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Posts Tagged ‘cute cats’


 

The VERY best cat toy, it turns out, is the frayed end of a horse lungeing whip. Lilly, the barn cat, will follow me anywhere if I have one in my hand. She won’t, however, give it up easily once she’s claimed it with paws and claws. Photo by Adam Sherman.

 

Lilly and "her" whip. Photo by Adam Sherman.

CATS. Meows as well as whinnies are sounds I anticipate when I approach the barn nowadays. Lilly, the rather new feline stablemate, adds character and comic relief. All cats can be clever and cute, but there’s just something about Lilly: She acts as if she could arm-wrestle any of the half-ton horses – and win.

She claims the day and is princess of the barn even when she’s dripping wet and may not look so royal.  It’s as though she’s adhering to the adage, “Take the day as it is, not as you would have it.” That’s a 12-step way of saying “go with the flow,” or “don’t get twisted up by trying to force a solution.” Humans have to learn that approach in order to de-stress: Cats must learn it in the womb. I know when I quit trying to have things always be my way, I feel my blood pressure drop.

Also sure to calm my thoughts and pulse are, of course, animals. They are always inventing ways to make their audience laugh. Take Lilly: Her exact age is unknown, but she’s still kitten enough to love mischief-making. She’s not much for store-bought cat toys. She may bat a catnip-filled mini mouse out of her path, but with feline disdain. Her preferred playthings are breeze-blown clumps of horse hair or bits of straw skittering across the barn aisle.

She’s also discovered she can provoke quite a reaction by slipping into the arena and hiding in the hollow center of the mounting block (a sort of stair-step stool that makes getting on a horse easier). Her favorite part? Bursting forth Jack-in-the-box-style when someone approaches. Many horses would turn into a whirling dervish with a surprise like that. I’m happy to say my seasoned mare just flicks her ears as if to say, “You again? Aren’t you supposed to be catching mice back in the hay barn about now? ”

Quite by accident, Lilly’s found a new foe. I sometimes use a long whip when I lunge my horse. ( Lunging is a way of exercising and/or training a horse as it moves in a circle at the end of a long, or lunge, line controlled by the handler in the center.) It’s the swish noise of the whip, not the feel of it,  that gets Callie moving when she’s being lazy or having an I-can-buck-like-a-bronc kind of day.

Recently, I dropped the lunge whip as I was leading Callie from barn to arena. I stopped to pick it up, but Lilly had already pounced on it.  She was like a a magnet to metal. Acknowledging it was a cute antic, I tried  to maneuver it away from her, so I could get on with exercising my horse. Lilly would have none of that. She entwined her claws more firmly each time I tugged.

Since then, Lilly has made that whip her own. She spends cold days and nights in the warm tack room. Her nap spot of choice is atop the blanket thrown over my saddle. I store the whip against the wall behind my saddle. That’s seldom where I find it anymore. It’s generally across the room, under someone else’s saddle rack or resting near her food and water bowls. Apparently, Lilly has her cat-and-mouse-way with it in the dead of night. OUR LESSON: We should make the most of our day and our place in it.

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