Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the tag “barn cats”

Dr. Beau Heals a Foe

beau and cat

Our dog Beau, although very smart, probably does not have a medical degree unless he got it online while Sugar and I were sleeping.  He is more likely practicing medicine without a license.  Please do not report him to the authorities.  His patients don’t care whether he is a licensed medical doctor.

This morning, one of our barn cats, Booger, showed up on the porch with a torn ear.  Sugar was examining it.  As she held the cat, Beau came up to consult.  He immediately diagnosed the problem and commenced treatment.  He started licking the cat’s ear and and it did not mind.  It actually appreciated the medical care being administered.  It did not try to get away from Beau.  Sugar called for me to come and watch.  I am now a witness in case you don’t believe Miss Sugar, who is prone to exaggerate Beau’s talents.  I saw it with my own eyes.  It lasted for several minutes.  It could have lasted even longer but Booger’s health insurance plan only covers limited acute care.

Beau might have gently touched on a sensitive subject concerning contraception.  Booger does not believe in being neutered.  He is very reluctant to use birth control. He does not appear to be a practicing Catholic, yet he is devout about his interest in girls.  We have had many deep discussions with Booger about being responsible and to avoid unnecessary procreation.  He adamantly insists on using natural methods in his sex life.

We do not have any female cats.  He disappeared for a couple days.  I surmise that he visited a neighboring ranch that might have female cats.  They might have one or more male cats.  Someone ripped Booger’s ear.  We do not know the circumstances.

Nevertheless, Dr. Beau treated Booger regardless of religious or gender issues.  He does not limit his practice to one species.  He has licked my foot to treat rough heels.  In exchange for room and board, he did not bill me for his services.

Dr. Beau put aside his differences with Booger like the true humanitarian he is.  Wait, he can’t be a non-human humanitarian.  I guess we will simply call him an animal lover.

Snowed In


We woke to snow and it kept coming all day.  What do we care?

We have wood to  burn.  I think there is plenty of propane in the tank.  We paid the electric bill.  And have a generator too.  We have hay in the barn.  We have groceries, including dog food and cat food.  If we brush off the satellite dishes, we have internet and TV.

I still have to go outside.  The horses rely on me to throw them hay and fill the heated stock tank with water.  They appreciate my care.  We have relationships.  They have independent personalities.  On the other hand, the barn cats, who also have personalities, are less appreciative.  Rather, they believe that they are entitled.  They scold me when they should be worshiping me.  I doubt many barn cats have a covered bed heated by an electric blanket.

A snow plow went up our country road.  We could get to the highway if there were not drifts on the lane.  But we don’t need to go to town.  I got a call that the Rural Land Use Advisory Board meeting was cancelled.

I shoveled off the deck three times but it does not appear that mattered.  It is deep with snow again.  An avalanche slid off the steep metal roof.

Sugar made soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch and we had leftover ziti and Italian green beans for supper.

Being snowed is kinda fun.  Especially with Miss Sugar.

Ferocious Felines

I stand corrected.  Our barn cats are not pussies, as I had implied in a recent post.  Apparently, they are protective of their turf.

Not only is the yellow cat, who intruded into the barn, nowhere around, but a second stranger was driven away.  Of course, it was two against one.  They stood united.

What happened is that Sugar heard something on our porch.  She turned on the light and found a cat on the railing.  It looked like Simba, aka Camo.  Turns out it was not.  It was yet another cat.  A big one.  It allowed her to pet it and to confirm its maleness.  Then she heard threatening meows and growls below the porch.  They came from our cats, who were displeased by having a visitor.  Definitely unhospitable.

We later heard the sounds of a cat fight, like one might hear in an alley at night, out by the garbage cans.  We don’t have an alley, nor alley cats, but barn cats make the same noises when in conflict.

The visitor was so big that we feared we might find our smaller kitties dead or injured in the morning.  Not so, thankfully.  In the morning they greeted us unwounded and, more importantly, alive.

We will call that a victory for the home team.  Way to go Camo and Jigsy!  Teamwork paid off.  Let the word go out amongst the local animals that our cats should be feared.  Pussy cats no more, they are ferocious felines — kings of our jungle.

cats on hike

The badasses!  Beware.

