Despite the fact I’ve always tried to avoid cats (aloof vermin that view the whole world as their litter box), two of the little buggers are trying to worm their way into my heart. Shadow, a Siamese-colored female with faint tabby-like stripes, and Pumpkin, a classic orange tabby, wandered or were dumped onto our place shortly before Halloween. And because they were “free” they’ve only cost us about $200 for checkups, worming, vaccinations and spaying. They spend the day outdoors and the night in a crate in the house because my wife and daughter, who like them more than me is allergic. So I spend part of the day grumbling about “Cats” until the other night when my wife calls me at my night job and asks that I keep an eye out for Pumpkin who wasn’t there to be let in when called in the evening. When I get home, the look on my wife’s face says there’s still no Pumpkin. I went out with a flashlight and there was no sign of her. I woke up first the next morning and went out to walk the entire property. I even used some of the strange skills you acquire in the country. Coyotes around? No, no tracks in the freshly plowed earth. Owls or hawks? No bits of fur near or downwind of the house., etc. Exhausted every lead until on a lark I unlocked the large utility building the there she was. Would have looked there in the first place but I was told the cat was at the evening feeding after the building was already locked up. Turns out no one really saw the cats when the food was put out. The look on my wife’s face made all the foolishness worth it. So I guess I have to admit that those cats are growing on me Gonna have to get me a bigger dog to protect my manliness.