CACHE CREEK RUSTY (AKA “Groundhug”) at  his usual weather station by the kitchen window.

CACHE CREEK RUSTY (AKA “Groundhug”) at his usual weather station by the kitchen window.

Something about the weather…

To figure out the weather, you need to look closer to home.

You’d think that after 10,000 years or so, we’d get it out of our system – this pre-occupation with the weather.

PREDICT: to declare or indicate in advance; especially : foretell on the basis of observation, experience, or scientific reason.

I recently asked Phil Dodderidge at Interior Roads if his office would like to do some articles on weather forecasts and road conditions. He politely declined, explaining that there was too much of a time lag between the time of writing and that of publishing for any forecast to have any meaning – which is very likely true. He also explained that recently they sent a weather storm alert to the agencies in 100 Mile House. Their weather forecast showed that it was so obviously coming straight for them with a ton of nasty weather. So, everyone battoned down the hatches and waited for it. And waited. And waited… He said they’re still trying to live that one down.

We all tune in for Groundhog Day (Feb. 2) to see what Wiarton Willie and Shubenacadie Sam and Punxytony Phil and all of the other famous weather-forecasting rodents have to say about Spring. Regardless of what they predict each year, our winters seem to go on.

So I did my own experiment last week with my cat, Rusty. Normally, I’d go looking for our local groundhog – the Marmota flaviventris, also known as a rock chuck, rock hog, ground squirrel, or marmot. But I didn’t have time this year.

But I figured cats have some weather sense, like all other animals. Even if mine have been housecats since they left the barn in Falkland at the tender age of eight weeks, they still have that connection.

Although, I must admit, the one and only time I took Ginger outside to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, she lept from my arms and threw herself at the front door, wailing pitifully. The only place she was going was back into the house

So I picked up His Royal Highness on Thursday morning before I left for work, opened the front door and dropped him on the front porch, with Tool Man as my witness. The moment Rusty’s pampered paws hit the cold concrete, he turned to head back through the door and into his warm and cozy cave – six more weeks of the cold stuff for sure. At least six.

But, wait – he stopped and turned his head back to the feeders in the front yard where the birds were regrouping after being startled – hmmm, indecision. Make that three weeks?

Nope, the thought of breakfast was too much and he bounded back through the door and up the carpeted stairs to his familiar, cozy den where he will slumber away the last few weeks of winter with Ginger – we’ll call it at four weeks and be happily surprised if it’s less.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal