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COUNTY AGENT GUY

By Staff | Jun 12, 2015

A couple of years ago my wife and I decided to get a cat. I think women like cats because they have many things in common such as being cool and aloof and having little use for men.

That is, until a light bulb needs changing.

Living in the country means dealing with mice. We’ve spent a small fortune on traps and poisons, but to little avail.

The plan was to recruit a barn cat to patrol our farmstead and murder vermin before it invades our home.

A cat would be our self-actuated biological rodent control system.

We drove to a nearby dairy farm to select a kitten. They had so many cats, you couldn’t swing a cat without … you know.

Grace, a little girl who lives on the dairy, recommended a white kitten named Sparkles. Sparkles was so relaxed, holding her was like grasping a furry bag of Jell-O.

We took the kitten home and things went as planned – up to a point.

My tenderhearted wife would see Sparkles sitting on our deck on cold winter evenings and say, “We should let the poor little kitty in.”

“But how can Sparkles catch outdoor mice if she’s indoors?” I protested.

We compromised by letting the kitty in during cold weather with the proviso that she would stay in the basement.

A routine soon developed. Sparkles will yowl at our door and my wife will let her in.

Once inside, the cat will meow at us vehemently as if to say, “Holy crap, you would never believe what happened to me.”

We thus began to call her Sparkles The Adventure Cat.

“She loves you,” my wife will say as Sparkles rubs against my legs.

“I’m just a source of food and warmth,” I’ll reply. “And I’m her loose fur remover. Look at my jeans. You’d think that I’m wearing wooly chaps.”

When the weather turns deeply cold I’ll build a fire in our basement woodstove. I’ll plop down on an old lawn chair to watch the flickering flames and Sparkles will invite herself up onto my lap.

Once settled, she’ll purr like a Mack truck, flexing her claws into my thighs. After she’s had enough she’ll hop off, leaving behind enough fur to construct an entire cat. This is why we buy lint rollers by the case.

But Sparkles has kept her end of the bargain, proving herself to be a expert mouse assassin. No sparrow is safe when Sparkles is near.

Sparkles must think that my wife and I are malnourished. The cat often leaves her victims near the steps where we’ll be sure to stumble across them.

She also feeds our dog. One day, Sparkles was sauntering coolly across our yard with a sparrow in her jaws.

Sandy, our golden retriever, galumphed up to the cat in his friendly, dopey, “Hi, whatcha doing?” manner.

Sparkles dropped the bird and backed up a few feet. Sandy, who has been known to consume things that would make a zombie vomit, gobbled the fresh squab.

A few weeks ago we were experiencing an evening thunderstorm when we heard yowling at the door. This was surprising.

Sparkles usually holes up in the barn during storms. She can be gone for days during inclement weather.

Yet there she was, soaked to the skin. The epitome of misery.

We let Sparkles in and quickly discovered why she’d been yowling: she was holding up her left front leg and was in obvious pain.

The cat was bundled into dry towels and fussed over and offered warm milk. It was enough to make me wish I had injured my front leg.

“I think her knee is hurt,” worried my wife.

“Wouldn’t that technically be her elbow?” I asked.

“Poor kitty. She must have gotten into it with that nasty old tomcat we’ve seen around.”

“Maybe she simply took a tumble,” I suggested. “Cats aren’t always as cool as they would have us believe.”

“I bet an eagle tried to carry Sparkles away, but she bit it in the leg and made it drop her. You better take her to the basement and make a bed for her.”

“Should I also run to the store and pick up some cat caviar?”

“Don’t be such an elbow. Poor kitty, she probably single-handedly fought off a grizzly bear.”

“Wouldn’t that technically be single-pawed?”

Happily, Sparkles, or “poor little kitty” as she is called nowadays, is on the mend.

I hope that she will soon resume her role of rubbing out rodents as my wife is telling everyone how Sparkles, heroic female that she is, fought off an entire pack of vicious tigers.

Single-pawed, of course.

Nelson is a freelance writer from Volga, S.D. Reach him by e-mail at jjpcnels@itctel.com.

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