My son calls me the cat woman on the hill, it’s a term of endearment as well as factually accurate. We live on a high hill overlooking seven counties. It’s a breath-taking vista on a clear day if you enjoy rural landscapes. On misty/rainy days we’re up in the clouds so can’t see further than 100 metres, sometimes less. Anything remaining visible looks supernatural and eerie, jutting at random from the murky greyness. In the winter we get snow, often whole drifts wrapping the countryside in a pristine blanket of loveliness. It’s a great place to live with plenty to be inspired by as the seasons change. I love it here.
We (well mostly I) also have cats. I once joked that I would be happy living with a cat of every colour. I’ve made a reasonable attempt at this objective, adopting strays, re-homing unwanted kittens and purchasing a Norwegian Forest cat. My ‘official’ cats include tortoiseshell, white, ginger, blue, dark brown, black and grey/white/ginger mix. As well as official residents, there are unofficial residents including a fat marmalade cat, fluffy tortoiseshell and big black with bushy tail. I’ve no idea who they belong to but they seem to enjoy visiting. Because I’m happy adopting cats of unknown origin my son sometimes calls me the mad cat woman on the hill; it’s still a term of endearment. And anyone who has ever lived in a rural area will know cats are essential when it comes to keeping rats and mice at bay. These little critters do a lot of damage to garden sheds, garages and car engines. I don’t like the cats killing them and finding bits of rat is not my favourite past-time, but it’s more natural than using poison. And mice/rats can smell cats so tend not to come too near.
It’s sometimes said that cats are unfriendly, capricious and detached. I like them because they’re curious, affectionate (mine would rather have human attention than food) and graceful. They’re also engaging, playful and they cuddle up to you in a knowing kind of way when you’re feeling a bit ropey. One of the downsides of my current situation is that they can’t cuddle up to me because I can’t afford to pick up an accidental scratch. So my cats and I gaze at each other through the conservatory doors and touch paws either side of the glass. I’m sure it’s as confusing for them as it is for me. Fortunately they seem pretty tolerant and it looks as though they’ll wait around for playtime until I’m well again. In the interim they have Zub to keep them amused (though he doesn’t enjoy rat clean-up duty either).
I’m not sure I ever intended to be the cat woman on the hill – mad or otherwise – but I’m glad I am. I’m glad I’ve given a warm home to these fascinating felines. They ask very little of me but provide a good deal of comfort, pleasure and amusement albeit with the occasional unwanted rat-tail thrown in for good measure. I can’t wait until we’re on the same side of the glass again 🙂