It was 6 am on a rainy February morning. The cold darkness illuminated only by my headlamp as I made the morning rounds to feed the horses. Rain poured from the black sky and thunder rolled in the distance. As I walked through the breezeway that connects the house to the garage I heard the sound. It was a cat in distress. Our barn cats don’t cry out. They are tough. This was something different. I had just left the barn and seen both barn cats. The loud cry came again as lightning flashed in the distance. The cry was coming from under the porch. As I walked toward the sound the cry came again. I called out “here kitty kitty”. An answer came at once. I bent down and called softly and the cat cried out again. I pointed my light into the darkness and saw nothing. The cry came again. It was a lament. I looked harder and suddenly into my light walked a little black kitten. I reached down and picked it up. The shivering kitten looked up at me and I took her back to the barn.
“Baby kitty” became the newest member of the barn cat clan. She was skinny and injured. It looked like someone had thrown her from a car. But she managed to get under our porch and survive. This is not a small feat as our house sits a hundred yards off the farm-to-market road. Then one day this spring, one of the elder barn cats died. It was about this time that a ferrel tom cat showed up for a visit. Then a new lost dog showed up at the farm who turned out to be a cat killer. Our last male barn cat recognized this and moved under the house. Baby kitty became “mama kitty” and we had four new additions to the clan. Then one fateful day, the new dog killed one of our house cats and had to move on. The last remaining barn cat moved into the house and mama kitty and her four kittens took over the barn.
What’s interesting about these kittens is that they are almost identical to all of our existing cats and the cat that was killed by the dog. So now they roam the barn, looking for mice, snakes and anything that moves. They join the long line of cats that have lived. worked and played in our barn. They are not pampered but they enjoy an full interesting life that provides them with meaning and purpose. In the end can any of us ask any more than that?