Early every winter morning Cloudy Cat arrives to sit on the plant bench outside the window. He is patient. He knows I will fill the dishes in the house and open the cat door. He leaps in.
I sweep up the debris from the firewood littering the floor while Cloudy eats. He gets done first. And panics. The cat door is closed. He begins meowing, demanding to be let out.
Woe to any other cat who needs to go out or come in. Cloudy is there at the door any time it opens impatiently waiting for me to go to the barn.
After starting the fire and eating breakfast, I head to the barn. Cloudy Cat leads the way, tail up, triumphant. His insistence has paid off. (Never mind that I go through the same routine every morning and always go to the barn to milk.)
Now comes show off time. Roll on the ground to trip walkers. Race by and up a tree. Bat a snowball or rock or bit of wood around. Keep checking to be sure of being noticed.
The pay off is milk in a bowl still warm from the goat eating on the milkstand.
Cloudy Cat does catch mice in the barn. He must as he stays fat and sleek. I have seen him catch a few.
Mostly I see Cloudy showing off his technique. He crouches poised on a feed barrel top waiting for any mouse stupid enough to come out while the goats and I are tromping around. Amazingly, a few do.
When the weather permits, Cloudy enjoys shadowing me on a walk down the road and back. In bad weather he curls up in the hay or on a goat blanket to sleep. He insists on staying in the barn and has ever since he arrived here five or six years ago.
Late afternoons Cloudy is back at the house to eat dinner. He again retreats outside and waits. It is time to go to the barn so he can have his milk.
Once warm weather gets here and the cat door is open all the time, Cloudy Cat will stop sitting on the plant bench. He will come in and sit on top of me. After all, he is determined to get me out to that barn.