Grit Blogs > Waking up in Kansas

Cats on Farms a Mixed Bag

By K.C. Compton

Tags: cats, Ace,

KC ComptonSometimes, I just want to get some sleep.

I do not want for my dog to decide that he now needs to bark at thunder, on the night the television weatherman tells us is going to be the stormiest so far in a very stormy month. I appreciate that the dog is protecting me from the thunder gods, but really. ... 

I also do not necessarily want to have just drifted off to a deep, much-needed REM sleep only to be awakened by the cat loudly yowling in the kitchen. When I stumble into the kitchen and see him on the countertop, where he rarely goes because he knows it means instant clobberment, I do not want to look up on the top of the cabinets where he’s trying to climb and spy a little sparrow the cat has brought in through the kitty door. As much as I know it is his nature, I particularly do not want the cat to keep sharing the kill with me.

Ace being photogenic.

And as I’m tromping around the kitchen in my jammies with a broom in one hand and a lightweight jacket in the other (the idea being to softly throw the jacket over aforementioned sparrow so I could net her and toss her out the door I have left open for her escape), I completely and utterly DO NOT WANT to notice that the spider I have just tried to sweep back out the patio door has a very large egg sac on her back. And really, truly, at 2 a.m., I do not wish to have to get the dustpan and gently scoop the spider up and out the door so as not to spill thousands of baby spiders in my home because I know I would never be able to sleep in this house again. 

And I really don’t want to have to give up on being able to get the bird out the door and just turn off the lights, leave the door open, scoop the cat up and go to the bedroom in the hope that the bird will find her way to freedom.

I don’t want to lie in bed with the dog growling sotto voce at the thunder now because he knows I’ll smack him if he barks and the cat batting at the bedroom door yowling every five seconds because I do not understand that he has work to do. 

And I don’t want to go back out into the kitchen to check on the bird only to discover that it is perched on top of the light fixture in my kitchen and has demonstrated right there in the kitchen the reality that birds have no control over their intestinal sphincter muscles. 

And when I finally get the little bird flying in the direction of the back door, I deeply, profoundly do not want the cat to jump four feet in the air and bring her down in one graceful leap. I appreciate the athleticism, but really.... 

And I don’t want to spend another 20 minutes chasing the cat from under the futon to under my bed into the laundry room to the bathroom behind the toilet all the time with the bird in his mouth, growling and hissing like he has transmogrified into a minor demon from The Exorcist. 

I don’t want to finally get the now-dead bird away from the cat, the cat settled down, the dog finally sleeping only to have the clock radio go off with tales of marching in the streets of Tehran. I am completely in solidarity with the Iranian people in their quest for democracy, but really. ...

Sometimes, I just want to get some sleep. 

k.c. compton
7/7/2010 2:21:20 PM

Thanks, La Reina. I'm happy to say Ace seems now to have confined himself to bunnies and mice, and only a couple of times a week. (Although last night he managed both, but at least he ate them--and then had the nerve to come in and ask for kibble, too). I put a couple of bells on him and they've stayed on for several months now (on a breakaway "cat collar," so he doesn't strangle himself going over the fence). So far, no more birds, and I've gotten quite accustomed to the music of him bouncing through the yard or the house with his little bells jingling. --KC

7/7/2010 1:30:17 PM

OkieNut-"Cats left outside at night are hunters, not because they need to eat but because they are born to hunt. They are predators that do NOT belong in the wild." Forgive me, but you will have to explain this comment to me. To my understanding predators, to a degree, should be and remain in the wild according to most. A lion is a predator and a big cat. Does that mean it should be taken out of the wild...? As for the comment about the cat killing off "songbirds, rabbits, squirrels, gophers, etc." I am confused again. I was under the immpression that as a predator, cats hunt things smaller than them. That's not a political position it is nature. On top of that she wasn't complaining about a lack of wildlife. KC I loved the story and completely understand. You've just laid in bed and maybe even gotten comfortable when something pulls you from that comfort. You fix the first thing that distracted you from sleep only to have to do another and another; by the time you make it back to bed you have to get up. Great story.

kc compton_2
6/30/2009 3:34:51 PM

Mostly, I do keep the cat in at night. When bedtime arrives, however, the cat doesn't always come when called, so sometimes, he stays out. Most often, he eats mice. I live on a 200-acre farm with a large barn and hen house, and there are lots of mice. No one I know complains that there are too few rabbits or squirrels out here, though I don't know that he's gotten any of those so far this year. OkieNut: I actually AM a treehugger, if that means I care about the Earth enough to try to live gently on it and do what I can to see that it's treated kindly. I didn't avoid squashing the spider out of any liberal lily-liveredness, but because my sister and I encountered one of those on our front porch (in Oklahoma) when I was about 10 and when I dispatched it with my flip-flop, HUNDREDS of little baby spiders spread out in every direction, covering the porch, my feet, my poor little freaked-out psyche. I had nightmares for weeks. If I had done that the other night INSIDE my house, well, I'm afraid I would have needed to call the moving van that night!

6/30/2009 8:12:25 AM

Ditto to OkieNut's comments in consideration of our songbirds. Outside cats are an irresponsible anachronism.

brenda kipp_1
6/29/2009 4:57:45 PM

KC, you have the most amazing animal adventures!

6/26/2009 5:39:41 AM

Sounds like what you need to do is keep the cat in the house. Cats left outside at night are hunters, not because they need to eat but because they are born to hunt. They are predators that do NOT belong in the wild. You, by leaving the cat outside are responsible for killing off songbirds, rabbits, squirrels, gophers, etc. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a bleeding heart liberal tree hugger by any means. Personally I would have put 240 lbs of size 11 on that spider but that's up to you. I can't stand to hear people complain that there aren't any rabbits, quail, birds, etc any more but every night they let the cat outside to hunt. How many times has your cat brought you a present in the middle of the night or left it on the porch for you to find in the morning. Needless wanton waste that you should be controlling. OkieNut