Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pets in the Garden - Kitty Helpers

Over at Gardening Gold Wild, Nan Ondra invited us to talk about pets in the garden as the subject for February's Garden Bloggers' Design Workshop.
With our 12 barn cats and 2 pampered house cats, I almost always have at least one kitty helper, and usually more than I really need.

Reuben and Peige (brother and sister) are a couple of my faithful shadows. Peige is a fence hugger.

She's always looking for a cuddle....

....but is sometimes content to just act as lookout.

Speaking of which, Murphy, self proclaimed King Cat and protector, seems to think of the birds' feeding tray as his own personal lookout post. I have to keep explaining to him that it's off limits.

In early spring, with the return of warmer temperatures, the barn cats begin to spend more time outside in the yard. Tink and Murphy like to hang out in the lilac bush. Posted by Picasa

Some of the others think the daffodils make a fine jungle for romping in. Here we have Cleo, Jasmine and sweet Kaspurr, who sadly is no longer with us after meeting his match with a ferilizer truck last spring (story here).
Our driveway is a busy place and some of the kitties are not too smart about moving out of the way of vehicles. They really embarrass me sometimes when a vehicle approaches and they just sit like lumps, apparently believing that no harm can possibly come to them in their driveway. I have to race out, arms waving madly, to shoo them out of the way.

Miss Molly (formerly known as Max. Some long time readers may remember her story) hiding in the daffs.
When the kitties decide to play a game of chase through their 'jungle' they make me rather nervous, but surprisingly they do very little damage.

Pretty Tink is never far from me when I'm in the garden.

And Jasmine likes to keep an eye on things.

We haven't made any specific design modifications to accommodate the cats because they pretty much do their own thing. And I don't worry about them eating poison plants because they seem to instinctively know what not to chew on.

Cleo spends a lot of time washing herself while Molly waits patiently for her to play.Posted by Picasa

Now Tink, you know the rules. That's not your tray!

Molly sits on the Lily Garden fence. She's usually somewhere close by when I'm weeding or digging.

Uh oh. That tray really is a popular spot. It's a good thing the birds have other feeders.

Willow followed me over the bank this sunny day as I snapped wildflower photos.

And dear Phoebe came along too.

They love those fences! Posted by Picasa

Miss Olivia is Phoebe's little girl. Posted by Picasa

And there's her sister, Isabelle, on the porch, with Jasmine on the steps, soaking up the sunshine on a golden September afternoon.

The kitties do sometimes use the flower beds to do their business, especially when a bed has newly added compost. Of course this is firmly discouraged when they're caught in the act, but cats will be cats, and while scooping poop isn't my favorite thing, I'm willing to put up with a little inconvenience for the pleasure of their company. Posted by Picasa
We have a saw mill and there's always a pile of sawdust somewhere for them to dig in, which helps keep them away from the gardens to some extent.

Summer and winter they entertain us with their antics and lavish affection upon us. I couldn't imagine our garden without them.

Just the other day I was out taking pictures of the frost on a very chilly morning, and of course my faithful helpers were there with me. Posted by Picasa
These past 2 days have been wonderfully warm and sunny, and quite a lot of the snow has melted. The temperature almost reached 50ºF/10ºC today! Isn't it funny how 50º feels cold in the fall, but warm as spring approaches? It's all relative I suppose.

Molly sits on the plant table soaking up sunshine, waiting for the time to come when she can spend more hours outdoors on days like today.

And Jasmine dreams on the back of the couch.

Do you suppose she's dreaming of being surrounded by colorful, sweet smelling blooms? Posted by Picasa


Gail said...[Reply]

Kerri, Wonderful post..I could take anyone of your beautiful boys and girls home with me! I miss having a cat in the garden..we have a house kitty. He's wonderful but a cat in the garden is a delight! gail

Gardeness said...[Reply]

This was such a delightful post, Kerri, especially for a cat lover. I wish I could have so many. Peige the fence hugger is too cute. Well, they all are really. Murphy looks very important. What a fun group you have. Awesome photos, too.

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...[Reply]

Oh, Kerri, what a great post, and such happy happy catchildren. I remember the sadness over losing Kaspurr so didn't read that post again or I'd cry and that's not good first thing in the morning. I LOVE the fence-hugger Peige and the couchhugger and the birdfeeder-lookout sitters...It's lovely to see those rustic fences and such a happy yard--and we know the snow will leave. Eventually.

