Who’s afraid of Virginia Wolfe?

Virgina in her room with a view.

Virginia in her room with a view.

Around here, Virginia Wolfe is considered ‘the other woman’ since she commands a significant amount of my husband’s attention. He adores both her and Catherine Mansfield almost equally, and spends much time expounding upon their virtues and generally referencing them at every turn in his daily life. He spent many years teaching their novels at different Universities he worked at, and whenever I am struggling with my writing, it is one of those two women he turns to for his  ‘Educating Rita’ type lessons. More often than not, Virginia wins by a hair: “She is the master of sentence structure,” he tells me proudly, as if he secretly had something to do with her ability.

Since building our new poultry barn which allows us to store more animal feed, I have wanted to have a cat around to keep the mice away. Three days ago, Clarence fulfilled my wishes and brought a wild kitten from his place to Howling Duck Ranch for me. It was the only one left of about 30 wild cats he’d been feeding around his home; the others were eaten by the cougar (which was finally killed last week). He’d thought he’d lost all of them until this little gal showed up again the other day, and he offered her to me.

I had not wanted a cat because of the worry about having to train them not to eat my own stock. I’m hoping that because she was raised on Clarence’s place, she won’t be difficult to keep from going after my birds (like me, he keeps a flock of about 100 chickens for eggs)–Clarence wouldn’t put up with a chicken -killing cat or any animal, for that matter.

She is an orange cat with green eyes, a white bib, white and darker orange rings on her tail, and white French tipped toes. Once I had her safely installed in my little old gal’s ‘live animal’ transport cage (that had brought Tatra back to Canada from New Zealand), I began searching for names. Amber… no that’s the name of a gal that runs the local campground; Peaches… no, my friend’s dog has taken that; Kit, as in Kit-cat… no, that was the name of my horse in Regina, Saskatchewan. It occurred to me that my husband might like to come up with a name since he’d not named many of the critters around here; besides he’s really more of a cat person than I am.

While I was cooking dinner and pondering this, the cat meowed. Actually, I have yet to hear a full throttled meow out of her; this sound was more of a peep–well, as close to a peep as a cat can manage. I went to see what she wanted and as I opened the door to the ‘Room of Her Own’, quite involuntarily, the first few bars of ‘Only the Good Die Young’, with only slight variation to the lyrics, escaped my lips: ‘Come out, Virginia, don’t let me wait/You kitty-cat girls start much too late’–and it just seemed appropriate. Virginia. Virginia kitty. Not only would this name satisfy the Literature Professor in my hubby (I rationalized); it also appeals to the Billy Joel fan in me. Besides, rumor has it that Virgina Wolfe said in public that Catherine Mansfield ‘smelled like a civet cat’, which is a pretty catty thing to say about someone!

Virginia kitty.

Virginia kitty, the newest member of Howling Duck Ranch.



Filed under Just for fun

8 responses to “Who’s afraid of Virginia Wolfe?

  1. That’s a good looking kit! If she follows the usual Clarence pattern, she ought to be more helpful and wise than you might imagine. Best of luck with her! (Love the name, by the way – I’m a fan of both current and previous generations of Albees.)

  2. Your wild kitty seems pretty tame.
    She’s sure a beauty! I wonder if your hubby will let her become the barn cat and not a lap warmer instead??

  3. City Mouse-I’m sure she will be wily as E. Coyote!

    Ceecee-she’s still excruciatingly timid and won’t come out of her house unless I lift her out. Having said that, last night she test-drive my lap…but…her job will be to work the barn!

  4. Have you ever heard the theory that all orange cats are male? I have, but little V disproves that.
    Welcome Virginia!

  5. compostwoman

    What a beauty!

  6. Jo

    She is beautiful! And what a great name for such a beauty!

  7. I guess there is nothing to stop her doing critter duty but sleeping on laps between shifts?. Somehow l can forsee another one totally feral and happy to live in a barn being brought in while Virginia moves into the house.
    She looks very sweet, good to hear that something survived the cougar.

    Orange cats are male and female but if you want a sex only cat get a tortishell (multicoloured one) they are all female. Those that have shown male characteristics such as having testies are often not fully formed. I have known 1 male tortie in over 11 years and was with the vet that found it. That was the first she had seen in over 15years.

  8. LittleFfarm Dairy

    Our chief ‘barn cat’ is Moriarty the Merciless,

    our fearsome Maine Coon ratter who is a veritable force to be reckoned with & keeps all the local ferals, at bay – not to mention being a consummate vermin control expert.

    However when I first made his acquaintance as a two-year-old rescue cat, he’d never been outside in his life. Gently encouraging him to join us in the garden one summer’s day, only resulted in him pressing himself against the ground in terror; when the lightest whisper of wind caressed his luxuriant fur, something he’d sadly never experienced before. But he soon overcame his fear; & now we live on the Ffarm, he is by far the most admired cat in the area.

    Meanwhile sweet little Silli (purring next to me as we ‘speak’) & darling nutty Nevada (whose Auntie stars as Mrs Norris in the ‘Harry Potter’ films), do their bit to curtail the local mouse population – although the two ladies are only allowed out during the day as I’m too worried about the unwanted attentions of local foxes, to let them out overnight.

    Poor Clarence – fancy losing all those lovely, valuable vermin-catching cats to the cougar. People really have no idea: preferring their personal perspective of “cute, fluffy, big pussycat cougar” to the stark reality of “nature’s red-in-tooth-&-claw, natural-born formidable & frankly dangerous, predator”. So little Virginia is evidently a survivor….& no wonder she’s nervous, bless her!

    Incidentally we used to have a wonderful puss, named Shaui (an ancient Egyptian name, which means Wild Lady Cat); she tragically passed away a couple of years ago at the ripe onld age of twenty-two. She sleeps eternally (in a fine custom-built coffin which Tony crafted for her) beneath a little apple tree in the orchard behind our cottage, in the spot closest to the Rayburn where she used to love to warm her elegant little feline toes.

    I mention her because, being an Abyssinian, she was the spitting image of a miniature cougar; however for me your problems have highlighted how very different these two types of cat, are: one, a delightful welcome home; the other, a shiver of fear every time you venture outside.

    But I’m sure that nevertheless, there will be those who will castigate you for being ‘cruel’ & ‘callous’, for eating the cougar’s meat…..just as they do for us, when we are forced to take our goat kids to the abattoir & subsequetly consume their meat.

    Yet why is any of this, so different to eating supermarket chicken for goodness’ sake…? Ohhh, yes: the cougar – like our goat kids – enjoyed a happy, stress-free life; whereas the intensively-reared supermarket chicken…..frankly folks, didn’t.

    For goodness’ sake, get a life, people.

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