Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Benefits of Barn Kitties

Most every barn I’ve ever been in has had at least one resident cat.

When a barn is used for grain storage, it is like issuing an open invitation to rodents and critters from near and far. All too easily these visitors can get way out of hand. Enter the BARN CAT!

Years ago, Miss Kitty showed up on the farm. Hugely pregnant and incredibly hungry, she was first seen swiping a piece of buttered bread from the chicken bucket on the back porch. Over time, she had her kittens, became tame enough to pet, and eventually made her way inside. It’s been well over 13 years since our first meeting, and she’s still part of farm life here on the hill. She’s moving way slower these days, but she still does her fair share on the rodent patrol in the barn. She has also moved back to the barn and seems to favor the warmth of the hoophouse.

About two years ago Squeekie showed up. She was just a timid kitten when we first began seeing her. She, too, had a litter of kittens. (Since then, ALL the cats have been “fixed”) Despite our continued interaction with her, she is just not as friendly as “Mert” (Miss Kitty doesn’t MEOW…she usually just says “mert”…hence, the nickname.) She is a nice cat and a tireless hunter, nonetheless.

Squeekie chose the hayloft to have her kittens. There was the cutest little nest of four kitties. One did not survive. Somehow, the survivors ended up staying. Correction, two stayed, one moved in with A & T and continued the family line elsewhere. The kittens are grown cats now; “Booooyyy” has even gotten his own blog entries, while Sissie is the kittie beauty queen.

With all these cats, there are no rodents chewing through feedsacks, and no birds bringing with them the possibility of coccidiosis. Voles and shrews, and even moles are quickly dispatched. There’s not too much chance of any type of pest staying in the barn for long. This is fine by us!

The cats’ antics provide some much appreciated amusement along the way, too. It is not unusual to see them catapult into the loft or race through the barn in hot pursuit of each other, or sleeping together in a fuzzy kitty pile. Their interaction with the dogs create some funny moments as well. They are all somewhat friendly and funny and allow a warm cuddle now and then.

But, quite possibly their best quality….they LOVE to eat GRASSHOPPERS! As a matter of fact, the horrible pests seems to be a preferred summer delicacy.

Considering the amount of damage grasshoppers cause us, we're glad for all the help we can get.

Yay, Barn Kitties!

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