The Cats of Dancing Oaks
Dancing Oaks Nursery is currently watched over by a mix of Maine Coon and locally-raised Barn cats, all of them special to us. They bring constant companionship, entertainment...and rodent control.
Charlotte - The Tortoiseshell Cat. Charlotte is one of two kittens that we brought back on the plane with us after a tour of nurseries in North Carolina. She was born in South Carolina. Her brother Raleigh died at a young age of an enlarged heart. She has the longest ear tufts of any Maine Coon we have and her tufts would measure up well against many at the cat shows. With those spiky ear tufts comes a spiky, saucy personality that takes no guff from any of the other male cats. Only Natascha, the other female, tells Charlotte what side her bread is buttered on. She can be very affectionate one on one, but makes herself scare for most of the day. Nursery elves count it a lucky day when Charlotte consents to being touched or even held. In summer she can be gone on camping trips for a couple of days, though we don't think she goes far into the woods. She is truly a free spirit and a bit of a wild thing.
Hobart - The White Splotched Cat: A new addition to the nursery in 2018 and sister of Tassie, this little rascal is shaping up to be our most outgoing and cuddly furrball.
Simba - The Orange Cat. Simba, also a native Oregonian, came to the farm the same day as Grizz. Simba is very handsome, but is not the least bit conceited. We wish he would have more confidence, as so many want to just give him a few strokes of admiration. But he usually makes a run for it when approached. He is very photogenic and always seems to be striking some pose. He loves finding hidden baskets in comfortable nooks to sleep the hours away during the winter rains. Summer days find him sunning himself in the beds opposite the nursery shop. Thankfully, he appreciates a good session with the grooming brush. He donates locks of hair to the birds for nest building in spring.
Tassie - The Striped & Spotted Cat: sister of Hobart, this 2018 addition to the nursery is an independent and feisty character. She might not let you snuggle her, but she has the makings of a great hunter--including her camoflague stripes and spots.
Vladimir - The Silver Tabby Cat. Vladimir is the oldest male and he is also the most well-adjusted cat we have. He is very congenial walking up to customers and not too afraid of many things. His favorite nap site is a little pocket of shade cloth in one of the greenhouses that creates a snug hammock over the top of the door. He can be lifeless there so long people ask if he is alive. He is a great cuddler and likes to watch movies. He can be quite a gregarious clown and on garden tours, and frequently steals the show from the plants we are talking about.
Dearly Departed Nursery Cats:
Natascha - The Calico Cat. We lost our dear Natascha in March of 2018. Natascha was the tiniest of the cats but she didn't know it. She was the queen of her domain and a rapacious hunter. She challenged over-friendly dogs 10 times her weight. She was very independent but she always liked to know what was going on and who was arriving. She greeted customers — "Oh don't pick me up, I just want to know who you are!" — and then pranced away. She loved getting a lift up into the loft of the potting shed to patrol for mice. She liked to check in with you often with a very sweet meow and bounce on her way. If it was cool she'd sit still on a chair next to the wood stove or on a stool near the propane heater. Natascha and her brother Vlad came from Idaho. We will miss her huge presence so much.
Grizz - The Black Cat. In late 2016, we said goodbye to this beloved nursery cat. He was the largest of the kitties, with a gorgeous silver-tip black, grizzly-like coat of fuzz, and a purr like an old Mercedes diesel. He preferred to lounge in Fred & Leonard’s house all day, and was shy of people during busy hours at the nursery…but he was always warm and affectionate if you were fortunate enough to catch him in a quiet moment. One of his potential names as a kitten was Romeo because always liked to sneak up on the bed and steal a kiss or two. Grizz will be greatly missed here at Dancing Oaks. Leonard planted a memorial Cork Oak in the nursery grounds for him, and we like to think of him surveying his grounds from there.
Magic - this amazingly loving kitty left us many years ago now, but he is dearly missed.