Dogs Have Owners, Cats Have Staff

Don’t you love that expression? If you live with a cat, you know what I’m talking about.

I grew up with cats, though a stray dog or two crossed my path now and then. I once shared my cramped twin bed with an Irish Setter for a week  before we located the dog’s owner. I was 12 at the time. Though I knew we couldn’t keep him, I burst into tears when we had to let him go.

I love all animals, but in my years of renting, living with cats made more sense. The number of cats in residence fluctuates, since word gets out; before you know it you’ve got six cat bowls lined up on the kitchen counter.

The current count is one husband, two teenage boys and three felines.

Okay, I strung that sentence together for the sake of diplomacy. The felines run the place and the rest of us fall in line.

Here’s the current line up:

Lindy-Lu is our senior feline. We adopted her from our local Humane Society when she was about three for my son’s 8th birthday. My son turns 18 this June. Lindy is mellow and sweet and loves to be near us, but she never sits on our laps.

lindy in the garden

Lindy in the Garden

She enjoys sleeping next to my pillow at night, or draped across the arm of the sofa. Lindy-Lu takes her cat naps at the foot of our bed or in the stream of sun on the living room floor, but when she’s ready to hunker down for a long sleep, she disappears into the bedroom closet for a long snooze. I’m careful to always keep the door cracked.

lindy on the bench

Lindy Practicing her Adorable Pose

Lindy sunbathing

Sunbathing on the bed

Slinky is our mystery cat. She’s borderline feral, and about 90% hard of hearing. She used to bite when startled and will take a swing at you if your hand moves in a suspicious manner.


Pet me…or else

It took a long time to coax her indoors, but after a year of living in a shelter in our side yard, she came to appreciate the comforts of indoor living. She now spends most of her time asleep on my desk.

slinky in front of computer

Slinky does her neck exercises in front of the monitor

slinky in her bed

Slinky color-coordinates with her bed

Slinky is afraid of Lindy, poor little thing, but stands up to Mouse, even though he’s younger and twice her size. Slinky is a petite six pounds while Mouse weighs a whopping 16 pounds.

Mouse has an official home, but he doesn’t let on. He takes all his meals at our house, sleeps on our beds and generally makes himself comfortable.

Mouse in the garden

Mouse in the garden

mouse with catnip

Mouse enjoys his catnip toy

He’s charmingly adorable. Mouse lives for treats, so I’m partly to blame for his expanded waistline. He collects kitty snacks from others as well, including my sister on her frequent visits.


Mouse lends moral support around homework time

Mouse has many admirers, and would probably be insufferable if he were a man and not a cat. He assumes everyone loves him, and frankly why wouldn’t they? If I could change one thing about him, it would be his stealthy hunting skills. He loves the game of catch and release.

This brings me to our fourth creature-in-residence, the elusive and cunning Mr. Rat.  One of my boys noticed an overly attentive Lindy parked near the entertainment center this morning. After they left for school, Lindy backed away and Mouse took over. Here was my chance to show Mr. Rat the door.

mouse hunts the rat

Mouse on the alert; Lindy strolls past the barricade


I gathered boxes, boards, baskets and whatever I could get my hands on, then rolled up the carpet to make a barricade. I opened the door wide to the fresh air and knew I  was ready. Meanwhile, Mouse single-mindedly entered and exited all the cabinet compartments, determined to find his prey. I mentally thanked him for ‘directions’ before putting him in one of the bedrooms.

It was time to make my move. Mr. Rat made a run for it. I stomped my foot hoping to startle him toward the door. He ran toward some potted plants instead and then disappeared right before my eyes. How can this be!!!

I stood there dumbstruck. How could a six-inch rat disappear so quickly?

For the record, I’m blaming it on the vertigo. How else to explain his disappearance.

Three different live traps and two direct interventions later, the score remains disproportionately in the rats favor. That’s what I get for giving Mr. Rat a name. Like all the stray cats, he probably assumes that he too is welcome to stay.


31 thoughts on “Dogs Have Owners, Cats Have Staff

  1. I loved being properly introduced to your cats Alys! So, the rat saga continues. When he makes his next appearance any chance of a cute photo?!!! I do hope he moves out soon. What a worry for you. xx


  2. You know that saying ‘Cunning as a rat’ It became a saying for a reason! He [are you sure?] seems pretty determined to stay and is obviously being well fed – by you yourself I rather imagine – just keep your fingers crossed Mr Rat doesn’t turn out to be Mrs Rat ………..

    It was so lovely to have an entire introduction to the brood, including husband and sons 🙂
    Lindy is just gorgeous, do you brush her coat daily? Does she demand treats too after every brushing? That is a great photo of Slinky watching birds – well captured! And of course Mr Mouse – what a charmer! The charisma oozes through the lens! Obviously a cat of great intelligence and one who understands he is in control of his own destiny! 🙂

    This was a most enjoyable visit this evening ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Pauline. It’s interesting writing about the kitties. It allowed me to reflect and realize how lucky I am to have three sweet kitties. I enjoy seeing the boys interact with the cats as well. They’re both kind and gentle and enjoy spending time with the cats. They’re all a bit leery of Slinky and I don’t blame them, but they’ll occasionally dip a hand over the desk and scratch her neck from behind. It’s the best approach. She’s curled up tightly as I type this, purring with her head tucked under her tail. She’s come a long, long way.

