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This is the tale of Missey, The queen of the Oak Court Cats.  Missey is a “weegie” a Norwegian Forest Longhair, born in the summer of 98 in the backyard of a older house on the other side of town.  My daughter’s friend found her in the corner of the yard, called my daughter and we brought her home.  Seems she was about 7 weeks old and orphaned; her mother didn’t survive an encounter with a dog.

The first few days we tried to keep her sequestered in my daughter’s bedroom.  The vet advised us that we should let her get near the other cat for a few days.  At the time the resident feline was Mr. Worf, a rather large Manx, 5 years her senior.  For the first day she sat in the corner and meowed piteously, stopping only long enough to eat, drink and sleep.  Seems that Mr. Worf was concerned about Missey; he knew how to rattle the doorknob  while leaning on the door, opening it up.  I was reading the paper and noticed that the house grew quiet. I was surprised to see the room opened and Worf sitting on the bed, Missey sound asleep leaning against his side.  We didn’t have anything to

Roomates

worry about;  from that day on they were a team.

While Missey was an active kitty, she was by no means as graceful or athletic as Word or any of the neighborhood cats.  Jumping up on a chair was difficult and a leap to a table top? Nope, not going to happen; she just didn’t get the altitude required and would frequently miss.

To this day she will leap to a high spot only if she can stand up on her hind legs and check things out first.  Reminds me of a meerkat  the way she’ll stand up and carefully look around.

These days Missey likes to sleep, a lot.  Something like 19 hours a day.  If she were human, she’d be around 68 years old now so I guess she can sleep if she wants to. Her favorite spots are on my bed or on the sofa.  On cold mornings she’ll look for a sunny window sill or doorway.

Missey, Queen of the Oak Court Cats

She is the queen here, the senior member of the herd of cats and let’s the others know their place.  I’ve seen her swat the big cat (the maine coon) and stare down the neighbor’s dog and growl at the mailman when they disturbed her slumber.  She chased one of the cats through the house and into the ba

ck yard when they tried to push her out of the way at the water bowl.  She can get cranky when she needs to.

So tonight she is sleeping on my bed; I’ll have to put my pillow case into the wash tomorrow as she found it to be ‘just right’ for her bed tonight.  She’s sleeping soundly tonight, just a hint of a cat snore.  The other cats slowly drift into the room and take up their places on bureaus, chairs and on the bottom of the bed.  It’ll be hard f or me to stay awake much longer;  something about the sound of 4 cats snoring that makes me sleepy.

Nite.

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It’s starting to get warm so I decided to work in the yard today.  It’s been a long winter and the trees are starting to show buds, the daffodils are blooming and bees are starting to buzz around the yard.

So I went out to the shed and pulled some of the tools out.  In just a few minutes I had the rakes, tiller, shovel, tree pruning saw and a few other garden tools out and piled up on the walk. Now, this should have taken me under 2 minutes but I spent a good 15 minutes getting things together.  Seems that each tool removed had to be inspected by oneor more cats.  The big guy was interested in the rakes (did he think they would be better than the hair brush for grooming?)  The tabby was trying to figure out the tilling tool while the predator was staring intently at the shovels (could she use one to dig out the ground hogs?).

And so it went.

I started cleaning the vegetable plot.   I was puling the remains of the fall tomato crop  out when the big guy started to help.  He’d wait until I started to dig the roots out then he’d rush in and start pawing at the newly opened hole.  So I’d have to stop and wait until he was sure that nothing was going to crawl out of the hole and attack me.  I’d then move on to the next root and we’d repeat the process again.  10 plants took a half an hour to clean up.  Without his help I could have been done in 10 minutes.

During that process the predator was off investigating something in the neighbor’s yard.  As I was carrying the last load of roots to the green debris box, she ran up and started to talk, going on and on about something.  I’m not sure what she was saying, she sort of whines in long sentences of cat talk, stopping long enough for me to say a few words then she starts with another long sentence.  She can keep this exchange going for 3 or 4 minutes until she has said enough and walks away. I’d like to imagine she’s telling me about what she saw or maybe something she heard.

Cleaning up along the side of the garage was the high point of the day.  The grass and ground cover is thick, the dirt is always damp and the area is home to a few blue-belly lizards.  As I gingerly rake the leaves and peanut shells (that’s another story) out of the area I’d occasionally disturb some of the inhabitants who’d dash out, pursued by one of the herd.  The lizards would usually head out along the walk way for a few feet then dash over to the fence and safety.  The big cat chased after one but quickly gave up (ok, the maine coon is not knows for speed).  The tabby fared better but would pull up short of the fence and stare at the lizards as they slipped through the gaps in the wood fence.  Predator had apparently played this game before. As soon as the lizard started to dash towards the fence,  the cat would spring to the fence and meet the lizard on the other side.  I felt bad for the lizards and took the cat into the house.

As part of the cleanup I decided to put in  a few sun flower and sweet pea seeds on the sunny side of the house.  There is a flower bed that hasn’t been used for some time.  This wasn’t as easy as I thought.  Each time I would cut a trough for the seeds and dro a few in, the big guy would come behind me and dig them out.  I went through 3 packs of seeds before I got a few in the ground.  Did he think it was a game? Not sure.

After a few hours of this they tired, as did I and we put the tools away.  Of course, with cats helping, the shed was inspected first. Then each tool was put away, it too was inspected.  They inspected  the doors, the yard chairs, the trash bag, the recycle bin. They inspected everything.  I’ve brushed their coats now and fed them well, as a reward for their efforts.the big guy is snoring, laying across the desk.  Precious, the tokinese, is curled up on the bed and the tabby is stretched out on the sofa now.

I’d be heading to bed myself but the queen, who slept through all the excitement, is awake now and wants to go out for a walk in the night air.  Can’t refuse the queen’s request, can I?

Nite.

We’ve had a lot of rainy days lately on the court.  While the rest of the country is dealing with snow, we get rain.  The Cats on Oak Court are much like the humans here; they get cabin fever after a couple days of rain.

The day started ealy with the tabby walking around the house at 4:15 in the morning.  I know it was 4:15 because he woke me up by yelling.  Now, the tabby has learned to mimic a few human sounds over the years and will occasionally use one of those sounds when he wants something.  At 4:15 he is either lonely (the rest of the cats are sleeping soundly) or he is hungry and needs a human to wake up and put some fresh food into the bowl.  This morning he was lonely and wanted to go into my grand daughter’s bedroom so he started yelling “her…row”.

I’ve greeted cats with “hello” since I was a youngster; offering my ‘paw’ and saying “hello”. I think the tabby picked up the sound and  uses it with some weird anticipation of a human coming to him, much as it is when i say the work on coming into the room.

Any, I was woken up quite early with the tabby’s “her..row” repeated several times.  So, like any well trained animal, I got up and went out into the living room to see what he wanted. He has learned not to repeat himself once the human is in the room so he sat there on the coffee table and waited for me to offer my paw and give him a scratch between his ears.  Since I was awake I went into the kitchen and filled the crunchie munchie bowl as it was empty.  He has roused me because he was hungry. I didn’t hear from him at all after that.

He knows a few other sounds and uses them at appropriate times.   For example, he has an inquisitive sounding “mr..out” when he’s standing by the door.

Does he know what he’s doing? I’m not sure but I believe he understands that certain actions result in predictable responses. He’s learned, through repetition that that sound will bring a human or the other sound will get the door opened.

Well, the big guy is making a sound now and it is having a predictable response.  He’s snoring and I’m starting to yawm.

Nite.