I had to share this picture of Ava showing remarkable restraint for a 3-month-old puppy, watching as 3 orphaned kittens have their lunch. Though she is licking her lips.
Cats definitely add an interesting dimension to the farm. When we got cattle, we also got rats. When you’d open the door to the cattle shed a wave of rat bodies would scatter into the darker corners. So then came 4 cats, courtesy of the vet clinic where my brother works. It wasn’t long until we hardly saw a rat anymore.
Farm cat populations are an ever-changing demographic. Some get run over, some are re-homed when they eat a family of Silkie chickens, some are given away to cat-deficient neighbors, some simply disappear. Last year we had 3 generations – 2 of the original four, 3 of their children, and 9 of their grandchildren. This year all that’s left are 3 of the grandchildren, and now these orphans.
Little Girl, the matriarch, is not the world’s best mother. Last year she had 2 litters and all of them died. No Mother of the Year awards for her. This spring she had a litter of four. About a week after they opened their eyes, she ditched them.
So we’ve been attempting to foster these teeny tiny little things. We were keeping them in Matt’s garage but they would come running out when they heard a person or even a car. One got run over So we brought them in the house.
Yesterday “Orange Kitty” died. She never got the hang of eating on her own. We tried “bottle feeding” her from a syringe but she just couldn’t catch on.
The remaining two – “Black Kitty” and “Fatty McKittykins” – are doing well and I’m working on a transition strategy for getting them back out of the house. As much as I love cats, I don’t love cat litter boxes.