Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Best behaved house guest ever

Anyone who has pet knows they have very distinct personalities. I have a new house guest who is full of surprising personality

For eleven years he has been the barn cat. Casper was born to my brother’s family. He has lived outside year round, fulfilling the duties of the barn cat. That involves Field Mouse Patrol, Garden Mole Missions, and Basement Window Well Security. He faces dangerous raccoons, fox and we even have coyotes now.

In March my daughter came running in from the snow crying, saying Casper was hurt. I rushed out to find him. The fur had been pulled off around his knee but I didn’t see puncture wounds, and the paw on that leg was scraped up as well. Naked flesh was visible and there was some blood.

Casper was not my cat. His duties involved property I don’t own. Leaving him outside and seeing if he survived was the solution his owner was going to use.

RIGHT! He’s eleven years old and wounded. In the wild that equals LUNCH to hungry predators. It was end of winter but still bitterly cold as well.

I took the only option available. I opened the back door. He limped in on his own. We regarded each other and then I went out and bought cat food. We had come to an agreement. He is welcome to be my guest any time.

Casper slept for eighteen hours that first day. I suspect he’d not been able to sleep much outside, having to be on guard. Since then I’ve been graced with a prince of a house guest.

Casper goes outside to do his business and patrol the property. He brings gifts to the back door when he can. Dead mice. He is very courteous about asking to visit with me. He will bat the door with his paw, no claws. He only needed one lesson in the house rules. By that I mean he is told a thing once and it never happens again. No kitchen counters, no table strolling. He hasn’t done any of those again.

The most amazing thing about this outside cat is how affectionate he is. I enjoy our interaction so much. He is calm, stately as only a cat can be, but still plays with shoe laces.

Casper has little problem with the two dogs who live here. He considers Pebbles a rude teenager and is treated with stern tolerance. Coco is nine years old and blind, so not much trouble for an intelligent cat.

Of course he is not my cat. He is a gracious house guest and I’m blessed with his company most days.


Georgia Woods said...

It is always amazing to me what tidbits of joy our animals bring into our lives, and what a wide variety of personalities they have. Each has their annoyances, some, like hairballs or shedding, aren't intentional and are therefore more tolerable. While others, like garbage-snatching and flipflop chewing, are more premeditated and therefore less acceptable. But those same creatures with the unacceptable habits can also bring us such joy.

My dog, Lucky Dog, is a Golden Retriever, and is now 14 years old. His face is turning white, he doesn't see or hear as well as he used to, and he has arthritis and falls down a lot, which is pretty scary for his mom. He's had his annoyances over the years, but now, looking back on all the years of love and joy he's brought to my life, that crater in the backyard, granted intelligently dug on the as-yet-unlandscaped side of the house, seems like such a small thing. It's all a matter of perspective.


Filmseye said...

He sounds so adorable. What breed is he? I wouldn't be surprised if he was a red tabby. They make the best pets. They are very smart and very lovable.

Gail said...

Casper is proud to tell you his breed is "rural Ohio". Often confused with Royal Highness, but only because he can't help being regal.

He is currently beside me, his chin on the pillow, watching me type. He's willing to support the typing as long it stops when he feels he needs attention.

byrdloves2read said...

Oh Casper sound delightful. Sounds like he's found the ideal retirement "community" except perhaps for Pebbles. But any cat worth his salt can handle a puggle teenager. Phhht. No problem. LOL