We knew the striped barn cat had her kittens a few weeks ago even though she kept showing up for mealtime. Her chubby little body had changed to being slender with a swaying milk belly. I was pretty sure she had the kittens along the wall of the barn behind what was left of the stack of hay from last years harvest.
As I was moving the last dozen bales away from the wall to clean the area for our new harvest, the mama cat brought out her two kittens for a bite of lunch before moving the family to a safer spot. The two kittens have their eyes open and are moving around but not ready to start eating solid food yet.
The bigger of the two babies is striped just like the mama, the other is more calico colored like many of the other barn cats.
Our barn cats are friendly to a point, I get the opportunity to pet one now and again usually when they are eating, but they don’t make a habit with affection and considered feral. We don’t like to create too much human interference so that they can concentrate on their job of keeping the barns free of vermin.
We are looking forward to this newest batch of two to begin their chores.
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Something was amiss in the old shop. We were working around the house, mowing grass and weeding spots in the garden when we noticed mewing sounds, rather frantic mewing sounds coming from the area where we store tack and supplies for the cattle.
The day before we happened to find the carcass of one of the barn cats. Having the road bi-sect the farm leads for dangers for our hunting felines. This carcass was found on the opposite side of the road from the barn and although we do not know what caused the death we do know that it may have been one of the momma cats but scavengers had already begun the work of cleanup so even that was unknown at the time. Continue reading
The mama cat, PegLeg has been keeping her kittens well hidden for several weeks. We knew she was the first to deliver sometime in late March but had not heard or seen any little ones. At first I was worried because PegLeg had disappeared for several days and I thought that a coyote may have gotten her during her long hunting expeditions.
When she finally showed up, she was ravenous, back to her skinny self and was loaded with milk. It was obvious that she had not only delivered but was feeding a brood. Continue reading
Keeping a passel of cats around works for farm management. The feral barn cats are needed to control rodents that would just love to nest in our hay bales that are stacked so nice and neat and tidy. The cats are pretty wild, a couple of them allow me to pet them or they will nuzzle my leg if I sit down too long, but mostly they are just on barn duty.
The number of cats vary since we seem to lose them to the elements easily out here. But currently we have Peg-leg who we believe has a new batch of kittens hidden somewhere underneath the shop, Striped Tom, White Tom, Fuzzy Wuzzy (female) and three black pint sized cats. One of the black cats had her kittens about a week ago. I found them as I was moving the old hay out of the way and cleaning the barn for this years supply to be brought in. Continue reading
It was originally planned to take the three recently weaned heifers to the auction, but a local farmer just happened to have been looking to purchase three heifers. So we held them an extra week while he got his place ready for them.
When he arrived with his stock trailer, his wife and kids were with him. After loading we talked about critters in general and found out that the wife works for the Banks Veterinary. Continue reading
One of the barn cats had given birth deep into the haystack in the show barn. The only way I knew of this was hearing a mild mewing sound once and a while while I was feeding the cows this week.
But when I walked into the barn on Saturday, the meowing was more frantic and away from the haystack. Three kittens, barely able to maneuver around, had escaped from the hay and was wandering around in the pen with the three heifers while crying incessantly. Continue reading
It appears that Pegleg does have at least 5 kittens. Two black, one white, one orange striped and one gray striped. They have all now been moved out of the bull pen in into the woodstack by the wood shed that gives access to the innermost and undermost reaches of the shop. But I cannot get a picture of the group…they are so busy running, tumbling, climbing and other mischief so that I have not been able to get all 5 together at any one time.
They all seem happy, healthy and hungry all the time. Pegleg, one of our best mousers, has been bringing them fresh game every day along with the kitten kibble I have been supplying. I have seen birds, a couple of lizards, a snake, at least 3 shrews and just yesterday, a full sized mole.
With the exception of the mole, the kittens had devoured the courses as fast as Pegleg has been able to supply the growing group. Neither dogs nor cats will eat mole, they must taste horrible. Pegleg has been using the mole as one would use a bearskin rug and lounges on the soft fur where she placed it beneath the pear tree.
Our calico cat did look like she was starting to get that pregnant-pudgy look about her when she disappeared.
Mike had stated that he saw her out hanging around the bull pen barn when he was out there feeding. She still came back to the showbarn when I was setting out cat food for the tribe of barn cats but she had lost any pudgy she had and was looking downright skinny.
Last week, she showed up with a scrawny black kitten and hid it by the wood pile. Between times when Pegleg was not around, the kitten would hunker out of sight, deep in the recesses of the pile.
A few days later, the orange kitten showed up and the black and orange fluff balls could be seen huddling together or tumbling around the edges of the firewood. Several days later the white kitten appeared and now it is a rough and tumble, constant adventure going on although they don’t travel far from the safety of the pile.
Mike thinks there may still be a kitten or two in the bull pen. Pegleg is a busy mama with all the coming and going, back and forth from the wood stack to the barn.
On my way out the show barn I noticed both Frick the large black cat and one of the 6 month old kittens hanging out on the corral fence.
Seems that the little kitten has adopted Uncle Frick and the two climb, drink water from the stock tank, and laze about together much of the time.
Our cat population soared this spring with both Momma Cat and Grandma Cat delivering on or near the same day, but survival rate around here is hampered by a booming coyote population.
We have lost all but one of the four that we imported to the farm a year and a half ago leaving Crazy Uncle Boaz to be the one survivor of that group. Remaining out of the six kittens from this spring from Momma and Grandma babies are Frick (male), Frack (male), Fuzzy Zeller (female) and Peg Leg Pete (female). We lost Momma Cat sometime during the long, hot summer. She would take off for days at a time on hunting expeditions and one time she did not return, she was our best mouser.
Then Grandma Cat kicked it up a notch and delivered a new batch of kittens about 5 weeks ago. I had only heard one or two on occasion, Grandma had them stowed away deep into the hay stack. Today I finally got a glimpse of a new addition, make that two additions, I saw a little striped kitten with white around his eyes and ears and an all black kitten taking some of their first forays into the main part of the barn.
They are very skittish and I could not get close to them. This gives me a good reason to spend more time in the barn than usual.