Hi, Stubby the Camp Wood barn cat here. I've heard that some campers are missing camp, which is obviously code for missing ME. So, I thought I'd ask one of my minions (otherwise known as the year-round staff) to share this little note with my loyal followers on the internet. Word is that cats pretty much rule the internet, so I figured I'd add my story to the record. So here it goes...
I am one of 6 or 7 siblings. It's hard to remember since I couldn’t see for the first weeks of my young my life. But they've moved on and now, I consider myself a lone wolf, errr...cat. I am the sole, full-time tenant of the Koger Horse Pavilion here at Camp Wood YMCA. Sure, there are horses who live here and a few humans that fill my bowl with water, but we all know I'm the only one that matters. And in my few years of life here at the barn. I've learned a few important things I'd like to share with you.
The first and most important thing I've learned, is that despite what the staff will tell you, I, Stubby the barn cat, am the real reason campers come to the Koger Horse Pavillion. May I suggest we change the name to the Koger Cat Pavillion? Anyway, I'm telling you, the horses are merely a side show to my main stage. No matter the season, when kids or adults alike enter the barn, they come to me first. Not to the horses, not to the staff, but directly to ME. They pet me, they hold me, they raise their voices to this really high pitch (which is strangely soothing) to ask if I’m a good kitty.
I never knew I would become so popular. In fact, when I lost most of my tail in that accident years ago--I thought maybe I'd lost some of my charm. But no, I think the knobby tail makes them love me even more. What can I say...I'm irresistible. However, the only confusing thing is that after about 10 minutes, they all get on horses and they disappear. I’m still trying to figure out what they are doing out there on the prairie.
And that brings me to my second point--there is no reason to ever leave the barn. I mean, it's so windy out there and the grass is so tall! What's the appeal? The horses say the views are beautiful--something about a rare Tallgrass ecosystem. Whatever. Horses know nothing. There is NO REASON to leave this gorgeous barn. The humans come to me, my job chasing mice keeps me busy, and I NEVER worry about getting wet in the barn. Granted, sometimes I'll venture out onto the patio to get some sun, but there are plenty of things to keep me busy inside. Plus, if I wandered outside, I might miss the next time people visit and miss being petted. Now THAT would be a tragedy.
The third and final thing I have learned in my first of nine lives, is that you can nap anywhere if you try hard enough. I hear campers chatting about all the fun things they're doing and all the games they play in the evenings and it all sounds so...exhausting. I mean, I am usually up all night keeping mice and other curious critters away from the barn, so I need my time to rest during the day. While the cement floor under the basketball hoop is my normal spot, I like to move around to keep things interesting. I have tried sleeping in the riding arena (which is frankly dangerous with all those campers on horseback cantering around), in the tack room on some old saddle pads, and on the balcony. But my absolute favorite spot to lay is on tables, especially when they are all set up for activities. I get the feeling this annoys the staff who like things organized and, I don't know, without cat footprints all over. But, what can I say, I just like to be a part of the action, even while I am sleeping. Plus, shooing me off the table is no way to treat one of Camp Wood's main attractions. These kids come back year after year to see me. The least the staff can do is let me lounge wherever I want.
So yeah, life up at the barn is pretty great overall. There are people to pet me, great spots to nap and the horses aren't TOO big of a nuisance. For the most part, they're nice to me and never step on me or chase me. I just REALLY wish that they would learn to only use the restroom outside. How uncivilized of them! This is my HOUSE, afterall.
Oh, and before I forget, anyone who wants to come visit their buddy, Stubby, should register for Winter Camp. By that time it should be good and cold up here and I'd love a few visitors. You can register for Winter Camp (and petting me) here. I hope to see you then.
Your loyal barn guardian,