The Crazy Cat Lady on the Hill is what Bill calls me, and I only have two cats. Of course, James the Magnificent is eight years old and 26 pounds. Piwacket, is five and 12 pounds. I call Bill The Crazy Dog Guy with Canine Prize. And he has three dogs: Laddie, five and 105 pounds (Our grandchildren call him Fatty, the Hindenburg. Shame on them.); Rocky, 60 pounds, is a Catahoula Leopard Dog, a Jambalaya mixture from the state of Louisiana; and last, but not least, (since last fall she killed and ate part of a squirrel), Duchess is 16 years old and weighs in at 50 pounds. All five of these animals are rescued, even the purebred, Rocky. So, what is wrong with this picture? Well…

Bill and I sleep in a king-sized bed with Laddie, James and Piwacket. Do the math and you can understand why we are tired each morning. Piwacket the cat sleeps not only with, but also on, Laddie. If he ate him, we would not punish the dog.

Sometimes I’m writing for say, The Independent, and James the Magnificent throws himself onto my chest, destroying precious copy with a punch of his tail. I sing him the “Baby, Baby,” song and he gets down. If Bill is holding my hand, Piwacket comes up and bites us. Duchess and Rocky sleep in my art studio all year round. Rocky I do not trust around my cats, because he was trained to catch alligators—yes really. Well almost. The cats do get on the kitchen table and Laddie stands up on his hind legs and steals hot chicken legs for himself and Duchess. It’s true, I can’t make this up. The eternal question: Are they crazy when they come to us or do we make them (or allow them to be) crazy? Send answers to my email listed in The Independent!

When Bill tells me I am the Cat Lady, I remind him of the difference between dogs and cats as told by that famous writer who wrote often of animals, and the author of the “Jungle Book,” Rudyard Kipling. I will attempt to give you the short version, but you should look it up and read the long version.

Once upon a time, man and woman lived in a cave and had separate duties. The man hunted and the woman gathered. A short while after the woman made the man hang a hide over the entrance to the cave, the man said, “Let’s go and name the animals.” And the woman replied, “It is time.” Man called the animals, and each bowed to the man and woman as they received their names. The cow bowed and was promised grass, the horse bowed and was given oats, the pig bowed and was awarded truffles, (I am from Iowa). The dog bowed and slobbered and was given bones, and so on and so on. You fill in the blanks. And they all lived happily ever after… Wait. One day the woman had a baby who cried all the time. The man left the cave and the woman had to cope. One day a new creature, a cat, came to the door of the cave. “What do you want, I don’t know you, I am crazy with this crying baby?” The cat said, “I can make the baby sleep if you give me milk.” And the woman, at her wits’ end, did it. The cat hugged the baby, and he went to sleep. “You forgot to bow,” said the woman. “The baby is asleep; I bow to none.” And the cat left.

The next day when the baby cried and the man was gone, the cat returned and said, “If you let me get warm by the fire, I will calm the baby.”

“Yes, yes,” said the woman, and there was no talk of bowing. The third day, the man was lucky hunting and came home early. The cat was with the baby who was laughing, but the cat ran out when he saw the man. “Who was that creature who did not bow to me?” asked the man to the woman.

“That is the cat who walks alone and bows to no one. And keeps the baby quiet, so you will not bother him.” He says, “Talk to the paw.” And so forever we grant the cat special privilege. And you got this improbable tale, all true, from a Roaring Mouse. Out.