Monday, April 30, 2007

Barn Kitty Ted

Ted was a strange name for a cat. Then again, Ted was a strange cat. He was huge and relatively shapeless. I mean you could tell he was a cat. He did have whiskers and a tail after all, but his mid-section was large, soft, and puddled into a big gray blob when he laid down. He laid down a lot. But what made him strange wasn’t his shape, it was his unbelievably outgoing personality and his panache for golf carts.

Ted came to live at a private farm where I kept my horse Cairo. He was an instant hit with people and horses alike. He was friendly and good-natured and took an immediate interest in the workings of a horse farm. He was particularly intrigued by the feeding process. You might assume from the comments regarding his girth that he helped the horses eat their meals. Not so, cats have no taste for grain, sweetened or otherwise. No, his focus was on our movements around the farm as we delivered horse feed to each paddock and pasture.

When feeding horses there is often a lot of ground to cover. Carrying feed to even a few horses can be very time consuming and heavy so we kept a golf cart onto which we would load the horse feed and drive the food, rather than walk it, to the horses. Ted was fond of the golf cart. Each evening I would collect the cart, drive to the feed room, and begin scooping the feed into buckets. As I prepared the food Ted would arrive and make himself comfortable on the front passenger seat. He’d lay there supervising as I drove around the farm feeding the horses and wouldn’t get up until all the work was done. He had a keen sense of responsibility.

One night, I had prepared all the buckets and was ready to begin delivering the feed but Ted wasn’t on the golf cart. I called for him but after several minutes with no Ted, I set out for the farthest pasture to feed Huck and Flash. As I was feeding the horses, Ted finally appeared. He was indignant. Fussing and scolding he plopped onto his seat and fixed himself there with a glare that defied me to move him. Laughing, I told him to be on time next time!

Those days are gone now. I sold Cairo, the other horses moved away and Ted left us for Kitty Heaven but I’ve never forgotten my friend Ted or how he kept me company as I cared for the horses. I hope that there are horses to feed and golf carts in Kitty Heaven and someone else who appreciates Ted’s company as much as I did. I don’t think the afterlife would be quite Heaven for Ted any other way.