Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Hunter and the Housemaid

Ella and Cypress Vine

Barbara Pleasant writes the long-running Gardening Know How column in Mother Earth News and the GrowVeg Blog. She submitted the following tales about her two garden cats.

"I have two cats, Leon and Ella. Named for my late father, Leon, is the head cat and my special boy. When we got new puppies a year ago, he broke my heart by going to live in the woods for three weeks. This trauma reminded me that relations with felines are set up on their terms, with humans and their abandonment issues small matters compared to a full food bowl."
"Theoretically, Leon earns his keep by catching mice, voles and other unwanted creatures, and he is a good enough predator for our rural place in Southwest Virginia. But he has a show-off attitude that compels him to share his kills, so he often stages the kills, gladiator style, in the downstairs bathtub. And, while I can't say for sure that the two baby king snakes we found slithering through the house this summer were Leon's doing, I have my suspicions.
"Ella is the ladies' maid who seldom ventures more than a few steps beyond the deck, preoccupied as she tends to be with matters inside the house. She monitors the water bowl, the doors and windows, and becomes a maniac complainer when things are out of order. Ella has us well trained now, but every time I think of this little OCD kitty in a foster home with six other kitties, I don't know how she did it. At the adoption event, how did this crochety cat who doesn't like to be picked up manage to charm us by purring in our arms? Can cats analyze a situation and change their behavior to get what they want?"
Leon and artichokes

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