Nine Moosey Cats
Nine cats are not too many. The Moosey house is huge, the Moosey garden is huge, and the Moosey farm reaches well beyond the gardens, with paddocks, orchards, and hay barns. There is definitely enough room for nine cats...
Nine? or None?
Mind you, it's embarrassing having nine cats. When chatting with people, one tries to avoid responding to the 'Do you have any cats?' question.
Stumpy the Grey
One evades, saying 'I've always had cats' - or muffles the voice. 'Nine' can sound remarkably like the word 'none', if the tongue is in the wrong place.
Confessing to having nine cats is much worse than owning up to other excesses. Having over three hundred roses in the garden will often get a sympathetic response, and some people may even be envious.
Reading six books a week is considered admirable, as is gardening for five hours at a stretch, or going walking in the mountains for hours.
Feeding Nine Cats
Feeding nine cats is interesting. Each of the Moosey cats knows their own name, but hey! If she's calling out 'Tiger, Tiger' for breakfast, and your name is 'Fluff-Fluff' - there's no harm in trying, is there?
Fluff-Fluff and B-Puss
Needless to say, Fluff-Fluff is a clever, charming fattie, gently pushing into another cat's food bowl on the pretence of a friendly head-rub. And he and his house brother B-Puss adore gardening. That's a really good thing if you're a Moosey cat.
Percy the Ginger Kitten
The three kittens are fed on the house decking. They run straight through the feeder's legs to the door. Be careful - don't trip over them with the tray of goodies. And make sure that the dog isn't anywhere outside cruising - he can hear cats' bowls going down from as far away as the back paddock.
Food problems are logistical, rather than insurmountable. Which cat is eating fish today? Who thinks they'd like to try lamb casserole from a can?
And who suddenly likes the fancy gourmet dried food, which has little moon and star shaped cat-biscuits coloured brown, beige, salmon - and green? Nobody liked it last week.
Oh dear - isn't the mince fresh enough? And some cheeky cats have jumped up on the kitchen bench - again! Oops.
Nine cats are not too many. There are plenty of lovely sleeping spots for solitary or communally minded cats. Assorted cat-baskets, fluffy rugs, cushions and comfy fireside chairs (only three, but it's character building to have to share) are offered willingly.
And usually there are piles of old newspaper and abandoned gardening jerseys for the cat who requires a change of texture.
The fish man brings free fish scraps each week, the chicken farm supplies very cheap fresh chicken mince, and Lady of the Fridge (so absent-minded at times) often chops up this piece of fillet steak or that piece of fresh salmon by mistake. So nine cats aren't too expensive, either.
Jerome The Grey
The Good Cat Life
What a life! There's a huge garden with enough tussock grasses for nine cats to leap onto, plenty of suitable trees to scoot up, sunny garden seats to snooze on, a woodshed, a garage and a stables in which to hunt for rodents.
Mugsy the Cat
There are more than enough garden places to keep one's personal business personal. And if it's dreadfully wet outside there'll usually be a little box provided. Nice touch!
Open Cat-Door Policy
It's the policy of the house to have the cat-door always open, shine or rain - though it requires a quick tail flick to escape the door swinging back and - ouch!
The Head Gardener has a great attitude to nine cats. She provides enticing hedges of catmint, which surround the house patio, and a Wisteria-clad pergola which provides safe roof-access. Thankfully she removed that awful scratchy climbing rose a few years ago...
If her garden is super cat-stimulating - then her house inside is more so. There are at least two stairs monsters, a monster who hides halfway up the lounge curtains, and several crackling plastic-bag monsters on the floor of the pantry who don't mind if you pee on them. Aargh!
Kittens in the Moosey Bed
Nine Cats Is Not Too Many
OK, in order of age, here goes: Stumpy and Jerome the old grey sisters, Mugsy the orange and black, Tiger the tortoiseshell, Fluff-Fluff and B-Puss the gardening cats, Percy, Hissy and Lilli-Puss the brother-and-sister kittens - each of you nine cats is unique and irreplaceable. You are definitely not too many!
I have further proof that nine cats are not expensive to feed, having just discovered a lost leg of lamb in the human shelf of the fridge. Aargh! this tasty, choice, carnivores' delight should have been cooked and eaten by humans yesterday. A human loss, a cat's gain!