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Archive for the ‘Barn cats’ Category

Now that the ‘mean feral cat’ (who never got a name) is gone, I can concentrate on the sweet feral kitty. She obviously had given birth by the time I discovered her and looks way too young to be a mother. I’ve been feeding her for about three weeks on my front porch and she lets me scratch her on the head and pet her now. She’s very sweet, just shy.

I knew the kittens had to be somewhere on our property. Yesterday I decided to track her and found myself tramping through various groves and bushes on our overgrown property trying not to lose sight of her. She took me on a tour of neglected and very user-unfriendly areas at our back fence line.  I found myself ducking through wild plum branches and dodging the tendrils of our crazed wisteria vine that attacks everything that doesn’t move (think ‘killer tomatoes’). She took me the whole length of a narrow strip between the barn and a wire fence embedded with sapling trees, vinca groundcover and spider webs.

It was the scenic route for her, I suppose.

We ended up in the barn, which isn’t really a barn is the classic sense. It’s a storeroom for old flooring and boards and a dismantled windmill that my husband swears he can’t part with, and lots more spider webs.

The trek ended at the fartherest most inaccessible corner of the barn where she laid down next to an old caste iron sink. Out came a black kitten and sat shyly behind her shy mother. Then I saw another head poke out. But that was all of the show on the first day.

Today, however, I knew where to look and could avoid being captured by the wisteria-on-steroids. She was lounging outside behind the barn and all four kittens were playing around her. She hissed a righteous hiss as I came closer and I told her what a good mother she was. She decided to let me pick up her kittens. They hissed their little baby hisses and then…it was all over. They melted into my hands. They were ‘humaned’.

I picked all four up and they fit into my hands like they were one kitten with four heads. Then I gave them back to ‘mom’ and thanked her for sharing. She looks like a good mother, even if she is very young.

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Photo by Stone Post Photography

We’ve had plenty of barn cats wander in and out of our life over the years. We welcome strays because they keep the rats and mice at bay.

We have a barn/workshop and 2 acres of nut and fruit trees.  We had no idea what ‘rodent problems’ meant until we settled here. Several years ago when we ended up with no cats of any kind (I have no idea how that happened!) we had to stay indoors at sundown because the rats started meeting in the parking area in the front of the barn…maybe they were discussing strategy. Something like: ‘Ok. You four, you take the woodpile. Rollo, you and Rocky work the bushes by the driveway. I’m taking the rest of you into the barn with me.” The rats were so bold, they wouldn’t even run if you drove the truck in to park. They just sort of sauntered off like they owned the place.

It was time for an emergency cat run. This was before the MegaPetMarts arrived in town with adoptable cats on tap. But luckily we had Dr. Toogood (real name) and his veterinary hospital which always had/still-has a healthy supply of adoptable cats. I rescued a beautiful black and white ‘teenage’ cat and, unbeknowst to either of us, my son went on the same day and picked up one or two more. So, barn and semi-feral cats are nothing new to us.

But….now there’s a ‘stray gray’ here. He has wierd yellow eyes that look mean and haunted. He won’t let anyone close to him, but this cat has sent my two orange tabbies (who refuse to be called ‘barn cats’) to the vet. Both Marco and Polo were inflicted with deep wounds that got infected. I think they’d learned their lesson, but one never quite knows what a cat is thinking.

So…what do I do with this ‘stray gray’? If I try to lure him into a cage with food, I’d probably just get my own two kitties trapped inside – delirious on a full belly of tuna. They are pretty insistent about their outdoor exploring time (see photos) so it would be hard to keep them inside to trap only the mean kitty.

So how do I trap this guy? Then if I do manage to trap him, what do I do with him? I don’t think he’s rabid or anything (he’s been around for several months and doesn’t act sick) so I could probably get the SPCA to give him shots, etc. but I don’t want to have to keep taking Marco and Polo to the vet because of him. Since he’s so mean, if I follow the TNR (trap/neuter/release) model (which I really advocate) how can I bring him home?

What do I do with this mean ol’ cat?

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