Cabin fever has overtaken our little home. And it isn’t a case of cabin fever on Lindsay or Andrew. It’s our three cats: Muncy, Butters, and Mama.
The cold and snow have forced them inside so we’ve bought them extra catnip, mice to bat around and a new scratching pad. This entertains them for a little while, but Muncy, our Maine Coon cat is getting even more restless. Andrew has even gotten down on his hands and knees chasing Muncy around the house and wrestling with him.
And Mama is swatting at any cat that walks past her. Lindsay wakes Mama and Butters up from their constant napping just to get them to move from their spot every few hours. So, on the weekends when it seems like it’s been days since they’ve been outside, we wake them all up and force them outside for a walk.
We might be a little different from the usual cat owners, in that we take our cats for walks on a regular basis. Usually we just walk around the woods through the yard and neighboring yards, but on occassion we are followed further into the woods. Once Andrew found Muncy following him about 1.5 miles from the house!
Muncy is always eager to go on a walk with us through the woods. He bounds through the woods, climbing trees and chasing the other cats.
Mama loves to follow us, but she is a cat of her own accord. She rarely runs, but walks along creating her own path.
Taking after her mama, Butters also likes to do her own thing in the woods. She is the youngest of our cat pack and we regularly have to call and wait for her to catch up. All the cats meow when we are on our walks but Butters is by far the most vocal.
We’ve had Muncy for close to 6 years now, adopting him back when we were living in southwestern NH. We got him as a kitten where he exhibited the classic Maine Coon characteristics of loyalty to his owners but shyness to others. It wasn’t until we moved to northern NH a couple of years later that Muncy became full grown. It was as if overnight he suddently fluffed up. Here he is in his full winter coat.
When we walk down by Crescent Brook, only Mama and Muncy walk out on the ice. Even with us calling to her, Butters wouldn’t go near the Brook. Maybe she fell in recently, like Mama almost did a couple of weekends ago? We had taken the cats here on a particularly warm day and Mama broke an ice chunk into the Brook almost falling into the frigid water herself. She doesn’t seem concerned today.
Butters shows off her climbing skills and takes her time looking around to get a view of the world from 10 feet off the ground.
Mama prefers to walk up tilted deadfall trees, but today she stays closer to the ground.
Where’s Muncy? There! Running toward us!
We got Mama and Butters together when we first moved to the area. Mama was so small and Butters was still nursing. They’ve grown fat and happy living with us.
When we take our cats for a walk we stay within our neighborhood woods, stopping often, and making sure we can see all three. Sometimes the cats will call out to us and we call their name so they know where we are. Andrew likes to meow back to them, which seems to work just as well as calling their name.
After the first cold snow fall, it isn’t unusual for one of us to carry one the cats for a little bit during the walk. A few minutes of warmth and love seems to encourage them. Muncy gets very excited when we go for walks and tends to get very cuddley, rubbing our legs, meowing, and begging to be picked up. But at any moment he’ll jump out of your arms and run full steam ahead toward a tree.
After our walk with the cats, Muncy and Mama find a nice sunny spot on the porch and watch us shovel the driveway. But where is Butters?
Already claiming her spot for rest of the afternoon and evening, Butters settles in her favorite chair, taking in the warmth of the wood stove, the occassional snuggle from Muncy, and pat from us.