Day 358 of 365

I feel I cannot end my daily blogging mission without telling a story about Betty, one of our cats. Betty and her sister, Bella, kind of landed in our laps just a week after we lost our Great Pyrenees, Gus, to lymphoma. I say “landed in our laps” because we had thought about getting barn cats for our homestead for years to help with mice and rats. I posted on Facebook about needing to look into getting a barn cat when a friend told her friend, who had two semi-barn kittens in need of a home.

The woman told me they were sisters and that they were fantastic and that she was really hoping to find a home where they could stay together. She was worried about them being separated. So, of course, I was like, “I think we must do this.” Ron, somehow, agreed, but we both agreed that we needed them to live out of our garage because Sophie, our very old and sick kitty, was so old and so fragile–and we needed farm help.

I researched and talked to people about how to care for barn cats and made a plan to go pick up the kitties. I expected them to be running around outside, but it was a chilly day. They were inside, and Betty was curled up on a chair in front of a fire. I thought to myself, “How am I going to take this beautiful kitty, so happy and content by the fire, and tell her she has to be a barn kitty?”

When I was leaving with Betty, the woman, who was just fantastic, said “That one’s super sweet and snuggly. I’ll bet she’ll be in the house in no time.”

Immediately, I could see what she meant. We turned our garage into a kitten play land, complete with carpets, toys, crates, boxes, and everything else I could think of. The plan was to keep them in the garage until they got bigger. Plus, we read that barn kitties need plenty of time to see your home as home before you let them out into the world. The plan was one month.

Of course, during this month, Ron and I and our son spent so much time in the garage with these adorable babies. And Betty just snuggled and charmed all of us. When it had been one month, Ron and I were heading to the garage with the idea that we were going to let them outside for just a little bit that day. But just as I was about to open the door, Ron said, “Let’s just bring those babies inside with us,.”

I was on it!

The first day they were in the house, Betty was in heaven. She slept by the wood stove and was sweet to Sophie. She was such a sweet baby at first. Then, when she was comfortable in the house, she went wild. Just wild! One time, in the middle of the night, she jumped on my face and sliced my eye lid. For weeks, I was scared to go to sleep. She climbed a lot of curtains and walls but eventually settled down.

In the year and a half since Betty and Bella moved in, I have loved getting to know them. Betty is still the biggest charmer, though Bella has her moments. But Betty is extra special to me because she has the soul of an artist.

It started when she discovered the paint brushes when she was little. Every day, she would find a new paint brush and carry it around with her. I would pick them up, and she would get them again. I kept them in the basement, and we would wake up every morning to paint brushes throughout the house. She was carrying these up the stairs and through a small cat door. They seemed to bring her comfort. She still frequently brings paint brushes through the kitty door in the middle of the night. One morning, Ron said he found a giant ball of yard pushed just almost through the little kitty door, but it was stuck. I want to put a night camera in our house just to see what all Betty is up to.

We discovered Betty also really loves cello. She wants to sit right next to our son when he practices his cello, but our son doesn’t let her stay in the room because she climbs on him. So Betty gets kicked out of the music room during cello. She gets to stay sometimes for our son’s piano practice because she sits on top of the piano.

When I practice cello, I try to let her stay, but I ultimately have to kick her out as well because she wants to actually sit on the cello. She loves the vibrations.

My favorite is when she plays the piano herself. If my son forgets to close the door to the music room, she will be in there playing the piano. Oh, and she loves to watch us play chess. I think she may love that the most. She seems to be studying the board. She never jumps on the pieces. She just sits over the board and watches every move. One time, we decided to play made-up chess where we didn’t follow the rules, and I swear, Betty looked confused. I understand if you’re skeptical, and I’m not for sure she noticed the differences in the moves, but I think she may have.

Her love of the arts definitely leaves me with questions, but mostly, I am just thankful to have a kitty who loves the arts like I do. Betty will be two years old in August. I am hoping for a long and wonderful life with this amazing soul.

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