Wednesday, June 15, 2011
What better way to spend a holiday Monday than at a farm auction. It went from cool to hot to a little rain, but the Farmer happily mixed and mingled with his peers, discussing the merits of bush hogs and backhoes, for a good six hours. I was there for about an hour when an idea hit me. This place is full of farmers. Don’t farmers need barn cats? I asked permission of the host, then hopped in the truck and went home to scoop up some kittens.
I also threw a few extra cat carriers in the truck, as a value-add to the adoptive owners. I made a sign: “Free Mousers” – and enlisted help to walk around the crowd with kitties in their arms. I shouldn’t have bothered. The only farmers that need kittens are the ones that have just entered the farming life. And I’m sure even then, if they look around hard enough, they will find a cat in their barn. So the kittens and I had an outing. For no reason. They got taken out of their carriers for cuddles. They even got bottled water and Temptations cat treats. But they didn’t get adopted.
When I married the Farmer, he probably had about six cats. He put a single bowl of dry food down in the barn every day and didn’t worry about them. When the girls and I moved in, we were enchanted by the friendly beasts. We lured them up onto the back porch with food and they probably had at least two good meals a day. Slowly the population grew. When they were sick, I took them to the vet and saved their lives. I give them homeopathic veterinary medicine when they have a flu virus and I put Polysporin drops in their eyes when they are infected. My cats are fat and healthy. The last two years, it has become apparent that we need to take steps to control this prolific animal family. But at $200 a pop, it won’t happen overnight.
Our most pressing issue is the bumper crop of kittens that we currently have at the farm. The Village Kitten Rescue of North Gower (http://www.vkrkittens.com/) and Big Sky Ranch of Kemptville have offered to send kitten seekers our way. They have even posted photos of our kittens so that people will see what cute cuddlers we have to offer.
Of course, as operators of animal shelters, they understand the importance of spaying and neutering our cats. If someone adopts a kitten of mine, Village Kitten Rescue is willing to arrange necessary vaccinations, deworming and spay / neutering at a big discount.
Now is your chance to get the housecat you always wanted, while doing something good. These cats may have been born in a barn, but they have manners. They are easily trained to use a litter box, to learn their boundaries and to obey the rules of the house. Take Sheila, for instance. She was brought into the house before winter last year, to provide companionship for another kitten that was being treated indoors for an eye infection. After a few months, the infection was gone, but the kittens had not grown enough winter fur to be allowed outside. We made adoption posters, circulating them around town and on the Internet. In a short time, the newly recovered kitten was adopted. But Sheila remained.
“Since when do we have a house cat?” the Farmer asked one day, as Sheila sauntered past him on her way to her water bowl, carrying her “practice kitten” (a small frog beanie toy) in her mouth.
“Since about Halloween,” I said.
Sheila is not the biggest cuddler, but she does have her favourite place to sit next to her humans on the couch. We enjoy our conversations (she is very vocal and seems to understand our speech) and find her habits quite entertaining. Sheila knows she isn’t allowed on tables and countertops, she can play fight without using her teeth or claws, and she uses her litterbox effectively.
If you are interested in adopting one of the Fisher Farm kittens, contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Diana Leeson Fisher at 6:29 AM