Showdown at the Cross Creek Corral

Stump Kitty

Yesterday, I wrote a post called “Pussy Cats” about a strange cat intruding into our barn.  For those of you loyal readers who have been waiting with bated breath concerning the effect on our resident barn cats, you are free to unbate your respective breaths, for I will now tell you a harrowing story of bravery and redemption.

Those readers who missed Episode One need to catch up.  I will help you.

Previously on Shootin’ the Breeze:  A large yellow cat visited the barn.  It was in the stall where we feed our barn cats and provide a warm bed, heated by an electric blanket.  The yellow visitor was growling inside the stall.  Our resident cats, Camo and Jigsy, were thwarted from entering because entering required going under the stall door, a dangerous route making them vulnerable to ambush.  So they skedaddled up to the house to tattle to Miss Sugar.

After personal investigation, I reported on the situation to Miss Sugar, and was summarily sent back to the barn to protect our precious pussies.  By then, the yellow cat was out of the stall, sitting on the stack of hay bales, still making noise.  It was not still growling, as our pussy cats were no longer there.  It was meowing in a whiny manner.

I petted it while wearing gloves.  I planned to pick it up to put it in a pet carrier and remove it.  When I changed my motion from petting it to reaching under it to pick it up, it tried to bite me.  Actually, it did bite me, but the teeth did not penetrate the leather glove.  Still, I felt a pinch and checked to see if skin was broken.  It was not.  I do not want rabies shots.  I’m not drooling too bad yet.

The cat climbed to the top of the stack.  I did not follow.  I let it be.  I warned it, “This ain’t over yet.  I shall return.  And you better not be here when I do unless you want more trouble than you can handle.”  It listened to what I said.  “Don’t make me tell you again,” I added.  “Around these parts, folks call me King of the Wild Frontier.”  That gave him something to think about.

I returned to the house and found Sugar leafing through my life insurance policy.  She told me that being attacked by a rabid cat might qualify for double indemnity, you know, as an accidental death.  She was reading the fine print, making plans.

In the morning, when I did the chores, fighting through the fever and hallucinations, I could not find the yellow cat.  I like to think that my loyal buddies, Camo and Jigsy, drove away the yellow cat, probably as revenge for its attack on me.  They might have laid down the law — saying perhaps, “This barn ain’t big enough for the three of us.  Git off of this ranch or else.”  And the yeller coward left.  (Or it might have left due to the stern talking to it received  from King of the Wild Frontier).

I think I will be all right.  My damaged finger did not swell up.  Sugar put the insurance policy back in the drawer.  She should have known that I’m too tough for some wild beast to take down.  Maybe our barn cats are not pussies either.

Kitty in snow

Pussy Cats

snow catcamocat

Back where I come from, being called a “Pussy” was not a compliment. It still is not a compliment. It is, actually, considered provocation for a fight.

We have two male barn cats. They are both pussies. I say that because another cat came to our barn and scared them off. They came to the house to tattle.

I encountered the third cat when I went to the barn to feed the horses. We have a gray and white cat and a camo cat. This new cat is yellow and white — and mean. He took over the stall where our cats have their food and bed. Their bed is warmed by an electric blanket. The blanket was my wife’s idea. Sugar coddled them and now look how they turned out. Pussies!

I don’t blame the yellow cat for coveting the cat stall. I wish they could all get along and share it, but apparently “two is company and three’s a crowd.”

In the meantime, the pussy cats are complaining about being displaced. I mentioned to Sugar the concept of Survival of the Fittest. She took it wrong. She told me that since I am so tough, I need to go protect the pussies by clearing out this aggressor. I guess I better put my gloves on. I hope it does not scratch my pretty face. Stay tuned.

cats on hike

The “trail of tears” — cats driven from their home.  Will they return?  Will the intruder move on?

