In a moment where I must have lost all sound reasoning and judgement, I thought it would be a good idea to introduce cats to our ever-expanding zoo. The Chef, since we got married, has continually reminisced about his beloved cats when he was growing up. These cats must have been descended somehow from Mother Teresa’s genetics, as he continually talked about their adorable traits, their cuddling abilities, their hunting prowess… ok, so that’s maybe not so saint-like, but you get the idea.
Last year our organic home-grown potatoes had been attacked by a veracious pack of voles, and I wasn’t happy about it. So my reasons for getting cats was far more protectionist focused… I wanted the meanest, most stealthy, ninja-like hunters of the feline jungle to protect my potatoes.
So when a friend’s un-spayed indoor cat, got outside, had a fabulous evening of downing catnip cocktails and an wild night of debauchery… and came home pregnant, there were some free kittens that needed to be unloaded shortly thereafter. I originally asked for kitten photos for someone else that was looking for kittens, but when I saw the cute fluffy things crawling up pant legs, that’s the exact point where I lost my mind. Somehow the conversation with the Chef, went like this:
Shepherd: “Honey, you want kittens? I think they’d be great for killing those damn voles that got my potatoes. Here’s the photos.. and their free. I know you love cats so…”
Chef: “Awww… look at that one! And that one! Awwww…”
Shepherd: “I was thinking two, and they could live in the barn when their old enough.”
Chef:”Awww… look at the that wittle one, and that wittle one… awww…”
Shepherd: “I guess it’s settled then. We’ll get two.”
The Chef assured me that female cats are far better vole killers then the males. So it was agreed that we would attend the residence where said kittens were, pick up two female kittens, raise them in the house until that could be safely released into our barn and become ferocious vole killers, saving our potato patch.
So this is what happened instead.
We had some naming issues, since we took our cats to the vet for their shots, and surprise surprise… we have a boy and a girl. Inspecting cat genitalia was not something that I had completed prior to our final selection. Which explained a lot as one was a vicious killer, “playing” with our unsuspecting ankles was we walked by with her claws… while the other, just lay about purring and demanding cuddles.
Now as an adult cat, Agent Mae, the female, leaves gifts of freshly killed voles and the odd bird on our front porch on a fairly regular basis. And those are the ones that she feels are worthy for reward and praise. I don’t know how many voles a day she’s getting, but it seems that vole bodies are everywhere. In comparison, Agent Ward’s most aggressive behaviour is usually at night, when he demands his cuddles in bed. He will swat away cell phones, and chew laptops, and will not stop until full attention is paid to him, and his belly rubbed. I swear he’s the Ron Burgundy of the cat world.
As for life in the barn or becoming a complete outdoor cat? Forget it. With the coyotes, owls and now cougar sightings in our neighbourhood, we don’t chance it. Agent Mae could probably take down a cougar single handedly, and leave the carcass on the front porch with the pile of voles, and wait patiently for her cat treats… but poor Ward wouldn’t stand a chance.
When I commented to the Chef about how useless, but lovely, our male cat was, the response was swift. “Well, he’s male. He’s useless.”. Since I actually like to eat, I bit my tongue. As for Operation Potato Patch, I am proud to say that our one female cat is getting the job done. I have yet to harvest a single potato with additional teeth marks.
And not to worry, we apparently also have Operation Cuddle down pat as well.