The frog sat there steady in its certainty that nothing was going to jump into the pond after it. Wrong, Xenia, Empress of All She Surveys, was not so easily avoided. She jumped in, and soon an amazed frog was being carried out of the pond by a triumphant cat. While not otter-like in the water, Xenia is an Olympian among cats when it comes to water.

Other Carreras felines stayed away from the wet and nasty.

The Grey Menace, my twenty-pound bruiser of a grey cat, got soaked once attempting to save me from the tub. Unfortunately, the foolish human had fallen in, and the bold cat tried to pull me out. That was the last time he went near the tub, and humans were free to soak in it if they wished. It took hours for his fur to fluff out the way it should after getting soaked!

Our petite black cat Smidgen delicately shook her paws off whenever they got wet near the pond. Then, she would jump onto my shoulders so she could view her domain from a safe height. She had double paws so full of needle-like claws that one botanist friend compared them to acicula, the sharp needles found on some pines, but much more painful when used offensively. These claws she would use to dig into your shoulder to ensure she didn’t fall into any offending puddle.

After the harvest season, if I am very fortunate, I will be accompanied to the shop by Xenia, who does not mind getting wet with water but hates snow. From her perch, she will periodically check to see if I have turned up the heater or stopped making noise carving while she is sleeping. Then, as the mood takes her, she will stalk across the workbench to inspect my work. Afterward, she’ll insist on being carried back into the house. Winter means snow -she hates snow. It gets into the pads on her feet, and she has to clean it out.

If only father would shovel more conscientiously!

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