Survivor show has nothing on barn cat

Survivor show has nothing on barn cat by Bob Karolevitz We�ve never watched the television show Survivor. It�s too much like farming in South Dakota.

Actually we have another survivor at our place. She�s Mysty, the barn cat.

I marvel at that pint-sized, black-and-white feline every time I see her hunting the fence line or stalking her prey in the feedlot. She should have been dead by now, but like that rabbit in the commercial, she just goes on and on and on.

Mysty just �showed up� at our farm three or four years ago. Kind-hearted Phyllis named her Mysty � short for Mystery � because it was a mystery where she came from. Phyllis also befriended her, and she stayed. The next thing I know is that I got a bill from the veterinarian for a spaying job.

�We don�t want a yard full of kittens,� is the way Phyllis put it.

Shorn of motherhood, Mysty made her home in the hay mow. After her operation, the meandering tomcats quit visiting, and so our menagerie grew one by one.

She must be a pretty good mouser because our barn, as far as I know, is free of rodents. She also keeps us from being up to our navels in pigeons because every now and then I�ll find a pile of feathers in the granary; proof that Mysty had been there.

She eats well. Phyllis feeds her when hunting is poor, but Mysty won�t let my cat-loving wife touch her. She must remember that operation. At any rate, she�s way behind on her shots, which saves on the doctor bills.

Mysty is affectionate, though. She rubs up against our miniature horses and Maggie, our golden retriever. The latter move is quite incongruous, however, because most of the time the dog chases the poor cat seemingly with mayhem in mind.

Somehow she survived three South Dakota winters in that cold barn. I�ve half expected Phyllis to hook up an electric blanket for her, but a nest of straw seems to be all she needs (the cat, not Phyllis).

I don�t think Mysty has used up any of her nine lives. She hasn�t been run over or caught up in a baler like one of our other cats. Since coming here, she also hasn�t strayed enough to be poisoned or shot at. No question about it, she�s a survivor.

I suppose Phyllis should get some credit for it. In her untouchable ways, Mysty has been pampered more than most barn cats.

Of course I don�t have anything to do with her (the cat, not Phyllis). All I do is appreciate that she has found a home at our farm.

We�ve had lots of cats through the years: Pickles, Tippy, Darold, Other Brother Darold, Scampi, Tripod Tommie, Toshi, Drifter, etc., etc. There has been only one Mysty, though.

Often aloof, but hardly a scaredy-cat, she minds her own business, and � if a cat could thumb her nose at the world � she would.

So who needs that old television anyhow? We�ve got our own survivor.

� 2002 Robert F. Karolevitz

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