The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Teaching an old cat new tricks

Selfie with cat

Eight years ago when Strider showed up sick and wet in our barn, he would have been diagnosed with PTSD had he been human. It took years of tiptoeing down the hallway for Mark to prevent our younger cat from running away every time the man of the house entered the room.

And yet...slowly but surely our lost cat has begun to bloom. First he learned to raise a paw on command when Mark offered a treat. He'd sit on my lap and pur more deeply than any cat ever has before. And this year, he learned another new trick --- catching voles.

Ledge catIn the past, Huckleberry has been the hunter in the family. Where we live, this is actually a very good thing since mice try to move into the house every fall and the garden is full of rodents that nibble on our crops. But this year, Huckleberry didn't kill his offerings. Instead, time after time, he brought them through the cat door alive...and let them go.

I growled and complained, but then I realized that our more complacent cat had merely decided Strider was finally ready to expand his repertoire. Sure enough, soon after that final chipmunk had been recaptured, Strider began bringing in voles and consuming them down to the guts, including one massive specimen bigger than any I'd ever seen before.

An online calculator suggests Strider will be turning 48 shortly in human years, definitely no spring chicken. The moral of the story? Whether or not you can teach an old dog new tricks, that rule doesn't apply to cats. Cats, like people, keep growing and changing with every day they spend on this earth.

Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

Not sure if you realize this or not, but the wonderful picture of your cat competely overwrites the post so that many of the words are not distinguishable. :( Having a kitty that's skittish around others as well, I'd love to see how your cat blooms.

Comment by Nayan Wed Dec 7 14:00:27 2016
One thing that helps with Strider is to not walk near him inside with heavy boots on.
Comment by mark Wed Dec 7 16:08:36 2016
I wish my cats would catch voles ... all they bring home are harmless (and beneficial) moles and shrews, along with the occasional deer mouse! (Dead, of course, and often dismembered.)
Comment by Jennifer Quinn Sun Dec 11 14:46:47 2016

profile counter myspace

Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.

Required disclosures:

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies every time you buy something using one of my affiliate links. Don't worry, though --- I only recommend products I thoroughly stand behind!

Also, this site has Google ads on it. Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user's prior visits to a website. Google's use of advertising cookies enables it and its partners to serve ads to users based on their visit to various sites. You can opt out of personalized advertising by visiting this site.