      Lindy doesn’t like to be brushed, but really needs it with that long coat. She loves having her chin brushed, so I do that, then sneak in a couple of brushes. It’s almost as if it tickles her.

      Thanks for always saying such lovely things and for sharing your keen sense of observation.


  3. Your cats are beautiful, adorable and have great personalities. They can praise the Higher Powers that they have ended up at your loving home! But my dear Alys, I was almost screaming here out loud when reading the run of Mr. Rat…where is it now? Take good care, xo Johanna

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I certainly have heard the saying you opened your delightful post with 😀 If I’m guilty of anything, it’d be spoiling every little thing that joins me in my wee nest. That includes the two lovelies and Mr B. It just makes me feel happy to be a spoiler, so really, it’s all about me. LOL.

    Loved all your photo’s. Especially Mouse and his Banana, hehe. It looks like he’s winking at you. Each of your kitty-kats have very unique personalities. It’s nice to mix it up a bit hey? Mr Mouse likes to snuggle on your lap and be an on-going source of entertainment while Lindy is the picture of calmness and content. Slinky is so lucky to have wandered into your life, I’m sure she knows this and chooses to be tease. I love that we have this in common, amongst all the many loves we share. Whether being nose to nose and looking lovingly into a dogs eyes or scratching kitty under the chin, or just watching a wild bird fix it’s feathers, I never tire of being part of their day.

    As for Mr Rat, well really, why wouldn’t he/she want to hang out at your house? Drats on that rat. It must have a hole to run into and disappear. I’d be afraid to wander into it after dark, that scream would wake the entire neighbourhood. Now racoons have gotten the good word. Man, that must have been cute. I mean, sorry you were woken so early. We don’t have them in Alberta but they do in Vancouver and probably Victoria too. I watched a documentary about their acclamation to urban life. Very interesting. They keep their parameter fairly small, so Mr Racoon probably nests not too far away. It’s the wild kingdom and you’re merely the caretaker of it all, how kind you are! xoxo K

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL. You are a wonderful ‘spoiler’ and anyone lucky enough to know you (like me) reaps the generous benefits. (((You)))

      Our kitties are an eclectic bunch, so never a dull moment around here. I wish Slinky wasn’t so frightened all the time, but her lack of hearing and time on the street no doubt contribute to that. It’s good that she can stand up to Mouse, and it is comical too. He’ll creep onto my desk for some extra treats and all she has to do is stand up and he goes running. It’s pretty funny. Obviously they’ve come to an agreement of sorts. Lindy, on the other hand, is fine having him sleep on the same bed with her, often just a foot apart. Amazing.

      I love that we have a love of animals in common too. =^..^=

      Raccoons are cute but I definitely keep them at a distance. I saw one amble off the road and start to climb a tree a few weeks ago near the park. I’ve heard they live in the sewers, so for all we know, they have an entire colony under the streets. I’ll try to get a photo next time.

      Stay tuned for the rat update. YES…I have an update.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Alys! I loved this post so much because it is all true! That photo of Slinky’s bent neck looking at the monitor just cracked me up, but all of the photographs were truly beautiful! I can’t believe you have another mousie though! The next blog post we are going to see from you are photographs of the mouse sitting in your garden, on your desk looking at your monitor, helping your son with his homework…

    Liked by 2 people

  6. That was fun and unexpected. I’ve heard the saying before and somewhat agree. I always felt I was my dogs staff as well but she gave back more than I did. I’ve only had one cat after I had children because mom was afraid of them. Who would think that could be possible. I like the introduction to your family, rat and all. The rat is safer in the house with the cats than outdoors so why would he leave? I can’t wait for the next chapter.:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Marlene, You didn’t see that rat coming, did you? Neither did I!!!!

      I’ve known people over the years that were afraid of cats. Most of them either had some bad experience in early childhood or they lived with someone who was also afraid of cats. I had a co-worker years ago who was deathly afraid of birds, and she said both her kids grew up afraid of birds as well, even though she tried not to pass it on, knowing her fear didn’t make sense.

      You are kind to all animals and children. I expect any would be welcome. Perhaps when your life settles in a small dog or cat will find its way into your abode. My sister really misses KT, but with her advance disability and living situation, she doesn’t have it in her to get another one. She enjoys visiting with mine, though, so I’m glad she has that.


  7. Cats are cool!! I love dogs and up until downsizing to our small home in 2001 we always had dogs. Now we are a cat family. We have 3 white felines and love them to pieces! Thanks for the introduction to your furry family members.


  8. Such beautiful kitties sharing their lives with you! I can’t believe you have a rat living in your house too, they are so cute, and so difficult to extricate. Good luck, and I hope you get him out before the cats corner him!! I have a very small one living under fridge currently, and there is no shortage of eager faces hanging around just waiting for him to make an appearance. Oh stressful.


  9. Apartment living means we don’t have any pets besides fish – I grew up with both cats and dogs (sometimes several at one time), so all these years without a furball has been sort of strange for me. I loved reading about your cats and their individual personalities – they are all so wonderful. 🙂

    And I’m so happy about the outcome of the rat saga!


    • Thank you, Sheryl. I lived in an apartment for many years as well. I did eventually find a place that would accept cats, but it is very difficult around to hear to find anyone willing to rent to you with animals. I’m sure it must be strange for you not having a fur ball around. I did find that when I didn’t live with an animal, I could always seek one out at friends homes or around the neighborhood.

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading about our kitties.


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