much as I hate them!
Time will tell!