The Fainting Goat


We are a farm of names and nicknames.

If you’ve got a heartbeat, then you’ve tried on a few titles for size.

Well, that goes for everyone except for the sheep…

…who are collectively known only as: the sheep.

(Sorry but a personality is a standing requirement for a name, and I’m afraid that our truck Chitty exudes more charisma than the sheep do.)

But I digress. Back to nicknames.

Years ago, we boarded a regal-looking horse named Hemingway, who we fondly nicknamed “Crickety Rickets,” (shortened to Crickety) thanks to his aged, arthritic gait.

Nowadays we’ve got a kid named the Barbarian.

A building called the Mouse House.

A feline named Felix — sometimes called “Garfield” — thanks to his growing girth. (A fat barn cat? An oxymoron).

And then there’s our kitten, Olive.

Olive the Fainting Goat.

This moniker was Martin’s brainchild and the name aptly sums up this cat’s peculiar behavior.

Sure, cats have a habit of going limp in the arms of an owner. Pick them up and their bones liquify as they purr with contentment.

But Olive is different.

She doesn’t just relax. She turns to stone. A slammed door, a backfiring car wouldn’t startle her from her stupor. Aside from the purr, it’s as if she’s just been sedated.

Or euthanized.

Kind of like a certain breed of goats who, when startled, collapse in the midst of a myotonic fainting spell. (Apparently these goats remain conscious but with no warning, simply fall over. Hence the name.)

Olive is indescriminate with her lifeless behavior. Even in the arms of a preschooler, she molds herself to a lap like a frozen puddle.

And any cat with half a brain knows that when little feet approach, there’s only one sensible response: Run.

Which brings me to my next point: I think that Olive might not be right in the head. Plenty of people out there suffer from mental limitations. Can the same be said of pets? If so, then Olive may very well be mentally challenged.

Not that it matters. She’s sweet and the kids’ favorite.

Our goat in a sea of sheep.