I have worked very hard to keep my home life separated from my work life. Only a handful of people from work know about my blog (my alter-ego) or all the animals at my farm. One thing I had been worried about was people thinking I was a good receptacle for their unwanted pets.
Those of you that read regularly know I have a variety of cats that live at the farm. I love cats but my old Dobermans did not and we did not have cats when we first moved here over six years ago. But wild, feral cats found us. I have neutered what I can catch. I have lost many to the highway, the wild dogs, coyotes and other dangers. My population was down to about seven cats this summer.
Enter my office mate with a cat problem. She told me she had a mother kitty and two kittens in her backyard and that her dogs, a Shih Tzu and an Aussie were afraid of them. I didn’t really believe her. I just thought she wanted to dump them and did not want to have to go to the shelter. I made her promise to pay half of the neutering cost and we agreed I would take them on Fourth of July weekend.
Of course it was hot. She was off work for the holiday. She told me she had captured the momma and babies at feeding time and would bring them to me in a crate when I was ready to leave for the day.
First thing I noticed when I saw the cats was that the two kittens were calicoes, which meant they were females. And they were at least three months old (I had been imagining little kittens). Momma was all white with a little tiger coloring on her ear and tail. No one was happy.
My plan was to put them in my tack room and hope for the best. I figured my boss cat, Alice, would run them out, but they would have the barn and under the tack room for safety. There is always food and water at the barn and on the front porch of the house. Alice is one of my oldest cats, neutered early, she stays around the barn with her male cousins JP and Matt (the cat).
I let the momma out, named her Meg, and proceeded to get to know her. She was very sweet to me, allowing me to pet her and hold her. The kittens were not touchable. I was surprised the next morning to go out to feed and find Meg and the kids waiting for me in the tack-room. Alice and friends were circling the barn, waiting for food. I thought that was interesting. I wouldn’t have thought Alice would go along with that but who knows?
That night, I learned why Alice was not in the tack-room. If she or any of the cats, approached the doorway, Meg turned into a hissing, yowling, scratching fool, especially for a petite white cat. And I quickly learned her control over the tack-room ownership extended past just the neutered cats. The cat I hate, big, ol tom cat, Harry Potter, sauntered up to the tack-room to get some breakfast and Meg went all Ninja on him. I haven’t seen him back for a meal since, choosing instead to dine on the front porch of the house.
Likewise, the poodle got a lesson in cat dynamics when he bounded up into the cat corner. I believe his nose was a little bloody upon retreat. In fact, little Meg has now owned the tack-room for almost a month. The only outsider she allows in is Lula, the Dachshund. Perhaps Meg doesn’t even count her as a dog. I do not know.
When I realized this tiny ball of fur really was serious about her control over the tack-room was when my old horse Kid, moseying around the paddock, stuck his big head into watch Lauren make feed as he has done a thousand times over the last several years. He casually pushed his nose in the door and Meg launched on his face like a heat sensing missile. Poor Kid spun around on his 31 year-old legs and has not come back to the tack room since.
I definitely owe my co-worker an apology. This cat is afraid of no predator. I can see why her dogs were afraid. I have come to love the Sputnik myself. Just let her know you are coming before you enter Mission Control-Cat style.