From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Monday, January 16, 2006

A Dog Man Gets a Cat

A mouser of merit


I never liked cats much. Then Mother moved into my barn.
By Jon Katz, Slate columnist
Posted Monday, Jan. 16, 2006, at 10:16 AM ET

Before Mother, I was never much drawn to cats. They seemed slithery and remote. I have a farm, and cats didn't appear to be useful.

I am partial to working dogs—especially border collies and Labradors—that can herd sheep, fetch sticks, hike with me, cuddle on the sofa, and swim in nearby streams. I didn't really get having an animal you couldn't herd sheep or take a walk with.

Then the rats came...

Read the rest of this story here.


Mother, the barncat, reminds me of our cat Skittles, who is quite a hunter. One morning, I came home from taking Isaac to school and found a long pink tail lying on the front step and a rat head not far away. The body was missing, and I guess she ate it, because the next day, she hacked out a giant hairball. Judging from the size of the tail and head, the rat wasn't much smaller than her. We think she caught it in or around Clarence's barns.

One day, I was moving stuff around in my little garden shed when a mouse ran out of somewhere and startled me horribly. Isaac got Skittles, and we put her in the shed. She had the mouse within a moment, and to this day, she remembers that she caught a mouse there. Whenever the door is open, she goes in and checks to see if she can find another.

Our old tom, Happy, is worthless as far as being a mouser. Well, actually, he's worthless in most respects, but we like him anyhow.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.