The Barn Cats

Barn Kittens, photo A. Covert

Barn Kittens, photo A. Covert


Like any good barn, our barn has barn cats. Lots of them.

My uncle made a practice of feeding the barn cats event though they’re feral and not domestic cats but as an animal lover can see why he risked his life to care for them. They’re cute little, sweet little kitty cats living in that big drafty barn! Wouldn’t they prefer to come and stay with us in the house and be warm and snugly and eat processed cat food and keep us company and look adorable when chasing string and the like?

We dare not start trying to feed the barn cats, but my uncle got to the point where he was feeding many of these cats and bringing certain of his favourites into the house. One of my uncle’s best-loved barn cats he named Harry and let him into the house to stay warm and keep him company. Harry had a sweet disposition and was a long haired barn cat, hence the name.

My uncle took care of six or eight of the feral barn cats at once, providing food, litter boxes and woolly covered places for them to seek shelter from the elements. He did this faithfully for a long while until one of them scratched him quite seriously and he became ill as a result. It was difficult, but after that we convinced him to give up the practice and the barn cats went back to the drafty barn and had to get used to fending for themselves again.

My uncle’s been gone for about three years, but the barn cats are still alive and well out there in the big drafty barn. We saw them out there in the barn on our recent trip to Lodi a week ago. I spotted two different cats–one long-haired, mangy white one, probably the mama barn cat, and a smaller, short-haired white one as well.  Dad saw a couple as well, a different black one and the mama.They seemed to be eyeing us in the house as their potential meal ticket, but each of us was equally wary as the other. We all seemed to recognize that much as we’d like to reconcile it would be better to keep to our separate spheres of existence.

Lodi Kittens, photo A. Covert

Lodi Kittens, photo A. Covert

These are probably the same cats that used to visit my uncle for their regular meals, though some have certainly come and gone by now. It’s hard to resist their sweet little furry faces, but we know from experience that it’s not wise to attempt to domesticate these feral barn cats and so we let them stay out in the barn. All things considered, they’re probably completely content without human companionship.

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1 Comment

  1. RM said,

    February 16, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    There was Hairy, and Ranger (I think he was all black and Floyd took the name from the character who stalks around Janet Evanovitch’s Stephanie Plum mysteries always dressed in black), and Tuxman–black and white, obviously. I can’t remember the others. I do remember how sick he got from that cat scratch though–he was in hospital for a week! He sure loved those cats, though.


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