Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

The Cat Came Back

An interesting feature about our place here in Cobalt is the number of outbuildings surrounding the house, on and beyond our property. On the property “proper” sits the house, a garage, a bunkie, and a powder magazine.  All quite normal for this part of the world.


No, not powder room, powder magazine. The building that holds explosives.

I know! Welcome to Cobalt!

Other structures, like those in the woods to the south of our property are mouldering old sheds and former animal enclosures. Presently they store all manner of cast-offs: stuff that didn’t made it to the landfill for lack of resources, but needed tucking away somewhere out of sight. We are tackling these as seasons change and energy allows. As you know, out of sight, out of mind.

To the north are two larger buildings, two wood cabins that sit on mining property and may have been squatters’ buildings if they were not part of the mine operation. Reiner feels that mine workers lived there, but I’m not convinced. There is no sign of chimney or stove pipes, so perhaps they housed livestock or stored equipment.

When we moved up, the one closest to the house contained more cast-off stuff and in the front lean-to, a nice pile of dried firewood. The previous owner used the second building to house his geese and ducks. Reiner has poked around in both buildings, but I hesitate to explore inside. I helped haul the firewood from the lean-to last year, but haven’t ventured beyond the threshold of the main doorway.

Black Cat, however, knows the insides of both sheds intimately, having spent an afternoon on the lam. A few weeks after we moved in, he went AWOL, not realizing that his status as outdoor cat had been revoked.

It was a great day, clear and breezy: a perfect day for hanging laundry on the line. I took the first load of wash out through the patio door. Black Cat made a move to join me, but I managed to close the door in time. With the second load, however, he took advantage of my fumble as I struggled with the wonky screen door. Damn thing kept jumping off the track.

The cat made his escape, and no amount of scolding or pleading could stop him.

I followed him off the deck and toward the cabins. At one point I was within a few paces of catching him. He dodged into the woods and disappeared from sight.

Reiner tried to pick up the trail, but soon gave up. The undergrowth was impenetrable, and besides, who knew what was underfoot? This was a mine site, after all. Agnico has filled or barricaded the open cuts and holes, but over the years the earth settles and subsides. Coils of guy wires and broken utility poles lie concealed by moss and leaves.

I could hardly settle for the rest of the day. Every twenty minutes or so, I’d call for Black Cat. I was a wreck. By dinner time, I figured that he was a goner.

After the meal, I sat and moped about that dumb old cat. I berated myself for not taking enough care, I berated the cat for being a cat and I hollered at the crows for making such a racket.


Why were the crows upset? Did they know something I didn’t?

Sure enough, the birds were fussing over an interloper. A big ol’ black boy, who was skulking around the wood sheds, having the time of his life exploring uncharted territory. He was hungry by now, and relieved to see a familiar face. Even then,  he struggled when Reiner nabbed him and brought him back inside.

***   ***   ***

Thursday Doors is a weekly photo feature hosted by the Norm Frampton at Norm 2.0

Categories: Mining Heritage

Tags: , ,

62 replies

  1. A delightful tale of buildings and exploration on both your parts. 🙂
    I appreciate Black Cat’s sense of adventure, but only because he got home safely. Adorable photo of him and his scaredy eyes. Love the door. Love all the buildings. Really an amazing place you got there!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a cool place, what a cool cat. I love all those outbuilding and junk. I think your cat should maybe be an outdoors cat again ~ what great places for a cool Black Cat to explore. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Both of our cats love the outdoors so much. We tried Black Cat on a lead – that was a disaster. But with foxes and bears in the immediate vicinity, we just can’t let the boys out any more. They are getting used to the idea, and have great views of the action from the windows.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As an over-protective cat mother myself, I know exactly what you went through. I would have needed sedation. I can’t tell you how many times I had all my neighbours on street patrol — once after dark crawling around on their hands and knees peering under parked cars and up trees looking for one or another of my indoor cats who had escaped.

    So how do you plan to keep Black Cat indoors now that he’s had a recent taste of freedom? That’s my question.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I may have had a cocktail or two more than normal that day. I’m glad that you can appreciate my (and the cat’s) experience.

      We have gated the deck, for one thing, and put up a mesh around the rails to prevent passage between. But either deterrent only pauses the action for a moment. They have both escaped since last year, and the gate and the mesh have given me enough time to grab ’em before they dive from the deck.

