Hired help

We have trapped seven — count ’em, SEVEN — squirrels in our garden this year, covered all the tomato plants with bird netting, and the birds and rodents are still decimating our harvest. No, wait. Not decimating. That would imply they’ve only ruined a tenth of my tomatoes. They’ve actually destroyed closer to half of them. Jerks.

As I was cussing the birds a few weeks ago, I remembered we never had this problem in Tulsa, largely because our neighborhood was full of stray cats, including a half-feral character who liked to hang out next to the chicken tractor and sleep on top of the beehives.

Schrodinger, as I called him, was a great deterrent to marauding wildlife. He served us well for several years until we had to put a privacy fence across the back of our property, whereupon his visits ceased. I don’t know whether he couldn’t climb it or simply didn’t choose to, but we never saw him again.

Our current yard is surrounded by a six-foot privacy fence, and it’s full of shady places for a resourceful cat to duck out of the weather or escape from overly curious dogs, so this afternoon, I decided to roll the dice and answer an ad I found in the paper for free kittens.

As it turned out, the lady who ran the ad is overrun with strays that people dump in her neighborhood. As I was holding a kitten, this little girl — who is about a year and a half old — wandered up and clamored to get in on the attention:


The lady said she really needed to find a home for “Moomaw,” as her grandkids had dubbed this little cat. After learning Moomaw was an enthusiastic hunter who would probably be content to hang out in the yard as long as she was fed and petted regularly, I tucked her into Scout’s old crate and brought her home. She complained for a few minutes but settled down nicely when I turned on some music.

I was going to change her name to something less ridiculous, but then tonight, I remembered an eccentric artist named Bob Moomaw was responsible for the world’s only known hippie memorial, so I have to think about this name issue some more. Maybe her first name should be Karen. She seemed to like the Carpenters. Then again, she’s definitely a country girl, so Loretta would be appropriate. Loretta Karen Moomaw sounds like a good name for a cat, doesn’t it?

I’ll settle on something after I learn a little more about her personality — assuming she doesn’t scale the fence and ditch us before she settles in. I don’t think she will. She seemed pretty happy rolling in the dirt under the tomato vines and rubbing her cheeks against the bird netting this evening, and she definitely liked being petted once she worked up the nerve to approach me.


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