A small, family farm in Wisconsin

Archive for the ‘farm cats’ Category

A Feline House Guest

I’ve written about Violet before.  At nearly 11 years old she’s my oldest barn cat.  She lives a mostly solitary life because she refuses to associate with the other barn cats, and she’s terrified of most humans.  Violet loves me.  She chose me to be her person and so I’ve always watched her closely to be sure she’s doing well.  This winter has been hard on all of us.  I noticed Violet shivering  at times, and because she’s pretty old for a farm cat I felt like she needed special care.  So I brought her in the house.  I’m hoping she’ll be ready to return to her previous life of freedom when the weather warms up.  Her residency here has been almost trouble free.  I’m surprised that Violet has taken to using a litter box as if she’d been doing it her whole life.  She had never been in  the house before.  She learned quickly that the kitchen table is off limits.
We do have a serious problem though.  Charlie.  Violet hates Charlie.  I hoped at first that they would meet, be wary, and tolerate each other.  They rumbled twice.  First time wasn’t too bad.  Violet tried to kill Charlie, he backed off and left her alone.  The second time was more violent and Violet clawed his face, very close to his eye.  Charlie has typical Boston Terrier eyes and they are vulnerable.  I’m now very afraid that Violet will scratch his eyes out, so I keep them safely apart.   They each have plenty of roaming time, but just not together.
Violet’s favorite place to be is wherever I am and especially in my lap.  I’m determined that she will not be a permanent house cat, but time will tell.

Competing with the computer

Competing with the computer

Charlie 2/14

Charlie 2/14

Snuggling in my lap.

Snuggling in my lap.

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March Musings

      

 

      

     Getting closer to Wisconsin spring, but not quite there yet. I don’t let my winter guard down, don’t get my spring hopes up until May. I’m encouraged to see so many migratory birds back home on the farm. I’ve seen an abundance of sandhill cranes and Canada geese. Robins and killdeers are brightening my mornings with their songs. The cardinals are singing their mating songs. I’ve sighted Tundra Swans 2 days in a row. They landed at the back of the farm, near a very large puddle. There’s a lot of water standing due to snow melt and recent rain. I always worry about the birds when we get the inevitable return of winter. This week will be very cold again, with wintry precipitation. Living just on the edge of the Horicon Marsh is a bird watcher’s dream.

Yesterday I found Tiger, dead, behind a bale of hay.  Tiger was Lee’s favorite kitty, who lived in the hog barn and followed Lee around like a dog.  Sadly, farm cats don’t live long lives.  Tiger was probably 4 years old.  We don’t know what caused his death.  RIP Tiger.





 Payten turned one year old on the 20th.  She’s so precious.  Paige and Lucas had a party for her, and she had her own little cake to smoosh, which was the top layer of the birthday cake.  She really wasn’t interested in  eating or smooshing that cake and had to be coerced to dig in for the photo op.Eventually  Payten did make a little mess and was  removed to the bath tub before opening her gifts.

Click on the photo thumbnail to see the full size versions.

How Cold is It? and More…

*It’s SO cold that  if you wear glasses, they will freeze your face wherever they touch skin, causing serious pain.
*It’s SO cold that the layers of clothes we wear make it nearly impossible to move, and forget about hurrying.  Thank goodness for cell phones, because I truly did fall backwards into a deep drift and due to the deep snow and my cold weather attire I was stuck.  Called Lee, who came to my rescue and hauled my butt out of the drift.
It’s SO cold that the balls of horse poo freeze hard as rocks.  The disadvantage is that it’s like stepping on rocks, and ankles will twist.  The frozen balls also get stuck between the tines of the stable fork and have to be removed by hand.  This slows the process of stall cleaning considerably.  The advantage is that the cats get some rousing games of horse poo hockey going and if you can stand being out in the cold long enough to watch, it’s very entertaining.
It’s SO cold that, after being outside for a while, a hot shower is a good idea, but  the hot water turns cold as it runs down your body!
I could go on, but you get the idea.

In other news, Nikki, Ken, Alora, Cameron, and Connor have arrived safely in Scotland, where they have relocated from Wisconsin.  In this picture, they were in Copenhagen during a layover and a plane change.

 

 

And here they are in a train station (I think).  They spent a couple of days doing touristy things in and around London.  They’re now in Scotland and we’re waiting for them to get internet and phone service hooked up so we can communicate.

The Stray Cat

This fuzzy little bundle of mats, burrs, and bones is the kitty who showed up here a while ago.  As you can see, he’s being tolerated by some of the barn cats now.  I call him Smelly Cat (thanks Phoebe) because the resident cats take a whiff of him and then hiss.  I don’t notice any offensive odor, but I’m not a cat.  I tried so hard to get him to the shelter where they could help him out, but Geeze Louise!  Even though he is a stray they want me to pay them to take him.  Big dollars!  To “surrender” a cat the cost is $50.00 for intact cats, and $25.00 for altered cats.  Are you kidding me?  Does it matter that some of the leashes and collars and supplies they’re using were donated by me?  Nah.

