I had the audacity to think this week that (in terms of farm/animals) “Huh. There’s really nothing happening this week!” Well, the universe heard that and laughed.
This story actually starts a few weeks ago when we noticed a black cat running around our property. She (you’ll see how we know it’s a ‘she’ in a minute) was always busy, running here and there, never still. Sometime last week, we noticed she wasn’t hanging around any more.
A few days later, I heard a loud meowing coming from near the barn while I was outside. Maxwell and Mowgli both took off not long after we brought them home, and I figured it was one of them out in the woods. Then on Sunday night Steve heard the same noisy ‘meow’ while he was milking. It was constant, never stopping. After investigating, he was able to figure out that it was coming from under the barn. The meowing still hadn’t ceased and it sounded distressed – he figured that a cat had gone under there and had gotten stuck.
After coming back inside to get me and a flashlight, we peered under the barn (on our bellies, in the mud, slapping ourselves silly from mosquitoes) and shone our light under. First we saw nothing. Then, I saw a teeny face and enormous eyes staring back at me. It was a kitten – a tiny, tiny kitten! Both of us were taken aback. Its meow was so loud and so deep it didn’t seem possible it was coming from anything other than a full grown cat, and especially not a kitten so small and scrawny.
We were able to determine that it was not stuck, only hungry and scared. There wasn’t any way we could reach that far in to grab it, so we baited a Hav-a-Heart trap and went to bed. When Steve and Gabe went out for the morning milking, there he was:
How did he get there? Our best guess is that the black cat is his mother, as her disappearance coincided with us hearing him crying. Either something happened to her or she decided he was big enough to fend for himself and went on her way. The poor thing was like a little skeleton; it’s pretty clear he’s not actually old enough to care for himself. He’s chowed down on everything we’ve put in front of him. And handily enough, goat’s milk is good for young kittens, and he’s been loving bowls of that too.
His arrival coincides with our own needs nicely. With Maxwell and Mowgli gone, we’ve been having rodent troubles in the barn. Steve found a drowned mouse in the goats’ water not long ago… yeah, that was a big clue we needed someone of the feline persuasion. This time we decided our best bet would be a kitten that could learn to call the barn home as opposed to adult cats that would strike out on their own. So, he’ll be staying. Since we found him so close to July 4th, we’re calling him Thomas Jefferson.
Gabe has been pleading to keep him in the house. He’s even gone so far as to suggest we kick Zoë out to the barn to catch mice so that Thomas Jefferson can stay. TJ is an unbelievably friendly kitten, and he makes a good case for himself. However, this would be against the policy Steve proposed a few years ago – ‘no more animals that poop in the house.’ Zoë, who’s been with us for 8 years, is grandfathered in. So, once we’ve brought him to the vet to get his shots and have him fixed, he’ll be our mouser.
Right after all of our goat kids had left and we were thinking we were back to ‘normal,’ this happens. Always something when you have a mini farm!