Back in June I blogged about our growing rat problem. Rats are a fact of life, I was going to say 'in the countryside', but they are very much urban dwellers too. Anyone who keeps chickens will eventually encounter these horrid pests and we seem to get a plague of them from time to time. Poison is an option we regard as far too risky, so the only alternative is feline.
Enter stage left, three cats courtesy of the local cats rescue group which is currently snowed under with kittens. What we required, however, was something more streetwise, something bigger, stronger and hungrier. Something, in fact, more like this:
This is the Black Pack. They arrived in June hissing and spitting, scared of everyone and quite aggressive with it. But gradually they softened. Gradually they got used to us, the two legged people with the tins of delicious food. Soon they decided they quite like us really and Toby (at the back) has formed a strong devotion to Granny in the Annexe which involves sitting outside her patio doors and gazing in, lovingly. The other two are Winston (lying down) and Mitch (sitting on the right).
This is Winston again, posing by the wool sack.
All are now great friends too and spend a great deal of time together rubbing their cheeks and generally being very affectionate. When I get up in the morning they are invariably sitting in the garden waiting for their breakfast. When I'm cooking there are sometimes three sets of yellow eyes watching me through the kitchen window.
The rest of the time they spend gazing into the Granny Annexe at the things within. These things include the nice lady with the tins of meat, the lady cat who closes her eyes and pretends the Black Pack doesn't exist, a big squishy sofa, some nice comfy chairs and, most intriguingly of all, a lovely warm wood-burning stove.
Those cats will be inside on that sofa next to that wood-burner by Christmas. I think they know a soft touch when they see one.