Petunia and me

My excitement for High Plains Journal’s move to a new location is tempered by an office cat that is staying behind.

Her name is Petunia affectionately named by Cassie Wells, the daughter of livestock representative Nick Wells. Nick deserves the credit for how my life and Petunia intersected. Petunia was a barn cat and Nick saw a new mission for the calico. At our former headquarters we had a mouse problem, and Petunia was the answer.

When Nick moved Petunia to our office in November 2020, we hardly saw her, as she was an efficient mouser and didn’t respond much to human interaction, except from Nick. But as time went on, Petunia started to respond to me.

We always had hunting dogs for pets in our family. Dad liked to hunt and Mom liked to have a pet in the house, which began a long run of German shorthairs and Labradors. All were great pets, and my older brothers continued the trend. My background was in dogs but Petunia changed me to appreciate her kind.

Petunia was brought in for utilitarian purposes—to kill mice. For whatever reason, as only defined by a cat, she changed the story. As time went on, we became buddies with our own routines. She’d wait near the door early in the morning and after I unlocked the door, she’d race me to my office and wait to be briefly petted. Petunia then had to roll over several times, look at me and wait for me to throw a pen or pencil her way so she could chase it. (Cats are odd that way.) This barn cat had adapted to new ways and to a new friend.

Petunia was not needy, and like all cats, found ways to be amused in a big office building. She had a run of big place with no other competitors like a barn cat has in the country. She always seemed to know when the end of the day was near, as it was a routine of waiting to be petted, rolling on the carpet and waiting for a pen to be thrown her way.

As I think back, it became a habit for both of us. In a world filled with uncertainty from the pandemic, it was nice to have a work companion.

As the time came close to making the move to our new office, top management agreed Petunia was welcome to move too. But I ran into a dilemma. The new owners of our former home had also taken a liking to Petunia.

They had important influencer—a daughter who became a Petunia whisperer. Her folks told me Petunia would let their daughter hold and pamper her. It was a sign.

Nick and I talked about it, and he said the decision was mine. I thought a girl and a cat, with all that room, could grow together. Those decisions are the best ones, and the girl is doing her part to give back Petunia that heartfelt love a calico cat generates. After all, don’t pets and kids go together?

I was able to watch Petunia and her new owner begin to form the bond that I was thankful I had enjoyed for a short  time.

Pets are a reminder of the joy God had in mind when He gave us domain over the animals. In my happiness and joy that Nick thought of bringing in a barn cat for her mousing skills, she became much more to me. I know Petunia is in wonderful hands and it is where she belongs.

It remains amazing to me that a barn cat could leave a gentle paw print on my heart. I’m thankful for Petunia, as she was more than a mouser as part of her many lives.

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].