Better Watch Your Back, Jax!

This morning dawned heavy and steamy, and I went out to free the hens from their coop and feed pellets as usual. I heard some mild shuffling in the feed room, and after finding the lid to my plastic feed can chewed through yesterday, I was only mildly surprised. I opened the door, and the shuffling stopped. Whatever it was was hiding. But I didn’t want hiding, I wanted an immediate exit so I could reach in and extract a ration of chicken food. I thumped my fist against the minibarn wall, and out popped a nervous squirrel who quickly scampered up the wall of the feed room and out under the eaves. Annoying. Had I not already had a plan in place, I would have been totally frustrated. But all was well, my secret weapon was arriving in 2 days, and I would launch my own battle against the over-populated rodents in our yard.

See, 2 weeks ago I began a hunt for the perfect barn cat. Actually, I wasn’t picky, and any barn cat would do. Just catch some mice and I will feed you. A business deal, pure and simple. Turns out, it’s harder to find a used barn cat than you’d think. Kittens are too un-skilled, and adult cats seem to be indoor oriented. Alas, I found 2 rescue agencies in the are specializing in feral and barn cats. Success!

We went down to visit Jax in his shelter the following Sunday. His story is that he was left in a kill shelter in NC at 3 months old, but wasn’t killed because he was so cute, and then transferred to this shelter in MD. He was a pale yellow, short-haired cat with 2 white feet. He was cute. He was, apparently, also a cat jerk.

Missy at the shelter informed me that Jax does not like other cats. Sure enough, I watched him creep up and ambush 2 others from behind. Thanks to Captain Schenanigan’s allergies and my determination to keep all pets outside, we were a cat-free family.

Jax was also hyper-active by cat standards, and could not be pet unless he was tired, or in a post-meal food coma. It wasn’t that he didn’t like people, he loved them, but he would roll on his back and claw at the incoming hand in an attempt to play. So playful he was unable to control himself long enough to accept affection, and gets too wild amongst his peers. That sounds like our kind of cat. Considering just last Sunday Manchild required a parent to be removed from the service at church to attend to him twice, and the second time his actions warranted he be removed from his classroom, I’d say we are more than familiar with out of control short critters. Bring him on over!

The one thing Jax has going in his favor is that he is a cat, and able to fend for himself in a lot of ways. This goes a long way in our household of promoted independence. Because my once steel trap of a memory has now become more like a cheese cloth. The big things stay, but the little stuff floats right on through. Case in point, today at the grocery store there was one package of meat on sale (the sell by date was tomorrow), and 5 packages of the same meat at regular price. I hemmed and hawed about buying it, since I had the same meat at home thawing this minute. Deciding against it, we moved on.

Twenty minutes later, I changed my mind and decided I did need to get that sale meat. Manchild and I rolled our cart back to the butcher section, but the package was gone. Someone else had gotten our deal. Oh well, I grabbed another package and kept shopping.

At the self check-out I picked up the meat, scanned it, bagged it, and repeated the same routine right down to the last item in my cart. Which was, the sale meat! Apparently I had picked up the meat, put it in my cart while talking to another couple and convincing Machild we were not buying chocolate, then forgot about my actions and went back later to buy it again. The person who had picked it up and gotten the great deal was me! I should not be left alone with children. Who knows, maybe I used to have 3 kids?

Anyway, after the squirrel incident, we are more than ready for Jax to move into the backyard and do his thing. The biggest predator we have around here is a fox, and I’m told cats and fox co-habitate fine, so I’ll merely be the cafeteria lady each evening. Leaving him to take care of business (and himself) the rest of the time. Don’t get me wrong, we have a boatload of new cat toys and treats to spoil him with. But like chickens, I don’t like pets that depend on my for their entertainment and companionship. I have kids for that.

Well Jax, welcome home. You are our first cat, and we are your first forever family, and I know we are going to get along just fine. Besides, the best thing about having a memory like mine is that all infractions will be forgotten. I guarantee it!

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