Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Geez, Don't DO That!

Being an outdoor kitty is a hazardous life.  While barn cats are often thought of as being super disposable (grrr) ours are not.  They all came here as drop-offs or wanderers and we've been able to accommodate everyone as they've appeared over the years.  Newcomers blend into the social structure with little problem and come to use the lower barn as home base.  Any new cat that shows up gets neutered immediately, receives yearly vaccinations, have dry food available daily, go to the vet when needed, and get petted every day. They range all over the farm - barns, out buildings, fields, pastures, woods, where ever they want to go - and put a dent in the rodent population which we are glad of. We don't want to use poison if at all possible. While we've had as many as seven,  at the moment we have only two "functioning" barn cats (Chloe and Clem),  geriatric Natasha who rarely pokes her nose out the back door of the barn, and Kittin who is now the wool shop cat because of getting hit by a car last year.

Chloe and Clem hunt a lot and feed themselves probably more than we even know.  Still, they usually check in at chore time to get some fresh kibble and some petting.  Sometimes one will miss one chore session but is back at the next feeding or seen strolling around the farm randomly during the day.

We saw both Chloe and Clem Friday night.  Saturday AM Chloe wasn't in but we didn't think much of it.  Saturday night I realized I hadn't seen her all day.  Andy didn't recall seeing her out and about either and he went and checked the big Morton building in case she had gotten shut in by accident.  No Chloe.  Well, it was an awfully hot day and maybe she was just cool and comfy somewhere and we'd see her in the morning.

Sunday morning, no Chloe.  Now I was getting really worried.  Cats have a reputation of being aloof and independent but as friendly and domesticated as ours are it was not normal for her to not check in for this long. We walked the ditches, thinking maybe she had been killed by a car.  Nothing but some empty Red Bull cans and beef jerky wrappers.  (grrr, again).  We don't have any open wells or cisterns, no exposed chemicals, no poisoned rodents staggering around, no buildings or vehicles to be shut in...  No Chloe on Monday.  We went through all the buildings, climbed into the rafters to look at the top of the hay mows, wandered through the tall weeds around the corn cribs, fence lines, backside of buildings, calling and listening for a meow.  A dead or hiding cat could be nearly impossible to find.

A dozen ugly scenarios ran through my head.  She got caught and eaten by one of our too bold coyotes.  A big owl, like the one that likely took the rat off the lawn last winter, caught and ate her.  The fisher came back and got her.  She got attacked by a coyote/owl/fisher but got away and hid and is slowly dying.  Or rolled by a car and is now holed up somewhere, dying.  Or got beaten up badly by a feral tom cat (there are a few around) and is holed up, dying. Has been secretly developing diabetes/kidney failure/heart issues and is holed up somewhere, dying. See the pattern?  It was awful to not know what had happened.

I'm ready to write her obituary and this morning she comes strolling into the barn.  No injuries, no scruffy fur, no sniffles or weepy eyes, full belly.......

"What a nice day.  This cooler weather is lovely."

But the sun is nice too....mmmmm...<rub, rub, roll>..... makes me feel like a kitten."

Where the h*&@ have you been??

"There's no need to take a tone with me.  Call it a midlife crisis.  I went walkabout.  You wouldn't understand."

"No midlife crisis here, no sir, I'll be right here for kibble any time you're handing it out."

Give your sister a talking to, Clem.  We don't wan to do that again.


  1. Even our fur babies cause us grief.

  2. I love the way the mind works expending so much energy on the possible demise of the cat!!! And..... The cats don't even care!!! Just be sure you have the bowl filled with kibble when they come strolling in!!

  3. I feel for you. A semi-feral who adopted us, Luna, went walkabout about a year ago, and we haven't seen her since. Some neighbors think they've spied her, but I think they've seen another tuxedo kitty. My heart breaks - all of my feared endings are like yours. So glad your reprobate returned!

  4. Her third eyelids are across in the pics of her where you can see her eyes. That is always a sign to me that a cat is feeling a bit off-colour, though not a sign to panic. Maybe she did feel a bit sick and hole up but is now on the mend.