The Bench Sitters have seen a number of articles on the subject of cats over the past years. There have been essays on how to give a cat a pill and even how to give a cat a bath. Most are pretty hilarious to be sure.

This week we’d like to thank Arnette Tiller for some excellent advice on how to make domestic cats adjust to country living.

Arnette says this all comes from some great personal experiences she and her family have had since moving to the place on Clear Creek.

She says when the cats first arrived, the Tillers talked about setting up a feeding station in the barn so they could earn a living by helping control the mouse and gopher problem around the place.

But these were pampered house cats and were placed in a small building that included her “arts-and-crafts” area that also housed some ceramics.

It wasn’t long before they realized it would be a much more convenient situation if they had a “cat door” installed so the two felines could go outside whenever they wanted to enjoy the wonderful rural setting.

The cats were very happy with that situation, and all was well and peaceful for several weeks.

Then a feral or “wild” cat discovered there were some excellent dinners available to be shared by simply learning how to enter through the little “cat door.”

Arnette says the amount of different colored cat hair scattered about the room indicated the two domestic felines were not immediately pleased with the idea of sharing food with their wilder cousin.

But, she said, after a time it was obvious they had signed some kind of peace treaty to grudgingly coexist with the newcomer.

The wild cat seemed to become tamed a little by the experience.

“It didn’t run when we were near, and you could almost pet it . . . but not quite.”

Again, all was peaceful in the cat kingdom and the Tiller place for several months. That is until a raccoon caught the odor of Friskies’s Seven Flavored Seafood Delight being offered up inside that building. It wasn’t long before that raccoon and a couple of her siblings learned the cat door trick.

Arnette learned of the new residents when she discovered most of her ceramics had been knocked off the shelves, creating a real mess.

The cats, in the meantime, had decided it was best for their long-term wellbeing to abandon the crafts building altogether.

So finally they have taken up residence in the barn where there is more than enough room to avoid any raccoon problems.

“Well,” says Arnette, “it all worked out. That’s where they were supposed to be in the first place.”

Now if she can only figure out how to train a raccoon how to do something constructive.

Perhaps there will be another chapter in this saga to be added at a later date.

As they say . . . “Shoulder on Arnette – shoulder on!”

Meanwhile, back down on the Main Drag this week we overheard one of the guys at the early-in-the-morning coffee group make a comment about a guy who was on a political rant.

He said, “That guy needs to take a chill pill.”

And a few seats away another said . . . “and it would be good if he choked on it.”

At the later-in-the-day coffee group, the best comment this week came during one of those uncomfortable lulls in conversation.

That’s when one of them looked up at the ceiling and spoke as if he had just had a revolutionary thought. He said, “I finally figured out what I want to be when I grow older.”

Everyone waited for him to finish the thought.

“Younger,” he said.

And Sven has been doing a little more cooking over the past couple of years. It occurred to him this week that reading recipes is a lot like reading a science fiction book. When you get near the end, there is the thought . . . “Well this is not ever going to happen.”

Be good, stay warm and we’ll drop a line again next week.

Sven

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