New year has been filled with extras

Tempus is fugiting again. (Remember, on the old grandfather clocks, it used to say “Tempus Fugit”, or “time flies.”) Here we are, halfway into January already. I’m pretty sure I’m having fun, and I hope you are as well.

As you will remember, dear readers, I like to keep a contingent of barn cats around to preemptively control the mice around here before they get into the house. The system had worked fairly well up until this year, with our population being somewhat self-regulating. Unfortunately, due to several unforeseen mishaps, my barn cat platoon had been reduced to three toms and one aging mama cat. Callie the matriarch had developed what seemed on the surface to be an endearing habit. Whenever we pulled into the driveway, she would somehow always be nearby, and would run towards my vehicle, dart in front of it, and somehow miraculously appear on the front step before we got out of the car.

Shortly before Christmas, she once again darted towards the car. “You’re going to get yourself run over one of these days,” I muttered. Unfortunately, that was the day. I heard a thud, and my heart sank. Callie was no more. We buried her with honors later that night. We got through the holidays, missing her every day. I started looking for her replacement. I knew we didn’t want a kitten, since we still have a few months of winter to get through. I hoped we could find one that knew what a road and cars were, and was smart enough to avoid them. And, since I’m rather partial to black cats, I knew I wanted a black cat. Lastly, I wanted to be absolutely sure that the new addition wouldn’t be related to any nearby cats—inbreeding is a thing, and it’s not pretty. I took to social media, and soon found the perfect candidate.

She fit the bill perfectly: six months old, black, and came from Buhler. I quickly set up a time to go pick her up. I also couldn’t resist the picture of a lovely dilute calico from Emporia, so I asked about her availability. No response, so I loaded Darling Daughter in the car and we took off for Buhler.

The kid was very nice, but he told us that he hadn’t been able to find the black one that day, was there another one we were interested in? Caitlin quickly latched onto a lovely grey tabby with green eyes, and we loaded her into the carrier. The kid told us he’d call if he managed to find the black one, but, knowing how barn cats disappear sometimes, I didn’t hold my breath. I also got a message that the dilute calico was available, so I thought that was that.

If the events of that afternoon are any indication of how this year will go, I’m definitely going to be blessed. Not only did Avocado (the grey tabby that Caitlin named) NOT spend the entire ride howling, we got a message that the kid had found and caught the black one, and we were welcome to come back to get her too. Well, what else could I do? We turned around and burned rubber towards Buhler.

Eartha Kitty (named after the first Catwoman) was also almost silent during the ride home. Unlike Avocado, however, we were pretty sure Eartha was plotting our demise. She had not been happy about being caught in the first place, and the transfer between carriers seemed like a small clawed shadow had just streaked into our crate. We almost stopped to make sure she was in there, but we were afraid she might begin her revenge before we got home.

Both cats retreated towards the safety of the garage; Avocado in a relatively slow saunter, still taking stock of her surroundings, and Eartha, like all of the hounds of Hades were snapping at her tail. I made absolutely sure the house doors were locked and windows closed. No telling what plans Eartha had made to get revenge.

I headed off alone to pick up the calico the next day. I met the lady in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Other than the previous owner being about an hour late (good thing I took my knitting), the transfer went well, with a very calm cat who was even bigger than I expected. Only one slight problem troubled me on the way home. This cat’s name was Callie. I just couldn’t bring myself to use the same name as our faithful old matriarch. Millie seemed like a good name. Millicent. And, looking at her sweet, round face, I was reminded of Mrs. Patmore from Downton Abbey. Millicent Patmore it was.

Mrs. Patmore also made a beeline for the garage. The three of them avoided all human contact for days, only emerging to glower suspiciously at me when I brought them food and water. Thankfully, as of this writing, they’ve warmed up to us, even Eartha. She actually managed to walk towards me today in the open. I did not see any weapons hidden in her fur, and I’m assuming she’s going to let me live.

So we begin this year with a few new family members. May your year be filled with unexpected pleasant extras!

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