Tabor said...[Reply]

This post brought back memories of the cats we had on our farm when I was a little girl. I developed an allergy when I became a teenager and haven't been able to hang out with cats since. (I must say Phoebe is the most elegant!)

GardenJoy4Me said...[Reply]

Kerri ... what a wonderful post to read and see for a cat lover such as I !
You have taken flawless, beautiful pictures of the cat kids (right now Sophie is head butting me for a brushing) she must know I am writing to you about your "kids" ? LOL .. You have gorgeous furry souls in your life : ) .. they love you to bits .. cats have a certain "look" in their eyes : ) LOL

Cathy said...[Reply]

Very nice post Kerri,
Love the Cat photos, reminds me of my childhood I grew up with one dog and a cat named Annie she lived for 23 years...Her being a Russian Blue
she was tiny.

Sandra said...[Reply]

Kerri, I loved taking a walk wiith you and your sweet family of cats!
I had to forward your email to my granddaughter away at college! She has always loved her kittens. I know she will be awwwing and smiling the whole time she is 'walking around'. Your marrative is delightful. ;o)

Roses and Lilacs said...[Reply]

Kerri, I loved this post. You could make a calendar with those great photos. When I moved here there were dozens of barn cats all wild. Took me two years to trap and have them all spayed/neutered. What a job that was!

verobirdie said...[Reply]

What a lovely post! Sure, you could make a calendar out of those pictures.

Cameron (Defining Your Home) said...[Reply]


Such a sweet story! I loved meeting all of your kitty family. They're just so adorable. I miss having barn cats, but I no longer live where I have a barn or farm.


WiseAcre said...[Reply]

I really lingered over this post. I couldn't get enough of your furballs and all their poses. Peige slightly edged out the others as my favorite.

My cats sensed something was up. They must have felt my 'cuteness response' to your kitties and 2 of them came to interrupt by jumping on my lap while another sat in front of the monitor.

garden girl said...[Reply]

What wonderful kitties Kerri! They sure bring a lot of life to your garden.

I had a Murphy years ago when my kids were small. He looked more like your Willow, but like your Murphy he also claimed the title of King Cat. Or maybe it was King of the World now that I think back on it.

Nan Ondra said...[Reply]

What a lovely post, Kerri! I'm so glad you shared this. Hey - were you aware that Fine Gardening is having a Pets in the Garden photo contest this month? I could definitely see you entering some of these. It's at, if you're interested.

cindee said...[Reply]

Beautiful pictures of the kitties. I have two but they rarely help in the garden except to make deposits. My dog helps though(-:

Susie said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri,
I always so enjoy it when you post pictures of all your kitties in your garden!
They're all such beautiful/handsome pals!
Glad to hear you're warming up a bit. It's not too long till spring.
Our bit of rainfall made things really nice and green.
We have a sunshiney day today, but they're saying more rain over the weekend!
love and ((hugs))

Bren said...[Reply]

awwww...... Ms. Olivia looks like my Molly I lost a few years back. Thank you for sharing your garden friend with us on the web. I LOVE YOUR BLOG! Can't wait to return.

Frances said...[Reply]

Oh Kerri, I do so loved seeing all your beauties, and they are the most attractive cats I have ever seen all in one place. Sorry Bliss team! :-) They are all charming and I loved seeing them on the fence and feeder table even if that is a no no.

Karen said...[Reply]

Oh, I just love seeing photos of your cats! Thanks for this post, Kerri.

CONEFLOWER said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri! I love this post. I adore cats but am terribly allergic to them, so this was delightful as I could enjoy and their catness and not start wheezing. They are all beautiful and obviously each is the most adorable and the most important.

Jellyhead said...[Reply]

Kerri, your cats are very photogenic ;-)

The funniest photo is Murphy, just waiting for an unsuspecting bird to come along!!

Have a wonderful weekend!

JGH said...[Reply]

I really enjoyed this - especially because I love cats but have none of my own (allergies!) I love how you've named and featured each of your cats with their favorite activity, giving us an idea of the character of each. They look so happy and at home.

em said...[Reply]

kerri, lovely pictures! i love the fence hugging one, and the flowers! oh, i can't wait for spring! thanks for brightening my day!

