Over the winter, I noticed there were certain areas of my barn that attracted mice. I’d see their gross little droppings on the shelves in the feed room or find evidence of their handiwork in the tack room. Johnny and I set out some electric mouse traps (which are awesome), but the mice seemed to ignore the bait in them in favor of attempting to gnaw through feed bags.
I decided that a couple of barn cats might be a good solution. I have three cats already; they’re in and out of the house at their leisure, but only Uncle Jimmy ventures out to the barn much. I’ve had cats that lived exclusively in the barn before, and they’ve always been an effective method of keeping pests away.
A couple of weeks ago, the man my neighbor and I buy hay from called to ask if we’d like to buy the last of the 2016 hay in his barn. We headed over to pick some up and discovered that he had 13 (!) kittens available in addition to the hay. Two days later, my neighbor and I headed back to get a couple of kittens apiece.
Five of the kittens were too young to take- they barely had their eyes open- but eight of them were somewhere between six and eight weeks old. The hay seller had cornered them in an empty horse stall between the wall and a couple of hay bales. There were two gray kittens, one black kitten, two pale creamy orange tabbies, and three bright orange tabbies. My neighbor and I are
total suckers animal lovers and found it impossible to choose which four we wanted to take.
And that’s how I ended up with eight kittens living in my feed room. Most of them were quite shy at first, but several cans of soft kitten food later, they are almost all friendly, curious, and affectionate toward humans. They constantly play with each other and climb around all the obstacles in my feed room (like left over plumbing supplies and boxes of light bulbs). Currently, their names aren’t very imaginative: Big Creamy, Little Creamy, Big Gray, Little Gray, Blackie, Feral Orange One, Friendly Orange Tabby, and Orange Tabby With Socks.
I’m not sure how many I’ll end up with- my neighbor wants two, one of her students whose family is moving to their own farm wants two or three, and I’ll end up with the leftovers. Right now, though, I’m living my best life by embracing my inner crazy cat lady, haha!