Favorite Country Cats

Whether inside or outside, a few good country cats made life more enjoyable.

| January/February 2016

Barn cat

Country cats make excellent companions, inside or outside.

Photo by Fotolia/mariusz szczygieł

It's tricky trying to decide which pets I've had which I've considered 'beloved.'  I think most pets are endearing and quickly earn a special place in our lives.  But, if I had to narrow down my choices of 'most beloved pets,' two favorite cats come to mind; well, maybe three.

I was about 4 or 5 years old when we got "Susie" as a kitten from one of my older cousins.  Susie was a gray and white tiger cat who quickly grew to be a large, fluffy cuddler.  I honestly don't remember much more about her — only that she was so big and so friendly and loved to be carried.  One memorable quirk she had was that she always looked both ways before crossing our busy street!  She was a smart kitty. Maybe being a mama cat gave her wisdom.

Much more recently and more clear in my memory was the arrival of Flip.  He joined our family one sunny October day in 2010; a very memorable day! 

Our Siberian Husky Sammy kept up his noisy "something's wrong" barking that afternoon, until I went outside to investigate.  There around the corner of the house hunched up in defense and hissing at our dog was a tiny orange and white kitten about 8-10 weeks old.  I was surprised how much gumption this little cat had, standing up to a large adult dog!  I managed to get between them, and the kitten seemed to decide that I was the lesser of two evils and came to me, allowing me to pet his head and loving every second of it.  It was like he 'said,' "Okay lady, you can pick me up.  Just get me away from this barking beast!"

Since our Minnesota winters are brutal, and also since we needed a cat, we decided to make Flip an official family member, with all the bells and whistles (nice cage, lots of toys, tasty cat food, and the run of the house).   That winter, he made himself at home, always sitting with me and getting constant attention from family members.  He'd even track me down when I was on the computer, jumping up on my lap, curling in a ball, and napping.  My husband joked that the little cat seemed to believe I was now the official mom cat!  Yes, he was — and still is — a special kitty.

He well earned the name 'Flip,' given to him by my youngest son.  In the evening when we all relaxed in the living room, just before he was put in his cage for the night, Flip would get a great burst of energy.  He'd decide to quickly jump up on the couch and tag me on the shoulder, then jump down and run away.  Big fun for a little cat!  He soon got to know when it was time to go in the cage for the night.  He'd run and hide behind the couch!  It took a great deal of inching the heavy couch out very carefully before the kitty was carefully retrieved.  "Mother" (that would be me) was not too happy about this daily game!

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