My Piece of Dirt

Zone 8 Gardening

Tomcat and the Voles

on August 8, 2014

catTomcat was no sissy house cat.  He was a cat of the variety that used to hang around my grandfather’s barn.  As children we knew that some of these cats could be played with and some could not.  Tomcat was one of the latter.

He showed up on my doorstep, skinny and wounded, about three years ago.  I managed to peroxide his wounds whilst he munched on kibbles and bits, and I was ready to jump in any direction.  He recovered.  After a few months of pow-wowing, I said:  If you’re going to hang around here, then you’re going to have to have rabies shots and some de-worming...and ear mite meds too.  And, completely covered in protective gear, I managed to ease/slam him in a cage.  I have never heard such hissing as I did while we motored down to the vet’s.  I don’t think he ever forgave me for that.

Despite the fact that Tomcat was well-fed, he was still a ferocious hunter.  Many a day, I had to bury multiple chipmunks and a few molesEeeU.

Tomcat was not afraid of throwing-down with things bigger than him either.  After several battles–which I doctored him through–Tomcat died a few months ago.  It is sad, but a mean-as-a-snake cat like that usually has a short lifespan.  It is even possible that a neighbor killed him, for he did terrorize the neighborhood and other pet about the area.  But they just did not understand a cat like Tomcat.  I don’t think anybody who did not grow up on a farm can related to animals that are not the typical pet and yet serve a purpose–a wild creature that one has a loose agreement with.

Since he died I have lost 9 plants to voles in the B40.  I was not aware that Tomcat was keeping voles in check, but it seems obvious to me that he was.  Looking back, I remember him standing very still and looking down at apparently nothing in the ground in the B40.  Was he scoping for voles?

And now that he is gone, I have, yet again, another reason that I have decided to abandon the B40 in favor of the south side yard. Yet, I can not let the voles go unchecked.  And now that he is gone, I have started using….other methods of killing voles…methods that do not meld so poetically with the natural process.

I have 2 regrets in my part of this story.  I did not get Tomcat fixed.  I suppose I thought that that would take away from his ferociousness.  That’s stupid. And I thought: If I spend the money to fix him, him and money will vanish.

And I never took a picture.  I miss him more than I thought I would…and not just because of the garden.

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