When I walked into the living room this morning, our cat Patches was lieing on top of the piano. She looked so beautiful, I had to grab the camera and start taking pictures. After the first flash, she stood up and stretched, but she did agree to stick around and let me continue taking pictures for a bit.
Patches has an interesting history with us. She arrived at Antiquity Oaks two years ago, tiny and pregnant. She was so sweet and loving, we knew someone must have dumped her. This was not a typical country cat. We watched her get fatter and fatter, and knowing that her kittens would be feral if not handled from birth, we watched her as closely as we could. One day she came to the barn quite skinny, so Margaret followed her when she left. When she discovered six kittens in a hollow tree, we decided to bring them into the barn. Patches, however, being very independent, would not have her babies living in the barn. We watched her as she carried every baby back to the hollow tree! Two weeks later, as their eyes started to open, Patches decided it was time for her babies to live in the barn.
Patches was such a great mommy. She took great care of her babies, even one who was quickly named Fat Louie (after the cat in the Princess Diaries). Our Fat Louie loved to nurse. When he was only a month old, he was twice as big as his brothers. He never left his mommy's side -- or should I say, her never left her tummy! He ran after Patches everywhere, and the moment she stopped, he started to nurse!
When her babies were three months old, we took Patches to the vet to get spayed. I wanted her to be my new house cat. She was so beautiful and cuddly! When we brought her home from the vet, I carried her into the house. She slept on my bed, kept my feet warm and lulled me to sleep at night with her purring, but after six or seven days, she walked out the door and never came near the house for more than a year. I'd see her once or twice a week walking across the pasture with a mouse or vole in her mouth, but I respected her independence. Then last fall, I came to the house from doing chores one night, and Patches was sitting on the front porch. When I opened the door, she ran into the house, and this has been her home ever since!
Now that spring is officially here, I am wondering if she will stay with me. Did she only decide to spend her winter in a human house after hearing about senior citizens who winter in Texas or Florida? I hope not.