The ‘Crazy Cat Lady’ of LS

Candace Peterson is the cat lady who likes dogs. She sits with Rooster at her home on the north edge of Lime Springs.

By Marcie Klomp

No kidding! That’s what her coffee mug says. And Candace Peterson doesn’t dispute the fact, although she says she likes dogs and other animals, too.

She moved to Lime Springs from St. Charles in April of this year, and right away she had the neighbors on the north side of town scratching their heads wondering what she was doing. She was making a playground for her cats.

She put up a “cattery,” which is an outdoor cage that keeps the cats from running loose. They get the feeling of being outside, but are in an enclosed area to keep them safe.

The cat tunnel goes from the house out to the barn where they can play.

That doesn’t sound so “crazy.” But then Peterson used a piece of tile to allow the cats to go from her house to the cattery by themselves. They can play indoors and then go outside to their outside house.

But they don’t have just one outside house . . . they have two. The other is the barn which sits behind the house. Peterson thought the barn would be a nice place for the cats to play, but how to get them from the house to the barn—a tunnel of course!

She made a tunnel out of chicken wire so the cats can visit the barn on their own and come back when they want. “It took me thousands of hours to build!” Peterson joked. It might have taken some time, but it was time well-spent in the opinion of the cats as they can be observed going back and forth at any time during the day and night.

“I’ve always like cats,” she said. One reason is “Cats are a lot easier to take care of.”

But that didn’t stop her from getting a dog a while ago. “I found a dog on the freeway. After that, I decided I also need to have a dog.”

She lived on an acreage at St. Charles for 10 years and took care of 13 cats. Many were strays she adopted. She had them spayed or neutered. She and her cat family were all settled; then she got a phone call everyone hates to receive. Her house was on fire. She lost three of her furry friends.

After that she moved to a trailer but started looking for a home better-suited to her pets, with room to play and frolic. She was glad to find Dick and Janis Miller’s rental house for sale. Now she plans to fence in the yard a little more to give her pets a larger area to cavort. She also wants to plant a garden, maybe next year.

She currently works in the lab at Mayo Clinic, going to work in the late afternoon. During her off hours, Peterson collects toys to display in her home. “E-bay makes that real easy,” she laughs. She also collects and polishes rocks, collects fossils and incorporates her collections into art.

Her biggest passion, though, is taking care of strays and having them fixed. Sometimes they stay with her; sometimes they are let go. “I can’t save them all, but I try to save the ones I can.” She is thankful for Doc Lyon. “He’s is pretty reasonable. I wish more vets would work with pet owners.” If it didn’t cost so much to have animals sterilized, more people might do it, she observed.

As it is, Peterson is very content with her life and her pets. “When I’m alone wth my animals, I’m truly happy,” she explained.

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