I live in a house that is full of furry animals.
And my yard is full of furry and feathered animals.
When the weather changes the surface of my yard goes from frozen tundra to thawed mud and the effects enter my home.
Meaning those furry animals…not the feathered, they don’t get to come inside our house…
…well, okay there was that one time that the hen George Washington ventured in when the heat was at it’s highest, my a/c was broken, and I had the front door propped open.
But, usually, only furry cats and the dog take the trek from barnyard to living room.
Anywho…when the ground goes from frozen because of negative temperatures to mud because the air has warmed to a high of 55, the mud comes into my house.
Aided by little tiny feet.
Four footed creatures.
That leave a trail that you don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to follow.
It’s right there in front of you…it begins in the kitchen, down the hallway, making a right turn into the laundry room where the bowls of cat chow live, back in the hallway heading towards the living room.
This is where the trail can make various turns…sometimes it vanishes into the fibers of the rug that sits on the 100 year old hardwood floors. Or it makes a left hand turn and goes into one of three rooms. Or it goes into all three rooms. I just follow the trail.
And this guy is usually the culprit…
His name is Jumper. He’s one of four siblings that live on our farm. We got him and his three siblings on the Fourth of July in 2011. We had intended to go to a house (a friend of my mom) on that day 6 years ago to get one kitten from the shed in her yard. She had a stray cat in that shed that had given birth to four kittens 8 weeks prior. We couldn’t pick one, so we brought all four babies back to our farm. And they have turned out to be the best cats I have ever had in my life. They are the first siblings pets that I have ever lived with. They are a tight group with one another and with our human family. Zoe named them all…Jumper and Firecracker (the twins as they look exactly alike), Popcorn (who has the markings that his mother did and likes to sleep on his face), and Cali (the lone female of the group and the true leader of them all).
But, Jumper and his mud.
He tracks it all over our house on his sweet little feet.
He loves to sit in the bathtub after someone has taken a shower. His feet are usually dirty because he stalks around in the barn during the morning hours and if the ground outside is mushy from higher temperatures, like it was this week as a warm front pushed up from the south, he just brings the softened, brown earth in with him.
And the trail begins…
Earlier this week I had to clean literally every floor surface to rid them of little gray cat footprints.
I even had to re-wash some clothing that Jumper dirtied. I found him lying on Zoe’s bed next to her clean laundry that I had deposited there for her to put away. He had walked all over a sweatshirt and two t-shirts to get comfy on the blankets behind them.
And the bathroom. Oh boy. He can make a mess in there for someone who weighs less than the dog.
Like I said, he enjoys sitting in the bathtub after someone has showered. He licks up the water droplets and while doing so, he’s getting his feet wet.
His dirty cat feet.
And then he walks onto the bathroom sink counter.
And the toilet lid.
Leaving his trail of dirty, brown, wet feet prints.
Jumper is the sweetest of the four kittens (I will always call then “the kittens” no matter how old they are) so I can cut him some slack. He’s the biggest in size of the kittens, but has the tiniest meow of them all.
Having a home and yard full of animals means the dirt comes and the dirt goes.
Many people will say “well, that’s what you get when you invite that many animals into your life.”
I know many people in my personal life that think it’s odd that we have so many pets, with the loss of our goat Yogurt before Christmas we are down to 20 or so pets. I say 20 or so because we have two hermit crabs and one may or may not be dead right now. They are hibernating and one came out from under the dirt in the crabitat yesterday after being absent for months.
Even though having that many pets on our farm equates to dirt and stink and mess at times, they also offer much love and happiness and laughter for us.
And that overrides everything else.
Everyone has their own idea of happiness.
I have a strong bond with animals, more so than I do with humans.
And I have seen the compassion and empathy that comes with living with animals in my daughters. They exhibit these traits onto their peers and even on strangers. They have had relationships with furry creatures since their births. We have seen their lives bursting with happiness when kittens or baby chicks enter their world. And we have offered unlimited hugs when one of them dies.
So the mess, it’s really not on the top of the list of pros/cons of animal ownership.
Who really owns who here anyway?
I’m the one with the mop, not the cat.
I just wish Jumper would learn to wipe his paws on the rug before he comes inside.