According to Google, today is National Cat Day. I like cats. I didn't grow up with them but my husband did. When our kids were little they wanted cats but I managed to say no, nicely I hope, since I had some allergies I associated with cats. There is some question, in hindsight, about those allergies. They were real allergies but probably had nothing to do with cats.
We got our first cat after moving from our very suburban home in Katy, TX out to Simonton. We lived in Valley Lodge which is a subdivision along the Brazos River with much larger pieces of property. Our house sat on 7.5 acres. We had a couple of outbuildings including a barn. Right after we moved out to the country, I was sitting in my chair in the living room and looked down the length of the room and across the sun room and could see mice running back and forth. Mice in the house was not my idea of fun so we went looking for a cat.
We found a black and white cat at the pound who looked like she would rather come home with us than stay there. She was willing to be held but not very friendly. I was shocked to discover that the pound wanted us to sign a contract promising never to let this cat outside because it might get hurt or run away or eat a mouse. I was able to say with all sincerity that we would not let the cat outside. I don't think I made it clear that the mice we wanted her to eat were inside. But I digress.
Addy, short for Adidas, turned out to be agoraphobic so even with all the doors open she was not about to go outside. She was secretive and could hide in plain sight. I was horribly embarrassed when the vet came over to give her her shots and I couldn't find her. That never happens with dogs. I had a lot to learn about cats.
But Addie was a mouser. I think we were basically mouse free in a week. But we lived in a pole building that had been converted from a barn into a house so there were pathways into the house that the mice always seemed to find. Keeping the house mouse free was an ongoing project for Addie. Job security at it's finest.
Part of living out in the country is dealing with the horrible people who seem to think dumping puppies and kittens on your doorset is acceptable. Over the years we have acquired a dog and many cats this way. Addie was always the teacher. All our cats were taught to keep the house mouse free. I saw Addie once with a live mouse. She let it loose in the back bedroom and pushed our kitten to chase it. When the mouse managed to escape, Addie chased it down and brought it back so the kitten could practice chasing it. Over and over she let the kitten chase down a mouse. In the end Addie killed the mouse and let the kitten eat it. Not a great experience for the mouse but it made a mouser out of that kitten.
All of our cats have brought us presents over the years. Sometimes it's just the entrails, sometimes the head, sometimes the entire mouse, mole, rat or gopher. I may be anthropomorphising here, but I think the newest cats need to prove themselves to us by leaving these gifts by the back door. At some point they stop this and we don't see it again until we've added a new cat.
So thanks to all the cats. Thanks for keeping our house and barn mouse/rat free. Thanks to the bobcat pictured above who keeps ecological order in the neighborhood.