Isabelle said...[Reply]

Oh, as I've said before, I want to be you (except in the winter. Too cold.) All that fluffiness and such a big garden and wonderful view. Sigh.

sweet bay said...[Reply]

Kerri beautiful cat AND garden photos! Peige looks like a miniature lynx standing on the fence. I have a soft spot for calicos. Tink is especially beautiful.

Apple said...[Reply]

Your cats are always such a delight! Molly will probably always be my favorite. If John wasn't allergic I'm certain I'd have a couple here. And all the spring and summer pictures helped warm up a terribly cold day. I'm very jealous that you can see the grass in places :( I really need to move south - at least 10 miles. LOL

Monica the Garden Faerie said...[Reply]

Wow, what a great post! I love all the photos, and well, fence posts USED to be trees, so there's nothing wrong with being a fence hugger! ;-) I made a garden specificially for cats and need to do a post yet today... I have more photos of the plants than I do of cats, though. DOH!!!! You did a better job.

Marie said...[Reply]

Great post :)
Nice cats :)

Sweet Pea said...[Reply]

They are all so cute and such great pictures. I love Murphy surveying things form the tray feeder. Your cats in the gardens are just too sweet!

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...[Reply]

I just realized that my post showed up under my daughter's account (Sweet pea), but I know she'd agree with me :)

Lisa at Greenbow said...[Reply]

What a wonderful group of garden helpers you have Kerri. You have a great knack of photographing them in the best of light. How did the two that live indoors get that special privelege?

Val said...[Reply]

Lovely portraits, and great to see the colours of your garden! Its been warm in the UK for the time of year, tempting us all out into the gardens. I went for a walk and forgot to take a coat, thats how warm it is!

Meems said...[Reply]

Oh my, you have the most attractive group of helpers. They are all just the cutest. I especially like Phoebe with her gray streaked nose. What a nice addition they all make to your beautiful colorful garden. I bet they keep some pesky pests at bay too.

Noella said...[Reply]

I am in love with Jasmine too!

Oh, and the other 12 barn cats!

Sounds like heaven for them - and for me too!

Alice said...[Reply]

All you needed to do was add a month of dates to each photo and we'd have had the most beautiful 'cat calendar' ever.

Even this non-cat person can drool over your feline family, Kerri. Poor, poor, Peige having to snuggle up to a hard fence rail. Give her a cuddle from me, please.

I sometimes wonder how you remember all their names or tell them apart.......but then we named all our cows and many of them were almost identical in looks, but we always knew who was who. I'm sure you are just the same.

They all look so well cared for, and even so well loved.

Meow for now - 'Alice'

Anonymous said...[Reply]

Beautiful photos, Kerri, You caught so much personality in each shot. I can see them on a COLORS OF THE GARDEN calendar!

Kathleen said...[Reply]

Kerri, this is such a GREAT post. You have so many adorable kitties, I agree with Marnie, you should make a calendar! I LOVE the photo of Peige, the fence hugger. That is too cute for words. You're so lucky to have such great garden helpers. I'd love to have even half as many.

Jean said...[Reply]

All of your kitties are so cute and look so happy. I wish I could have my little kitty friends out with me in the garden but because of all the un-neutered cats that wander around here, we keep them inside. I loved all the photos of your flowers and cats. I'm surprised they don't do more damage! I also liked your bird photos.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...[Reply]

Those are some very cute, very happy cats! They make wonderful photographer's models, adding just the right touch to a garden composition.

Liisa said...[Reply]

I just love your kitties! They look so cute lazing by the flowers. I really like the picture of Tink on the kitty lookout - oops, I mean bird feeding tray. I enjoyed seeing your colorful blooms, too!

Anonymous said...[Reply]

Kerri, you sure have some cute garden helpers!

Northern Shade said...[Reply]

You've captured a great deal of their individual personalities in your photos and descriptions. I imagine it makes gardening even more fun, when you can watch their antics as you work. I love all of the photos, whether perched on high, or peeking out from between blooms.

Mountain Mama said...[Reply]

Your kitties are so pretty! I wish I could have one of my own, but we have so many predators here I'm afraid it would be killed. I don't think there is anything more fun to watch than a couple kittens.

Your pictures are really beautiful. The kitties are so sweet among the flowers.

I hope Miss Spring is beginning to show herself at your lovely farm. She is trying here but was outdone by a nasty snowstorm last week, The snow is gone now, thank heaven!

