Charlie arrived under somewhat comical circumstances. “A cat that looks like Garfield” was the first item on my then 6 year old daughters’ Christmas list. Although Santa Dad initiated a ‘No Pets for Gifts’ policy, sure enough, someone gave her a damned cat. A neighbor discovered a marmalade kitten in her barn and Charlie arrived on our doorstep on Christmas morning. With a red bow tied around his neck, no less. He was received with transports of joy and welcomed into a little girls’ loving arms and heart. Displaying an amazing tranquility, he accepted her doting care, affectionate kisses and frequent changes of dolly dresses.
As a rescued kitten, Charlie joined Angus, a rescued black lab and the two of them moved into our lives and stole our hearts. Charlie soon proved his worth beyond his companionship. Our field suffered a plague of voles; small mole-like creatures that ate everything from the roots up, left mounds of soil and ankle wrenching holes. Our spring that year opened with frequent gifts of tiny carcasses, laid at the doorstep. Little tokens of Charlie’s appreciation. Often, he would lie with his little gift and pat at it gently, as if to make certain we noticed his contribution to the family. We all learned that stepping barefoot onto the porch could be somewhat risky,but his prowess as a vole hunter was greatly appreciated.
He frequents the garden with me and patrols the perimeter with careful concern. Insects are put on notice. The greenhouse is thoroughly sniffed. He inspects anything that flutters, such as the twine holding up the tomato plants. Special attention is shown to the birdhouses, but so far all of those birds have been of the law abiding sort and have not merited his personal interference. He completes this daily ritual with careful concern.
After discharging his patrol duties, he attends to the monitoring of the catnip. Rolling in the catnip bed, he transmogrifies from a serious and sedate patrol cat to a drunken hippie kat. He begins to wander aimlessly, taking ineffectual swats at insects and missing wildly. He rolls sinuously in the dust, back and forth, back and forth. In his altered state of mind, he sees himself as if on safari. Lying on his back, he peers up thru his front paws at the hummingbirds that buzz and hum around the plants to feed. With a sudden lurch, he hurls his body into air, flinging himself upward, claws extended, certain his prey is within his grasp. The hummingbird, actually, is a foot to the right and several inches higher than Charlies’ leap. With a crashing fall that crushes the hapless perennial, the cat is momentarily stoned. Wait, I mean stunned., yeah he is momentarily stunned. Arising with that careful dignity of the impaired, he strolls to another bank of perennial flowers and collapses. Awaiting the next great hunt, the first mishap already forgotten…
Has your life been enriched by sharing your time with a garden cat?
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