      Fortunately, the long winter months mean that they have lost some memory of the great out doors. I am still as vigilant as before with all doorways, but they don’t seem to have the same interest in getting out. Fingers crossed that we won’t experience another episode.


  4. The last photo calls to me. I like how pretty snow can make things look. Not that the cabins aren’t lovely to begin with. No disrespect intended to the cabins. Also, Black Cat makes me happy. I do like a kitty cat who goes on an adventure once in a while, especially when he knows it’s time to return home. Give attitude, get attention– that’s a cat.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m glad no harm came to Black Cat, but I do love the photo of him. As for the phone, I take mine with me everywhere because if I don’t, a photo op comes up and I wish I had. I don’t do anything else on the phone most of the time, but those photos I must have!! 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post, wonderful photos and a happy ending. I enjoyed this, Maggie. I loved the part where you said: “I berated the cat for being a cat” – I think anyone who owns a cat has had that experience. Looking at those pictures, I can imagine he had the time of his life exploring those buildings.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Looks like an interesting place…full of cat pitfalls and maybe human ones too. Glad you found him. He’s probably glad too, though he’s not likely to tell you that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely pitfalls for all legged creatures. I like to think that he learned that it’s safer indoors. At the time, though, judging from his sour face once we brought him back in, I’m not so sure. 🙂


  8. I would have been absolutely heartsick at the thought that Black Cat was gone. I can imagine what a horrible day you had until he was found 😦

    The outbuildings remind me of quintessential Northern Ontario. Growing up, almost everyone had at least one outbuilding in various stages of disrepair on their property. We had two and I gave both of them a very wide berth.
    Now it’s less common to see in town and more of a country thing.

    I LOVE that last photo with its shadow and light!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My black cat was quite the “player” too. We allowed him out but he had to come in at dark. There were a few sleepless nights as he decided to enjoy the great outdoors. He was and is my last indoor/outdoor cat. Too much worry. My 4 cats have no desire to go out so I don’t have to worry about sneaking past my feet. Love his picture! there is something special about black cats (but don’t tell my other cats!).


  10. That last shot in particular, is just awesome. A typical Canadian winter scene. Good post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Very nice, snow and all. What a wicked boy, scaring you that way. But, cats…


  12. Great old building images, Maggie. The charm of them with the snow build up. Have two dogs, no cats! Even so, if one of them got out I’d be a wreck until I found him. Animals to me are family, fur babies! Love the old door photo, could be a feature for Thursday doors! Christine


  13. Your doors are great, Maggie, but I really love the photo with the black kitty eyes. I’m glad he has a home with you!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Maggie, I love where you live. And I will remember to NOT ask you where the powder room is! I got such a chuckle out of that one. So happy to know that Black Cat is back inside. Poor baby, being scared by those crows….

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Black Cat must have had so much fun poking around (as you fretted). That looks like curious cat heaven. I love your pictures of the cabins – especially the one in the snow.


  16. I spy with my little eye — caribou antlers? You ARE up north for sure, eh?

    I spent 4 days with a cat recently and have a whole new appreciation for their capricious natures and their rubbery bodies. Those darn things can slip into any crevasse or crannie. They move like water. Which reminds me of an old army saying “Keep yer powder dry!” Good thing you have a powder magazine and a cat that is already black.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Entertaining and informative (re barns) with excellent photos

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Great post. I’ve missed you, Maggie. And thanks for the snowy image…sigh. The older I get, the more I dislike summer. I’m beginning to understand what my mother complained about for all those menopausal years.
    And…just sayin’… that’s one lucky black cat !

    Liked by 1 person

  19. fantastic tour.. great pics.. !

    Liked by 1 person

  20. So glad you got your cat back safely. Because you’re right, it’s not safe out in the country for cats on the loose. Great photos, by the way!


  21. Makes you think of all the stories that could come out of those buildings. Perhaps one or two with a dead body. Oh, my. Do I smell a mystery taking place in Cobalt.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. What a place to live and explore whether cat or person! Happy the story had a happy ending. I’ve always been a dog person (you know, early mornings, shaking water from my hair, asking to be let out at awkward times) but we ended up with two cats when the children left home and I grow fonder and fonder.


  23. You live in such a picturesque setting Maggie. Its no surprise Black Cat felt the need to explore.
    And speaking of beautiful weathered wood, I’ve finished a sketch inspired by a shed you shared with us a few weeks ago. If you’d like a copy, you can reach me at

    Liked by 1 person

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