Have a great week Kerri and thank you for a beautiful post.

Giroflée said...[Reply]

hello Kerri
so happy to see your marvellous garden and cats ,you know Ilove both ,thank you

Barbara said...[Reply]

As I am allergic to cat hair, we do not have one. But our youngest son, who doesn't live with us anymore, recently bought two little sweet kitties. Your Murphy looks like his Figaro and Miss Molly has almost the same face as his Melody (they are brother and sister). They are house cats and so cute! By the way, your beautiful pictures show how much you like your little garden helpers!

Anonymous said...[Reply]

What delightful pictures of your cats. To have so many around and still have lots of birds coming in is fantastic.
I particularly liked the pic of the cat laying on the wood rail, holding on for dear life bythe looks of it.

manuela said...[Reply]

Moi qui adore les chats, ces photos sont magnifiques ! mais combien en as tu donc ? Ce blog est une petite merveille à visiter. Et les photos de fleurs !!! superbes ! Si tu veux faire la connaissance des mes 2 compagnons à 4 pattes, une visite chez moi s'impose ! Moi, je reviendrais. A très +

Antigonum Cajan said...[Reply]

There very few things more captivating than domestic felines
in the garden, roaming, sleeping,
watching carefully what goes around.

In my urban context, however it is
a little different. I noticed that the amount of cats is higher now
than a year ago..

Birds of any kind, used to the city,
are no longer visiting, or hanging out as they used to do.

Excellent posting/blog.

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri,
Your post is are your gardens! I know you can't wait to see them bloom again!
The weather certainly has been strange this year! We had only a tiny bit of snow all winter and then suddenly we got dumped on! I cannot wait to see my gardens again:) I know yours have been hidden all, I can't complain.

I love kitties. We have just one, an indoor cat. We don't have land like you do...just a suburban yard in the suburbs!! Makes me wish we could move to the country--but that's not practical for us. My husband works in D.C.

I was asked about my bluebirds by a blogger who had talked w/you...You know, these bluebirds just literally 'show up'. I don't entice them at all. Just birdseed. I tried meal worms a couple of times but they didn't eat them!! I really think they just like having the water available all winter.

I hope you have a great day!

Lesley said...[Reply]

Just gorgeous.

How do the cats work with your lovely birds, do the bird suffer much kitty predation?? It's a big problem in the suburbs of Britain although thankfully not out here in the sticks as we only have 2 neighbours and no cats!

Lesley x

Cat with a garden said...[Reply]

You have very beautiful Gardening Cats - lucky you! The pictures were amazing! Nice to meet all of them. And we absolutely LOVED the colours in your garden...

Shauna said...[Reply]

I am new here! What a great blog :)

Mo said...[Reply]

Oh my! What sweet kitties! I would love your house! Great pictures!

Su Chua Phin 徐蔡斌 said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri, you are not only a good gardener, but a fantastic photographer too, well done !

Greetings from cat city Kuching :)

Jan said...[Reply]

What adorable cat photos! You really seem to have some sweet kitties who look so cute surrounded by your flowers.

Always Growing

Kanak Hagjer said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri! What adorable cat photos! And a beautiful garden with gorgeous blooms...

Thank you so much for visiting my blog the other day. Wonderful 'meeting' you. Have a great Sunday!

inlandempiregirl said...[Reply]

Your cats in the garden posts are one of my favorites. I was out with my camera today too as the cats began to ease outside again in the sunshine. They are as eager as I am for spring!!

The Giraffe Head Tree said...[Reply]

Just look at them all! I love cats SO very much and wish we could have a dozen or so. Our dog wishes we had a cat too, but for more sinister reasons. Thank you for sharing your kitties with those of us less fortunate, cat-less people.

Seeing Anew said...[Reply]

Your cats are so photogenic! Your photos of them are beautiful. They make me just want to scoop each one up and cuddle them!

Titania said...[Reply]

Kerri I love your cats. They are all such characters. I think they have the best life a cat can have. Don't you hate it when you hear that cats are declawed, because it is not convenient for the people to have a cat with claws. I think this is awful and should be prohibited. I am so happy when I see animals treated the right way, they are so lucky to live with you.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...[Reply]

Kerri...What a precious post with such adorable felines. Do you let Jasmine outside now that she has become your house cat?

Anonymous said...[Reply]

I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.