Pets have always been around since I can remember. My dad always had a hunting dog and my mother had parakeets and a cat (good combination, right?). We had a dachshund for a watch dog and to kill rats when our kids were growing up in Colombia. We had a menagerie of monkeys, parrots, and armadillos while living in Colombia. When in high school Susy dragged home a stray kitten that had been dumped, while she “found someone to take him.” As you can imagine, he lived a long happy life as a welfare cat in our home. So the Meade household has always been a pet place. Since I travel so much here in Colombia, I am not able to have pets.

Since I have been working so much here at the camp, I had a problem with rats that would come in from the surrounding pasture fields. That in turn brought in the Fer-De-Lances, a poisonous pit viper that lives here in Colombia, as they enjoy feasting on the rats. I needed to get rid of the rats so I could get rid of the poisonous snakes. One day I noticed a stray kitten hiding in one of the rooms. At first, no one could get near it, but by laying out bits of food and then staying closer and closer, the kitten finally got used to me. I began feeding it and soon it was my best bud and followed me everywhere. I decided to keep him to help get rid of the rats and thus the snakes.

Within a couple of weeks of the cat moving in, the rats all disappeared and it has also been weeks now since I have seen one of the Fer-De-Lances near the building. Since the cat was earning his keep and was proving to be a clean and friendly fellow, I decided he had passed the test and could stay. I took him to the vet to get all of his shots and to have him neutered. He has been here now for over a month and has proven to be a great cat and a good pet. I have enjoyed having a pet around and since someone is always here at the camp, as long as food is around, they will give him some. I named him George, after “George of the Jungle” since he will take off running and run right into a column or tree, just bounce off, get this goofy look, and then take off running again.

He seems to be a happy camper and I have found him a good companion, especially when no one else happens to be around. His antics make for some good entertainment as he is always doing something funny. He is one of the friendliest cats I have ever seen and he has made friends with just about everyone who has come around. Yes, he costs a bit for his upkeep, but he has earned his place here at the camp with his friendly, playful character and his relentless persecution of the rats and mice that once infested the place. So as long as George is our camp cat, there will be a friendly pet and a great mouser to make the place a little more like home.