Lessons Learned: Our Not So Barn Cats

Our family has never been cat people. Lindsey and I both had them as kids, but having a house cat has never really appealed to us. Plus, I’m allergic to them, so having itchy eyes certainly takes away some of the fun. Over the years, we have had some barn cats, some have not made it, and some have moved on, probably to households that will let them inside. Joey, who was always pretty feral, still shows up occasionally but is unapproachable.

Wanting to keep the mouse population down, we recently got a couple of kittens, Martha and Moxie. We expected them to be standoffish like most barn cats are and just hoped they would stay nearby if we fed them. What we got are two of the friendliest cats I have ever met. They are now eating their meals inside, along with some lounging and cuddling with Milly, the poodle; when we are outside, they will not leave our side. When playing yard games, they are a part of the game; when going on walks in the woods, they are in tow, and I’m happy to report that we have evidence that they are doing their job as mousers.

About a month ago, we brought them into the vet to get some shots, an estimate on age, and schedule them to get spayed. The vet didn’t think we needed to rush on getting them spayed, so we scheduled it a month out. A few weeks ago, we noticed Martha having what I would call frisky behavior, followed by Moxie behaving in the same way. As the weeks went by, we had a hunch that Martha might be carrying around some kittens.

Sure enough. They both went to get spayed, and while Moxie had her procedure, Martha left with an ultrasound and a report of carrying five to six kittens. So, if you are interested in a kitten, please contact me. If you want to see some adorable kitten pictures, I’m sure they will be on Instagram  @lindsey.moceri in about a month.

I have learned some lessons through this process. One, my family only lets me believe that I have a semblance of control over our animal population as dogs, cats, and cows keep ending up under my care. The reality is they do what they want while pretending it’s a discussion. Two, estimating a cat’s age appears to be more of an art than science, which would have been useful information beforehand. Three, if a cat appears to be in heat, they are probably in heat no matter how young you may think they are. Four, let go of the stress that caring for animals can bring and just enjoy them for what they are. Even if they drain the bank account, make messes, wake me up at night, and destroy fences and furniture. (I may still be working on the last lesson)

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