Saturday, January 19, 2008
A tribute to Flower -- the Old Lady Cat
As I was browsing Artcyclopedia today, I came upon this painting that was bought on Ebay by one of the contributors of the online gallery. As I looked at the enlarged picture by artist, Bernard Safran, it reminded me so much of the barn cats we have here at the ranch --gray-brown stripes, very dull-looking and yet the personalities are unique and varied -- sometimes wild and sometimes friendly, but all of them mostly ordinary and similar in looks since they're all related by birth of the same gene pool. Occasionally there is a stray tomcat that mosies in and makes friends with our pussycats and we come up with a yellow or white fleck in the coats of their kits, but not too often.
Lately one of our old cat ladies has come back home. I thought her dead a few years ago, but no, Flower has come back for the winter and begs me to let her into the chicken coop when I go feed the hens from my scrap bucket. This little ritual has not become a good practice since I've noticed broken eggs and punctured eggs since Flower's return and since I've been so obliging to her requests. I have half a notion to "do her in" but I just can't. She has earned her keep here -- even if it means a few eggs when I'm careless and forget she's still in the coop when I shut the door.
"G." named her Flower when she was just a little girl and she is now a grown woman of 21 years so the cat has been around a long, long time. We have so many memories (not so many of them fond) of Flower. She was an adorable kitty, of course, since all kitties are adorable. She became a Mother Cat as she matured, laying many a kit in the straw -- sometimes two batches a year -- but she did not like to raise her babies much past a few weeks, and it was then that she'd take off and leave her poor kits mewing hopelessly for their mother. Since my children loved visiting daily the new batches of kitties in the barn, they would always find Flower's abandoned children and have to put them in the nests of other Mother Cats who would raise them as their own. This is not the kind of cat one would really want around, but Flower has stayed, deflecting many an unkind word about her mothering abilities and dodging many a rock and stick from an angry child or adult. She chose, later on, to travel the country prairies and hayfields and has returned once again to us, an Old Lady Cat. Today this picture is devoted to our kitten-abandoning, egg-sucking, prairie-roaming, friendly Old Lady Cat -- Flower.