Rusty is an old beat up barn cat. As best as we can remember he is about 12 years old. He and his sister Frederica were kittens over at Marshall’s farm when we brought them back here for mousing duty. Their predecessor was the great Girlinda Brown, about the best mouser any one had ever seen. She even nailed a small owl once and left it at the front door.

Well Frederica disappeared about four months ago, never heard from again and Rusty has been lonely and turned into a sort of dog. He follows you around, wants to hop in the pickup and go for a ride. He is pretty ratty looking. He is missing a tear duct so he always has a leaky eye and never showed any of the cleaning characteristics typical of his kind. He used to be a fine mouser but lost his taste and interest a while ago.

I decided he needed company and I saw an ad in the Poughkeepsie Journal for cats that had been abandoned that were available for adoption. I had to go all the way to Hyde Park where the cats had been taken for neutering, shots and some care after having been found in an abandoned house in town. When I arrived the two cats looked fine. They were about 10 months old and were in a holding area with all sorts of toys and treats.

You would think I was being interviewed for the CIA. The lady wanted to know all about me. She asked whether I could give her the name of my landlord as a reference but as I don’t have a landlord that didn’t work. Then she wanted to have the name of my vet which I gave her, Doc Hammond over in Millbrook. She wanted to know whether I had cats before and what were my living conditions. She then said I would have to make a contribution to the ASPCA which I did. After I had filled out all the papers she then said she would have to make a few phone calls. One to my vet and one to the boss of the organization. Twenty minutes later I was the proud new father of Jim and Jesse. I named them after the wonderful bluegrass band Jim and Jesse McReynolds, the Virginia Boys. One of them (not the cat) plays the mandolin like a five string banjo. I’m not even sure if they are still around but they were good in their day as I hope the new Jim and Jesse will be.

I brought them home and put them in the barn with Rusty. Well it seems Rusty wasn’t as lonely as I had thought and he was not happy with the new arrivals. They hung out in the barn where there are good hiding places and after a few days they disappeared. A week went by and I thought they were gone for good but this afternoon I found that they had left the barn and moved to their new home under the porch. They seem to be doing fine and while they are a little skittish they are happy enough. I await their first kill which should come pretty soon as the little bird’s nests are all over the place and are filled with little peeping sounds. But don’t feel sorry for the birds because that is nature’s way.

Sorry about the poor pictures I took them with my cell phone which always seems to have a film of scungilli on the lens.

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