I’m guessing that this cat was owned by someone at one time.  He loves people, doesn’t love other cats, so maybe not a farm cat who wandered.  Was he dumped?  Could be.  Or he could have just strayed from his home and got lost.  No matter.  He’s my problem now.  I can’t pay$ 25, or $50 to get him the help he needs.  I can use that money to feed him and the others.    He’s going to have  to tough it out here.  He’s not the first stray we’ve had here and he won’t be the last.  In fact, we have 10 cats on the farm, spread out in 3 or 4 buildings.  All of them are descended from strays.  Speaking of descendants, it sure would be nice if  some area vet would sponsor a spay/neuter clinic for farm and feral cats.

For the record, I don’t blame the shelter or the people who run it.  I understand that they have rules.  I just really wish there was an option for people like me who want to help the strays, but can’t.  They make it so hard to do the right thing.

Animal Stories

There’s a stray cat hanging out here lately.  The first day I had contact with him there was a meow at the barn door.  I opened the door and was surprised to see a strange black cat  come in and walk right past me to the cat food dish.  Unfortunately he was terrorized by the resident barn kitties and I haven’t seen him come back in the barn since.  I don’t think he’s going to be able to make a place for himself here.  The existing barn cats are just too territorial and he’s not aggressive enough to stand up to them.  I can tell that he’s used to people but not other animals.  He looks like a wreck.  He is mostly black with a bit of white on his chest.  He has long hair which is full of burrs and matted.  He’s very thin.  I’ve been leaving food for him in another building and I put my cat carrier in there also.  I’m hoping he’ll get comfy and I’ll be able to catch him in there and take him to the shelter.  He needs TLC.  I’ve been calling him a “him” but I really don’t know his gender.  He’s rolled on his back a couple of times near me and I haven’t seen any boy bits.  He could be a she, or a neutered he.  I haven’t seen him near the horse barn for a couple of days but Lee has seen him around the farm.  Time will tell if I’ll be able to help the little guy.  I hope so.

 

We have electric wires at the end of the driveway, just above the ground.  They work similar to a cattle guard, and keep the sheep from going into the road.  Well, they used to.  We have an older ewe who has decided that a shock is a small price to pay for the opportunity to eat grass along the roadside.  She’s been escaping several times a day for a few days now.  This isn’t a good situation.  Bad things could happen, like a car accident.  There’s no easy remedy.  Lee can lock her up, but sheep don’t like to be alone and it will stress her out.  We tossed around a few ideas this morning and I’m not sure which way he’s going to go.  I’m hopeful he’ll listen to my idea to open up a pasture for them, but pretty sure he won’t 😦

 

Have you ever been awakened at 5 AM by a retching, gagging dog?  Was this dog under the covers?  Were the sheets freshly changed BEFORE the retching and gagging incident?  I’ll say no more.

Mikey’s a Big, Lovable Lug

Can I help you?

Mikey is one of my two favorite barn cats.  He’s a young cat, just a year old.  What makes him stand out from the crowd is his size, and his personality.  This is a huge barn kitty.  Most farm cats are fairly small , as cats go, but Mikey is a giant among cats.  He’s a gentle giant, though.  Mikey is sweet, loyal, and laid back.  In the photo on the left, he’s lying in a feed pan, on his back, and asking me why I woke him.   Everyone loves Mikey.  Our tenants have a little boy who is afraid of animals, but he loves Mikey and talks about him every day.

I named Mikey after my brother Mike.   They share very similar personalities, and they’re both gentle giants.  I have to say though, that it’s a mistake naming a pet after a real person.  Mikey the cat disappeared for a few days and  I was beside myself.  He did come back home, but I just felt so badly about Mike’s kitty namesake possibly meeting a terrible fate.

Still in the feed pan. Silly kitty.

What??

 

The last picture for today is self-explanatory, Mikey doing what he does best.

Yes, he's asleep. Under the birdfeeders.

Morning Snapshots from the Farm

wet fall cornThis dreary picture tells the whole story.  Clouds, rain, crops still standing in wet fields.  The ears of corn are molding on the stalks.  Soybeans are still not harvested.  We’re not alone, it’s the same sad tale for many farmers.   Sometimes I feel like we’re crazy to keep trying to make a living on the farm.

 

Soggy fallWelcome to my world.  It’s wet here.  Everything is soggy.  We haven’t seen much sun in the last few weeks.  This kitty is wanting to get his paws clean, but he’s fighting a losing battle.  He lives in mud city.

 

 

StarhyperSay Hi to Star.  She’s a crazy little mare.  In this picture she’s outside playing while I clean her stall.  The wind and the cold air have made her frisky.  Click on any picture to get the full version.

 

 

 

Mikey and sassy

Mikey and Sassy.  Mikey is everyone’s favorite kitty.  He’s a big lug, friendly with all, has a great little motor.  Sassy is a sweetie too, but more discriminating.  She mostly loves me and sometimes Lee.

 

CatHorse HayrackTiger (the cat) likes to hide in the horse’s hay, whether it’s on the ground or in a hay rack like it is here.  He’s possessive of his hay bed.  Poor Cody got his nose swatted every time he tried to take a bite of his hay.  Tiger eventually got tired of the game and left.  Cody was relieved. 

 

 

 

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