The Year of the Cat
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Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

Our home features a picture of our cats, on every wall. Cats have a good life at the Nelson household while they in turn contribute to the enjoyment of living here. This week I want to talk about our cats, some invited and some who dropped in without first calling.

A few years back I told Lisa that I really didn’t want house cats. Lisa said we would only let them in occasionally and they’d spend most of their lives outdoors. This seemed reasonable and a deal was made for two tom cats that were ready to leave the nest. Lisa got home and had them on the deck when I came home. Two little monkeys in cat costumes cavorted across the front of our house in the summer sun. They were irresistible. I think most people can’t help but love young things but there exists no defense for me when they’re furry and four-legged. The first kitten had the marking of a Holstein cow only in gray and white instead of black. His reactions were quick and unpredictable and so he was named “Twitch.” The second cat was solid black with a small white line on his chest. I would later come to realize he was a more static or “ornamental” cat who made up for his brother’s high level of activity. My wife named this very relaxed cat “Magoo.” Since that first spring, Twitch and Magoo have developed a pattern of sleep, play and eat from which they rarely stray. They have endeared themselves to us as evidenced by the multitude of nicknames they’ve acquired which include Goober and Twitchell to mention a few.

If we had kids they’d bring friends home on occasion. Our cats have made friends with an entire neighborhood that believe our farm in the feline epicenter of the universe. I usually keep a twenty pound bag of cat food out in a bale shed on the chance we get company. Some chance, we see a spare cat almost everyday. Two are black and white so we’ve named them Lane and Original Lane. Then we have the “orange series” of cats that include about three different models. New for 2006 is a solid light gray cat that I haven’t seen up close yet. Fact is, I’ve only been close enough to pet one of these little visitors but we’ve been able to fill each and every little belly. Lisa reminds me that we wouldn’t have strays if I didn’t prepare such a nice table for them but I’d rather see them full than not see them at all. I can’t believe cat owners let these little guys stray. Lisa and I usually ask “where are the cats?” as a regularly greeting-even before saying hello. I’m not sure that Magoo even knows how to walk as we usually carry him from place to place. Our cats hold a great deal of importance in the family.

Cat lovers will nod in agreement while others may not see the attraction. That’s okay; cats don’t see the attraction to someone who doesn’t love cats.