Living with men is so difficult. They soon start acting as though they own you. Expect you to adjust your schedule to fit theirs. Make it difficult for you to go out when you want to. Demand affection when it suits them, irrespective of your mood. I made my break for freedom and independence last spring, and I have not regretted it yet.
Its 6.30 a.m. stark black; the coldest part of the night. Shadow stirs and whickers to her stablemate. I move out of the nest I have made in her bedding, lest she step on me when she makes her ungainly scramble to her feet. Shadow stretches contentedly. She hears the catch of the gate and whickers at the man. The man answers with the breakfast she and her friend have ordered. Then he changes their rugs and lets them out onto the fields, with a friendly pat on their necks.
When the horses have had their fill of playing and grazing they will return to the gate together. The man will obey their summons and let them back into their stables, which he will have cleaned and supplied with fresh hay and water. At 6.30 p.m. he will give them another feed. They have him well trained. They reward him by standing quietly when he's changing their rugs. They let him groom and stroke them. And occasionally they motivate him with an affectionate nuzzle.
My species is more intelligent than the equine. I, too, could train this man to give me the food I like and provide a warm bed. The man walks back to the house, where I will be waiting to welcome him.
Kim Noble lives in Dorset in England with her husband and horses. Puss is in the process of adopting the whole family.
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