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By Staff | Feb 27, 2009

I believe I can speak for most farmers when I say that we have three basic rules about livestock. The first rule is to take good care of the livestock by providing them with shelter, food and medical needs. The second rule is no livestock in the house. Last of all, dogs and cats are livestock.

I have always enjoyed pets and I have always been happy with them staying outside all year round. Whether it is my old age or the very cold weather or possibly a combination of the two, but my hardening of the attitudes is not what it used to be. I have gotten soft about a certain dog and a particular cat that seem to have taken over by coming inside on a regular basis.

It was the dog who got in first. The cat, which was content to come in for a few minutes at a time until just days ago, has discovered it is very comfortable inside all the time and his visits are getting longer.

This is the same cat I wrote about last year that is an above-average cat. He arrived here as a kitten and I have watched him grow to become part of the eight to 10 cats who hang around here sunning themselves while waiting to be fed. He does not jump on the table or counter and is content staying on the floor where he belongs. As long as he behaves like a guest, he will be welcome inside.

He is still an above-average cat, first in his appearance. His black fur with four white feet and white whiskers is set off by the white bib on his chest. It starts at his chin, widens to a bib across his chest and then narrows to a white line extending to his hind legs.

With his dapper appearance, as if he is wearing a tuxedo, he should be in New York City walking down Broadway on opening night. Lying on his side, he resembles an Oreo cookie, although a large, hairy one.

Last winter he was using a watering bowl to relieve himself from a case of diarrhea he was suffering from that I was not aware of until I saw him with his rear end hovering over the watering bowl. I concluded by saying all he was lacking was a roll of toilet paper and a magazine. After all, he is an above-average cat.

He has a favorite spot where he rests when inside our house. He will place himself over the heat register on the floor when he first comes inside. It is a great place because in the winter, when he comes in from the cold, here is a source of warm air and because of the cycles of the furnace, it stays warm there.

However, in the summer, when he comes inside from the heat, this same spot is a source of cool air from the air conditioner. If I was this cat I would be thinking I have found the greatest place in the world. Think of it, a few square inches where you can get warm when it is cold and cool when it is hot. How great is that?

It does not hurt that I have placed his water bowl and some dry cat food in the same location. Just how above-average is this cat? Last winter when he was using a water bowl for his toilet, it was the dog’s bowl. I believe he has issues with the dog.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net

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