Sputnik earned his name by behaving as a satellite when he first arrived at Pairodox. [Sputnik, the world’s first artificial earth satellite, was launched by the Soviet Union in October of 1957.] I believe I was watering the horses when an unfamiliar cat appeared, “Hello” I said, and off he went like a shot. Over the next days and weeks visits from this shy, though inquisitive, feline lengthened. Eventually the unknown visitor took up residence in the big barn. Unfortunately, as last-in, he wasn’t very assertive and the other barn cats (Onyx, Moses, Merlin, Tolly, Calvin, Peter, Linnaeus, Arwen, and Harry) beat him mercilessly and he took to hiding under wooden pallets. Joanna quietly and with much patience lured him into the open and over a period of days convinced him that pats were pleasurable. He learned that being spoken to, kindly, was pleasurable. After a bit more socialization it was clear that the barn cats were unwilling to accept a recruit into their ranks. Because Joanna recognizes the Law of the Conservation of Cats*, and because a vacancy had formed in the house, she issued an invitation to this satellite cat. He gratefully accepted. Nell (the shelter cat), Trouble (the landfill rescue cat), and Rugen (the polydactyl stray with 27 toes) demurred. One of Sputnik’s many rolls is to act as a domestic heat sink when the weather is fine. He demonstrates his prodigious skill in the image below.

*The Law of the Conservation of Cats states … once a maximal barn cat population is achieved, that number will be maintained. For example, if the number of barn cats on your place is 10, and you should lose one, that number will rise to 10 once again … usually as a result of no effort of yours.

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