Six Degrees of Comfort

Yesterday was chilly and I was cold.

I don’t know if I was so cold because the weather went from “warm enough to wear t-shirts” to “cold enough to wear a winter coat and hat” in just a few days. Or maybe the dampness from all the rain made the chilliness feel cold. I think damp cold is almost worse than snow cold.

Whatever the reason, I was cold all morning. After I finished off the pot of coffee, I switched over to drinking hot tea just to try to warm my hands. I wore a sweatshirt and wrapped myself in blankets. I put on the very warm cat slippers my friend gave me as a gift last year. I was still cold.

The radio cabinet cat house.

I finally decided that I had to do more than shiver all day, so I went outside to see if I could improve on the cat house I had made for the outside cats in the garage. I tried different-sized wooden boxes, but I couldn’t make them as warm as the house I had already made.  Basically I put an old snowmobile suit in a box in an old radio cabinet, which I insulated. For added insulation, I hung another old snowmobile suit over the cabinet with the entrance between the suit’s legs. Annie loves her cat house and sleeps in it all the time.

Madeline’s box

Madeline prefers to sleep high on a room-sized rug lying on some boxes at the back of the garage. EJ will eventually put the rug down in his office area when he gets the garage more organized. I made a comfy box for Madeline there. It’s not as good as the radio house, but I want her to get used to the box. She can share the radio house with Annie when it gets colder. Besides, I’m not quite finished trying to design warm houses for them. I also lay down a thick mat and set the cats’ food and water dishes on it so their little paws don’t get cold from the cement floor.

In the process of working on cat houses, I moved things around and ended up organizing EJ’s garage a bit more. I actually didn’t do a whole lot, but the little that I did cleared a large area of space. Working in the garage warmed me up but when I came back into the house, I got chilled again. I figured that setting the thermostat at 60 degrees might be a little too low so I inched it up to 62 degrees. A few hours later I was still chilled, so I inched it up to 64. When JJ came home from school, he asked if we could set the thermostat higher. Since he’s had chemotherapy for cancer, his hands get very cold very easily. I told him that I already had set the thermostat four degrees higher. He asked if we could set it another four degrees higher. I thought that was too much so I compromised by setting it only two degrees higher.

Look! No rain!

This morning temperatures outside were in the 20s–brrrrr!–but it warmed up to about 50 degrees through the day. I wasn’t quite as cold today as yesterday. I think I just need time to adjust to the colder weather. The day was mostly sunny and very beautiful. I’m soaking in the beauty because it won’t be long before we get snow. EJ says that Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has just gotten 10 inches of snow.

Madeline had spent several rainy days in the garage, but she was out enjoying the day today. I took these photos of her by the gate to the poultry pen as I watched her through our bedroom window.

I have a confession to make: I was weak and gave in to temptation.

First, let me explain. It seems to me that usually there is always one person in every couple who says NO to more animals, which really keeps the animal adoption rate down. However, EJ and I both love animals. And we tend to accumulate them. Especially cats. EJ can say “NO” to more chickens and ducks, and he says “NO!” when I tell him (jokingly?) that we should get a cow, or a horse, or a goat, sheep, llama, kangaroo, camel, or giraffe. Surprisingly, he said “yes” when I said we should get a baby elephant, but I don’t know where to buy elephants so I guess we are safe. I think EJ would maybe let me get a dragon if I could find one and if I pleaded hard enough. A dragon would be better at protection than even a guard dog–although feeding it might be tricky.

I am able to say “NO” to cats more often, which is difficult because I love cats as much as EJ. I can say “No!” (most of the time) because I just keep in mind the articles about crazy cat ladies who have 500 cats. I have said “No” to more cats for a long, long time. But after Tesla died of old age a year ago, Annie looked very lonely, so we decided to get her another companion. They could cuddle up and keep each other warmer in the winter, we told each other, which is very Biblical: As Ecclesiastes 4 says: “Two are better than  one…if two people [or cats?] sleep together, they keep each other warm; but how can one person be warm by himself?” So we got Madeline.

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I couldn’t say “No” to this beauty.

But getting Madeline weakened my resolve, put a crack in my ability to say “No!” to more cats. In a Facebook group this week, someone shared this photo of a beautiful cat and said she needed a new home. I called the owner today and she said that it is a very friendly cat and a good mouser. She has been living in the barn, but some sort of wild animal has moved into the barn and it ate the cat’s food (so she got very skinny) and scared her. She has been hanging out at the door of their house and meowing to be let in. The owner said she can’t let her in the house because her son is allergic to cats. We have a special love for black cats, which usually don’t get adopted as easily as other cats because of superstition. And October is an especially bad time to find a new home for black cats because people mistreat them at Halloween. As EJ said, we know that we won’t be mistreating this black cat and we would give her a good home. So EJ did not say “No!” when I told him about this kitty. I mean, seriously, how could we say no? We are going to meet her on Saturday morning and undoubtedly adopt her. She will be another companion for Annie and Madeline.

I told EJ that he MUST say “NO! NO! NO!” if I weaken again.

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A friend gave me this sign a few years ago.

2 Comments on “Six Degrees of Comfort

    • I agree. The owner said that the cat was getting very thin so she took it to the vet, thinking it was sick. The cat was in good health, however, so the vet said it was likely there was a wild animal in the barn–possibly a coon, they thought. But there are all sorts of wild animals in the area, so who knows. A wild animal in the barn seems likely, especially since the cat didn’t want to go in the barn. The owner tried to trap the wild animal, but was unsuccessful, so the best option seemed to be to find the cat a new home. They did get her weight back up.


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