CHAOSTOCOSMOS

Wednesday, 7 December 2005

Cat Herding

Supposed to be impossible? Pooh, I am an expert at it! I'm not quite sure what that says about me. Well, yes I am and, constantly look over my shoulder for men in white coats! The locals are surprisingly unperturbed by it when they see me and my little party out wandering the countryside. Of course they probably call me a vaca loca (mad cow) behind my back, but do I give a fig?

It was a clear, if chilly (by my standards) morning and around 8 a.m. dog and I went for a stroll up the lane, across the valley, turn left up the dirt track ... at least 1/4 mile later, there they were, all three ducklings, puppies kittens, still trotting along behind us in single file.

We crossed ploughed fields, rough ground, weed jungle, past vines and came back down the hill on the paved camino (hiking track).

Balu dawdles a bit, but otherwise all still present and correct.

It wasn't even as if they were ensuring I didn't escape because they wanted me to feed them, because they'd just had their breakfast.

As we approached the horse trough near home, there were the other pair who had decided not to come all the way, Mico and Betty, sitting, side by side in the middle of the road, waiting for us to return.

000_0019 Recently renovated horse trough, complete with communal laundry facilities (for cultural and historical authenticity) and, as you can see, obligatory posing cat.

A few moments rest while Kitty and Khan stopped for a drink, then all seven of us filed back down the hill, up the drive, and straight back indoors automatically. "Normal" cats would just go off and do their own thing, wouldn't they? It beats me: I truly never trained them to do this and it still amazes and highly amuses me daily when they do.

And, if all the cats don't follow on the whole walk, we'll usually pick the stragglers up along the way somewhere.

Like later this afternoon when I went down the backyard, with the dog, followed by four cats, to be greeted by the fifth, Betty, yowling from the other side of the neighbours' fence. She promptly hopped on a roof and vaulted that wire fence that she then climbed down like spiderman. I remember her doing that once with the three meter high fence around the goat pen up the hill. Only after a goat had chased her right round the perimeter, you understand!

But I don't care if I was wandering along talking to a bunch of animals, I should say carrying on a monologue. Today was one of those beautiful mornings where I was able to take in the scenery and be really glad to be alive.

Maybe this is not everyone's idea of bliss, but who in the "civilised" world gets the choice to do what I do? I know I am certainly glad I do.

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