Sunday, August 19, 2018

Outdoor Cats

Everybody thinks I don't like cats

We used to have barn cats. A lot of them. Shortly before I met the boss a lady he knew gave him three big kittens. By the time I had known him a couple of years as many as 75 cats came to the milk dish at chore time...all of them various combinations of black, white, or grey, with lots of silver tabbies thrown in. There were nice ones and nasty ones and pretty ones and ugly, battle-scarred, old Toms. 

This is a falsehood

Rats were not a problem then. I think they had one of those signs hobos used to leave on doorposts down at the bottom of the driveway, "Don't bother stopping here."

The cats ALL had names, some of them cute, some clever, some descriptive, and some profane. We all liked them. There was a veritable barn cat culture, with stories, relationships, and a lot of silliness. I wrote any number of Farm Side columns including one entitled "Dances with Barn Cats" about trying to carry a pail of milk to the calves amid the seething throng.

Speaking of names..this was Chainsaw, a great favorite of mine
his nickname was "Chain"

Then came the coyotes. At the time I met the boss there were no coyotes here at all. A few years later there were a lot of them. They eat cats, jsyk. I guess they ate ours because by the time we sold the cows there were only two or three cats left. The smart ones. The ones that stayed near the barn. They are all gone now.

He liked to help with the fencing
We had to wait for him so the coyotes didn't get him out there on the hills

The kids would like to get barn cats again and I understand, I really do. But in all the years we had cats the lazy ones always hunted at the bird feeders. They didn't eat House Sparrows either. Nope it was always a Rose-breasted Grosbeak or Northern Cardinal that they captured and all too often left on the porch as a sort of reward for me I guess. No thanks guys, I like them better in the trees.


Miss Catty-fach

It's a worldwide problem and accounts for literally millions of songbirds every year. I won't get into that but it doesn't seem fair to offer the local birds a nice lunch counter in return for letting me watch them, and then put THEM on the menu. Plus I always ended up being the one feeding and caring for the cats once the new wore off. The kids say I don't like cats, but really I do. It just feels hypocritical for me to facilitate outdoor felines and wild birds in the same yard.

The infamous Elvis

So no barn cats now.

I loved Elvis, for all his foibles, and truly hated the damned  dog that killed him

Imagine my chagrin when this morning I paused as always on the stair landing on my way downstairs. Crows were alarm calling and the Carolina Wrens were frantic.

And no wonder. Right in the middle of the driveway was a big, black, cat, seated leg-o-mutton style, having a nice wash. Dagnabbit. Visitor from the housing development next door, stray, or drop off....I wonder.

When I took the doggos out he was gone, but you should have seen the little guy's mackles come up when he smelled where the intruder had been sitting. He knew. 

Then when we passed the car he went nuts (not a long trip for a Jack Russell Terrier, I know, but still).

The cat was under the car. 

The dog began swearing and leaping and muttering and thrashing. I dragged him indoors and let him off the lead, planning to coax him into his kennel with a biscuit as always.

Hah! Prey drive in a JRT is equal to the herding instinct in a Border Collie. All circuits were busy. He even blew the inside door open and got on the porch (and thank you, Alan for the strong outside door, which stopped him.) I had to grab some MacScruff and haul him back in.

No biscuit for you buddy!

I suppose this kitty must be a drop off. It is pretty tame for a stray, and it didn't streak off toward town when threatened by the Mack. I am not excited about having to walk the little juggernaut several times a day with him out there. The birds aren't happy either.

However: I DO like cats and I can prove it.

Cat story

Another cat story

Cats with thumbs

Herding Cats

Elvis was weird

Hardhearted Farmers

He's got a knife

There are many more cat stories available here if you search "cats" and plenty of fun with perhaps my favorite cat of all time, Elvis, if you search for his name....I am not sure what will happen with the guy under the car, but I'll bet there will be a story in that too.


A. Montgomery said...

Did you ever tell the story about snootsie and the German shepherd from next store? Is that how Becky got to be such a cat lover? Did her father get her a puppy yet? Love, Mom

Breezey375 said...

I see there are no stories of our gorgeous indoor kittens that came from the barn cats.
No puppy yet. No car key either. He’s holding out on me

Linda said...


And I despise people who drop off animals! GRRR Just a thought...the cat is probably declawed...which is worse for the cat.

threecollie said...

Mom, I can't remember the story! I will try to remember to ask about it next time we talk. I don't think there are any puppies on the horizon just now. The dog person in chief has her hands full already. lol. Love you

Breezey, things are tough all over.

Linda, not a fan either. Not sure about the cat. I only saw it for a couple of minutes and from one story up. Mack sure doesn't like it though!