The kittens are seemingly always hungry and when new kibble gets set out for the barn cats, the kittens are right int the middle of the feeding frenzy.
Boaz the large spotted cat, seems unconcerned about the amount of activity going on around him because he got his mouthfuls downed before the black Grandma cat and the kittens joined him for dinner.
Grandma cat has a little trouble eating because every time she sticks her head into the chow-bowl a kitten has fully climbed inside to for easy munching.
The larger cats have been hunting the fence line and have been bringing the kittens rodents and birds to snack on between meals along with both Mama Cat and Grandma cat nursing. All in all the kittens are content and well fed.
The mother cats had their litters behind the big hay stack in the barn. I had gotten a glimpse or two the other day, shortly after seeing a few of them, the mothers moved them from the barn to the boards stacked up under the tin roof of the shop.
Daily, we see the mother cats allowing the kittens to travel farther and farther from the safety of the stack. It is hard to get a good count but it looks like there are about 6 kittens all shades of black with one being a dark colored calico with one white back paw.
It is a communal arrangement with both mother cats coming and going for nursing and bathing duties.
With double the milk supply available, the kittens are growing rapidly at this stage and soon will be outside most of the time. We try to touch and talk to the little ones every day so they are not totally feral. We need them to trust us so we can use them at the barns to control mice and rats.
The barn is neutral territory for the dogs and cats on the farm. It has become the understanding that no dog shall chase a cat while on the premises and no cat shall tear any dog a new one when miffed.
The barn is cat home base. They live here and are fed here (these are the cats that also go along the brushy fencelines for vermin), but there is an air on dominance in the barn and the dogs respect the feline area, usually.
Today the truce is holding while the dance and sniff preliminaries are started. Jackson the dog is particularly checking out the new smells of nursing and kittens on both cats, and the cats are allowing indiscriminate nosing while purring and rubbing on the dog.
No combat activities today, all is calm in the barn.
Both Momma Cat (the calico) and Grandma Cat (jet-black) are pregnant.
The four boy kittens we imported last year did the trick. Cats only carry their kittens for 67 days so we are watching closely as it seems that Valentines Day was very eventful for the two females.
Momma Cat was the only one I could capture with a picture since Grandma is a little skittish especially when I have the camera pointed her direction.
Two litters will help the barn cat population with the mice and rats that like to use the hay as a refuge. Both Momma and Grandma are good hunters and they train their offspring to find prey both inside the barn and out along the brushy fence line.
I caught a glimpse of Gabriel’s feet as he was sitting under the old tin roof of the shop. I had to crouch down just to get this much of him in a picture.
He was watching out for birds, not hiding, but hunting.
The springtime birds have shown up en masse and the flitty movements keep the cats occupied for hours.
Chores went on without him this morning.
Apparently bird watching is more important than keeping me company while I feed the cows in the barn.
I have a tendency to lean. Sometimes while doing the morning chores out in the show barn, the stack of hay becomes a tempting respite from the care and feeding of the cows.
This is also the barn where I feed the cats breakfast and dinner so I am never alone. The felines are always quick to remind me if their bowl is empty.
This day, the cats had already been fed. The cows are busy munching hay and I had a few minutes to lean and enjoy the soft sounds of the barn.
Leaning into the hay, I took a moment to contemplate the day. The cats noticed my stillness and came to investigate.
That is Momma cat sniffing the pom-pom on my wool hat. Tobias is busy sniffing Momma, and Boaz is posing for the picture.
The cats are all goofy. They just act like they have cabin fever and are anxious to get out to explore and create a little cat mayhem.
Seemed like everywhere I turned on this cool late winter day, there was a cat or two in my way. They were all very talkative and I heard meows and purring the whole morning as I went about with the chores.
Maybe those cats are thinking the same thing about me. I do tend to act a little goofy when I can’t get a break in the weather long enough to get the fruit trees pruned in the garden.