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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

JJ: Collie Tales and Tails

Collie was our barn cat, a big orange tom. I named him because his coloration reminded me of Grandpa Streit's old Collie dog. One of my friends asked why I named a male after an Indian Goddess, but I explained that the name was Collie, not Kali, and she wasn't listening well or hearing me properly if she thought otherwise. When I'd go out to water the horses Collie would hop out of the barn window onto the top fence rail and walk over to greet me, spend a minute or two getting petted, then retreat to HIS space. Friendly and loving, but extremely independent, even for a cat. He was obviously a survivor. The night skies of Lower Valley are patrolled by great horned owls and cats often disappeared between dusk and dawn, a fate that happened to Collie's litter mate, Lion. Collie was either fast or smart or both because no hawk or owl ever scored on him. In later years he was moved to a friend's ranch at Star Meadows. The folks there had been having problems with pack rats and the lady of the ranch knew Collie and his capabilities. She figured having him around would solve their gnawing problems. Her husband was skeptical at first, but Collie left proof of his prowess everywhere. He was a fussy eater and would eat the rest of the rat but discard the tails, and the tails told the tales of his hunting skills when they showed up in the barn, hay sheds, tack room and workshop. TBC (Me)