On the wisdom of cats

I’ve decided it’s Farm Critters Week here at Old Vines.

Little Edie, our barn kitty, has the life of Riley.  Other than my screaming at her for climbing the greenhouses, she’s got a fairly posh life for a working animal.  Tom built her the most sound little cat house in the tractor shed out of many bales of straw and a down-filled sleeping bag.  It even has a windproof flap.  We lock her up every night as we worry for her safety at night…that, and we expect her to kill all the mice in my adjacent potting shed.  She is not the most terribly thick-furred cat, but life outside seems not to bother her.

I work at home three days a week.  Mostly, I work on the back porch:  it’s close to the critters, and has a great view.  But it’s not insulated so I commute to the front porch to work during the winter (I did winterize this porch).  It didn’t take Edie long to figure out the front porch is a fun place to be, too.  In the morning she’ll come to the front door and ask to be let in.


Then she’ll nap most of the day away.  (The porch faces southwest so the light here is quite nice.)


And then, if she wants to go outside, she stands by the door and lets me know.


The indoor cats are not too happy with this treatment.  Echo simply wants to kill Edie, and Nixie is sad she’s denied the front porch daybed.  Ah well.  Unlike our worthless indoor cats, Edie works for her kibble, after all, so she’s due a bit of compensation.  She’s still finding a vole or a mouse every day or two.  (Good kitty.)

10 responses to “On the wisdom of cats

  1. I came back this morning looking forward to rereading your post about the turkeys and geese; it’s lovely. But today’s photo reminded me of the Ron Padgett poem, “The Hen”, on page 83 of the NYRB and how I thought of you and Laura when I read it.

  2. Great Photos! I just love cats! Cats, dogs, chickens, cows and even pigs.


  3. Nothing beats having a cozy kitty to look over at once in a while and keep you company while slaving away – very jealous. 😉

  4. You put that New York Review of Books in the basket to cover up the Cosmo?

  5. Yikes! It seems we’re on the same wavelength here, worrying about cats outside in this cold weather. We have 4 cats coming to our door now for food (one looks suspiciously a lot like Little Edie…), in addition to our 2 indoor guys who aren’t happy with this arrangement. Our cats never go out so I haven’t kept up with their vaccinations for years & I worry about what the outdoor cats might be carrying that could be transmitted if I let them in. But they seem pretty feral to me anyway & unlikely that they would even want to.

    I did do a bit of research to see if I could come up with something to provide some shelter for them, & I found this:
    http://www.indyferal.org/Literature/out_cat_shelter.pdf AND http://www.neighborhoodcats.org/info/wintershelter.htm
    Both sites say that you shouldn’t put blankets in for them because they will retain moisture & that it’s better to go with plain straw or mylar to better retain body heat.

    The real problem, of course, is that I’m just the kind of person that would have a house full of cats if I had my way & stacks of paper up to my ceiling. I already wear the muu-muus around the house. Just knowing that they’re out there in this cold tugs at my heart strings. My kids tell me to “get over it, mom.”

    I love the pic of Edie sprawled out over the day bed. She must have royal blood. That’s what I love about cats: their moxie. Edie seems a special one. Feed her a little more kibble today & tell her it’s from me. 😉

  6. Your cat pics are so cute! Working at home, seeing those sweet ones, sounds great to me

  7. Thanks, Marcie, I missed that one (haven’t really read that issue). It cracked me up! See what I wrote to Cookiecrumb below for another NYRB story.

    Linda, I love them all too. It’s like my childhood dream come true: all these critters running around 🙂

    Sarah, hah! It’s actually pretty distracting, having her around. Especially mid-morning when the coffee wears off and she’s lying on that daybed: Move over,cat, that looks like a good idea.

    CC, yeah. Actually I thought the photo was too small for folks to read what was in the basket: you’ve outed me. (No Cosmo though, but how about a copy of Organic Gardening?) I do have a funny story to tell you. Right after the election I was reading their wrap-up political issue and the cover had Obama and McCain on it. The kid, being astute, pointed to Obama and said “Hey, he’s the one who’s going to be on our money! And that’s the old one who lost,” said she.

    Laurene, I made this Little Edie post with you in mind 🙂 Straw really is a good insulator. I can understand that with blankets. This down sleeping bag is really cozy though; we’ll just monitor it for moisture. Poor chilly kitties: I don’t know what to tell you about them. Maybe get 8 straw bales like we did? And I am with you on the muu-muu, have no fear. But Edie will get some treats from you today, surely.

    Thanks Mangochild, and welcome to the blog. It is hard, sometimes, working at home with all these distractions. Somehow the piles of laundry don’t distract me the same way 😉

  8. love it….nice post!!

  9. Great posting, El. There is something special about cats, both loving and sometimes infuriating. But I’ve never doubted who is the master and who is the servant!

    A short story: nine years ago we moved from town a few miles out into the country. We had two cats: Baghi (after Bagheera) and Tiki. The latter was an old cat and a couple years after we moved we had to put him down. But several weeks before that happened, I went downstairs one morning to find the back door open; obviously one of us had failed to shut it tight.

    From the tracks outside the door, Tiki had gotten out (winter, snow on the ground). So I followed his trail. It ran almost two miles: around the edge of our yard, into the woods over to our neighbor’s property, down to the road, along the road and up into a nearby natural area, and then back to our house and in by the open door.

    I couldn’t believe this old, decrepit cat could make such a journey, but he did! And then a couple weeks later we had to put him down. But at least he had one grand and glorious Last Hurrah! I was really happy for him.

  10. WF! HI! Hope all is well with you and have a good Eid! Bon appetit!

    Dennis, what a sweet story. He was probably having a ball. I am surprised he was able to find his way back but obviously even indoor cats have quite a sense of direction, something I wish they could teach us. Putting down a pet is never easy. I’ve had to euthanize my first three pets relatively recently (within the last 5 years) and it is so hard, though merciful.

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