Betty, three years before she died.

6. CATS

We’ve had so many cats and dogs over the years and they’ve given us so much joy. (Some not so much, others more)!

This is generally what it looked like around here until about 10 years ago. When the cats started dying of old age, we didn't replace them.
This is what is always looked like around here till about ten years ago. As the cats started dying off from old age, we didn’t replace them. We were down to two cats for about 8 years and that’s when the mice, and then the snakes, moved in. Since we got three new cats in 2013, they have really cleaned the nasties out of the yard. 

 

Patrick, in 2005. He's still alive and kickin' but he left our yard and moved into the barn when we got three new kittens in 2013. He still comes up here every now and then, but only stays a few minutes and then heads back to the barn.
Patrick, in 2005. He’s still alive and kickin’ but he left our yard and moved into the barn when we got three new kittens in 2013. He still comes up here every now and then, but only stays a few minutes and then heads back to the barn.

BETTY, pictured below, was a sweetheart. No matter where I was outside, she was there. If I got on my hands and knees to pull weeds, she’d jump up on my back and snooze. For the last three months of Betty’s life, she was not doing all that great. Then, one morning in February, 2012, I went outside with the dog and found Betty laying on the patio. We’d had some melting snow the day before, and she was laying on a bit of it which had frozen during the night. I had to get some water to pour under her to get her loose. We immediately wrapped her up and took her to the vet. She was barely alive. We hoped the vet could do something, but it didn’t work out, and Betty was put down. I’ve never gotten over the feeling that she may have been laying there, in the cold, for hours, and if I’d only known we might have been able to save her. She was only 13.

Betty, three years before she died.
Betty, three years before she died.

The summer following Betty’s death, we got three young kittens. The only cat we had left was Patrick and we were finding too many snakes and mice in the yard. Patrick didn’t like the new kitties, so he moved into the barn. The summer after we got these cats, when they were a year old, I started finding dead mice on the patio almost every day. Sometimes three or four a day. I started keeping track, and from June thru October they left 431 dead mice, along with a dozen or more chipmunks, a mole, 7 shrews, and 2 flying squirrels on the patio. I can’t imagine how many more they found and ate! 2015, the next year,  I started keeping count in March and till the end of October they’d only left 38 mice, 2 shrews, 1 flying squirrel and 3 baby rabbits on the patio. From 431 mice the first year to 38 the second! We must have had a terrible rodent infestation out there! (I’ve only had one mouse in the house, though, and that was in 1992 and I am sure it got in through the dryer vent. The vent was replaced and it never happened again).  Additionally, the number of snakes has decreased ten-fold. The cats do a great job!

Enjoying the seat/carrier on the back of the 4 wheeler.
Enjoying the seat/carrier on the back of the 4 wheeler.

 

Earl, one of our newer cats.
Earl, one of our newer cats.

 

1-JUNE EARL IN MAPLE-001
Earl and Jake trying to destroy one of my Japanese maples.

MOONIE was one of our three new kittens. When we got him he was near death. He was a very little kitten with such terrible eye infections that his eyes were crusted shut. He couldn’t see, so he hard a difficult time finding food at the farm he was living at. He was nothing but skin and bones. When I saw him in a neighbor’s barn, I was sick. He wasn’t being cared for. Luckily, they gave him to me. Got meds from the vet and took care of him and you can see what a beautiful cat he turned into.  Cats that are solid white with blue eyes are deaf. They suffer from a congenital degeneration of the inner ear. Luckily for us and Moonie, he wasn’t “quite” pure white. His ears had a light golden color as did his tail. Because of this, he escaped the sentence of deafness and had very good hearing. Sadly, in Feb. 2015, when my husband let the dog out in the morning, he found Moonie inside the cat house, dead. No real indication of what happened except a bit of blood by his nose and mouth. He was not even three years old. It was a devastating blow, especially as we considered him sort of a “miracle cat” to have survived such a miserable beginning.

Moonie and his beautiful blue eyes.
Moonie and his beautiful blue eyes.

 

Jake and Earl, sitting on the 4 wheeler.
Jake and Earl, sitting on the 4 wheeler.

 

1-EARL CHIPMUNK 1
It’s always good to see the kitties doing their job and getting rid of the vermin! One less chipmunk to tear up the flower beds!

 

Earl, laying on the door mat with a dead chipmunk. These cats seem to always bring their kill onto the patio and leave it without eating it. Either they're eating their fill somewhere in the yard, or they prefer the taste of dry catfood!
Earl, deciding he really didn’t want to eat the chipmunk afterall.

We got MARTHA and GEORGE in 2007 when I saw someone put an ad on a local internet board. She said they were spayed and neutered, so that was a plus! We took them as barn cats. They were both absolutely sweet. They’d sometimes go out of the barn during the day, but they always stayed within 200′ of it, and they always came back at chore time at the end of the day and got shut in the barn for the night.

Martha and George... such sweet cats that met untimely ends.
Martha and George… such sweet cats that met untimely ends.

Our barn is at the bottom of our hill, about 700 or 800 feet from the house. We never ever saw either of the two cats them come up to the house. I was in the yard that day and my dog Jack kept running into the woods and barking like crazy. I’d call him back and two minutes later he’d be gone and barking. My granddaughter was here so I told her we were going to walk up there to see what Jack was barking about. We got to the spot where he was. His hair was raised up and he was looking up the hill and kept barking. I realized there was an awful odor up there and couldn’t figure out what it was. I looked around and there was George, laying at the bottom of a tree, sort of wrapped around it. His body was still soft so he hadn’t been dead long. But he didn’t smell. Then it hit me…. bear! That smell was the kind of stink a bear had. We think that for some reason George was up in the woods and came upon a bear. It would seem like the bear swiped at George with a paw, sending him crashing into a tree, which killed him, and he slid to the base of the tree. We found only a bit of blood coming out his mouth. I think the dog was barking because he’d either seen the bear, or the foul smell was setting him on edge.

We lost Martha in late January 2016. When my husband went to the barn for morning chores, he said she was meowing and not able to get up on her back feet. He thinks she got into either a horse stall or in with one of the steers and was stepped on. She was probably bleeding internally and died soon after. There’s really nothing we could have done to save her, or George for that matter. But it hurts, none-the-less.

MAX was a cool cat! Our neighbor came to us one day and said they had a friend with a cat and couldn’t keep him any longer. He’d been declawed, meaning he was a house cat, and I don’t care for house cats. The lady said her friend simply had to get rid of him and would be happy if we took him as a barn cat, so we did. He was maybe ten years old. He seemed to do well and was very friendly! One day my husband was on his four wheeler on our land across the road, by the creek, and there was Max! That was too far from home! My husband grabbed him and set him on the 4 wheeler and drove him back to the barn. From that time one, whenever Max heard the 4 wheeler he’d come running, jump up on the seat in front of my husband, and ride with him! I’ve tried getting our other cats to ride on the 4 wheeler and I’m lucky I made it out alive, the way they hissed and scratched! One day, after having Max several years, he simply did not show up at chore time to spend the night in the barn. We never saw him again. A good cat, and we missed him greatly.

Max on the 4 wheeler! He loved his rides. He could be anywhere in the trees far from the barn, but when he heard the 4 wheeler he'd appear out of no where and jump on it! My other cats would run and hide!
Max on the 4 wheeler! He loved his rides. He could be anywhere in the trees far from the barn, but when he heard the 4 wheeler he’d appear out of no where and jump on it! Our other cats would run and hide!

Max taking a ride on the 4 wheeler.

Please go to our page on our dogs by clicking here: DOGS