Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Secret Life of Barn Cats

Amy took this photo of two orphan kittens we discovered while she was here. I thought they were the offspring of Wee Grey Stripes. Since Wee Grey Stripes disappeared, I have been looking after these guys with help from just about everyone else on the farm--even the ones who claim not to like cats. ( I won't acknowledge them here in case they want to continue their pose as non cat lovers.) But cats, as Ole Possum told us in his book of Practical Cats, will find us if we let them.

One night after feeding the kittens, I was startled to find one of them in the old farm cottage where the oil tank is now. I was worried that he had come across the road between the steading and the house which is a perilous journey for a kitten, where everything is larger than you. I thought I might be able to move them permanently out of their barn and into the old cottage buildings close by the house, so I put food down for the pioneer, but the kitties never again ventured so far.

And then one evening, I saw a grey striped kitten disappear into the bush near the house. It did not come when I called and when I looked at the barn both kitties were there. Attack of the clones. Whose kitties are these and where do they live? These new kittens remind me of just how "socialized" the barn kitties have become. I never catch more than a fleeting glimpse of the clone kitties, but the orphans come when I call, and the smaller one of the two actually holds his tail up and purrs when I pet him. His sister, Miss Hissy, has at least learned to meow. She strikes me as the kind of cat who may never be caught purring. You know some cats and some people just have that kind of personality that no matter how much they like something they just can't show it.

So whenever I see one of the wild(er) cats, I put food where they can easily get it from the safety of the bushes or the underside of the car. I routinely leave food in the dairy maid's cottage where I occasionally see a cat coming or going. I like to think that among the comings and goings Wee Grey Stripes might still occasionally drop in.

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