As friends and family know, I'm not that fond of cats. They're great aesthetic objects (especially Siamese and Burmese) but lousy pets, as far as I'm concerned. Given my passion for dogs, horses, and open fields, I probably should have been an 18th-century lord of the manor, someone like Squire Western in Fielding's splendid read, Tom Jones.
I admit readily that cats provide a useful service in barns, limiting the rodent population and keeping other small critters at bay. No argument there. The cat population at Southwind farm, however, has exploded exponentially. We have decrepit cats, who have outlived their ability to mouse; badly behaved cats, who piss on saddle pads and foul the tack room; and stupid cats, who don't know the first thing about horses. Several boarders are placing bets on one particularly gormless feline. She lands on horses' backs--claws extended--and gets underfoot. Before long, we will be scraping her off the roof or picking her remains from a horse's hoof.
To be fair, several of the cats do their job, behave fairly well, and comport themselves sensibly. I have no quarrel with them. Regarding the badly behaved cats, though, an idea of Sweeney Todd proportions did occur to me after seeing this photo . . .