Spoiled Cats

cats on hike

Miss Sugar goes overboard in every endeavor.  Most recently, she provided to our barn cats what no other barn cat in the history of the world has ever possessed — a heated blanket in a box, which is elevated on a platform, which is accessed by a ramp, which is in a stall in the barn, and because it is in a stall, requires an extension cord from the electric blanket in the stall to a GFI plug twenty feet away.  Also on the platform, which prevents trespassing by dogs, who cannot go up the narrow ramp, nor under the stall door, there are food bowls, in which she puts formerly dry food which has warm water added to make it more appealing.

Sometimes I feed the cats.  Unlike Sugar, I put some dog food in their bowls.  No, I do not bring warm water from the house to the barn.  So call the Humane Society.  They will give Sugar an award and me a citation which I will vigorously defend by calling as defense witnesses several neighboring ranchers who will describe that I am complying with the standard of care for barn cats.

Cat Tales

Now we have three cats — The Prodigal Cat, The Baby Kitty, and, as of yesterday, The Yellow Cat With A Broken Tail.

Yesterday, the yellow cat showed up on the porch.  It looks like it has “been around.”  It has a scar on its face and a broken tail.  Miss Sugar fed it and it purred.  Beau chased it up a support post on the front porch and finished its lunch.  Miss Sugar put it in a little tool shed on the property.  It seems to like it.  We wonder whether someone dropped it off.  We do not exactly live on the main drag. 

Today, The Prodigal Cat is having surgery.  We brought it to The Cat Rescue Spay & Neuter Clinic at 7:00 a.m. this morning.  It was in a cage in the back of the SUV, crying all the way.  Maybe it heard us talking about its fate.  I did not comfort it.  I suggested that it run for the hills, but I was obligated to leave it in the cage.  I feel as if I am betraying a fellow male.  I am breaking The Golden Rule.  I certainly would not want this “done unto me.”  Our thinking is that it might stay home when it loses its interest in dating females. 

The Baby Kitty is oblivious to the life experiences that the senior cats have endured.  Its day will come. 

Barn Orientation

Well, Gentle Readers, The Prodigal Cat and The New Kitty are now residing in the barn, having been moved there from the screened porch. However, they are not yet free to roam the barn, as we intend, because they are still in an orientation period.

The orientation period is taking place in separate but adjacent cages in a stall. Each cage is equipped with food, water, litter box, and bed. We want them to feel at home there and to get acquainted with one another before being granted freedom. We especially fear that The Prodigal Cat will contribute to the delinquency of the minor kitty. We do not want to go retrieve them from the neighbor’s barn.

A lady who finds homes for feral cats told me that she uses the cage in the barn technique for cats to start considering a place home.

Time will tell.

Prodigal Cat

The Prodigal Cat left again.  The night before last, we did not lock it on the screened porch before dark.  It had stayed home all day and seemed to have some fun hanging out with the dogs.  However, under cover of darkness, it made its escape.

The next morning, yesterday, we got a call from the neighbor who had found it in the first place, when it spent some time in her barn on sabbatical.  This time, she knew who to call — Sugar.  So, we drove over there (two miles) and found it where she said it would be, shut in the tack room, sleeping on a saddle.

Sugar concluded that the cat is lonesome for its own kind and goes to the neighbor’s place because she has other cats in her barn.  Accordingly, Sugar found on the internet an ad for some kittens.  We drove forty miles to get the last one. 

The new kitty is in a cage on the porch with the Prodigal Cat.  That way, they can get acquainted through the bars.  The older cat seems fascinated with the baby one and quit crying for freedom.

Time with tell whether this arrangement will work.  Now, at least, if the Prodigal Cat leaves again, we still have a cute kitty.

The Lost Is Found


Long-time readers will recall our concern that our barn cat was missing. We worried that she was the victim of coyotes but we found no signs of a struggle in the barn.  We speculated that an eagle might have whisked her away.  We searched along the river.  We put out a trap in the barn to catch the predator who came in there to get the cat, in case that had happened.  I don’t know whether raccoons kill cats, but they could be attracted to cat food.  (Yes, we fed our barn cat and did not force her to only catch mice, but she did that too.)

We were very sad.

Today we are very happy.  Well, kind of happy, but also frustrated.

This afternoon, Sugar went to the post office.  On the bulletin board there, she saw a sign that said, “Found!  Is this your cat?”  And there was even a photograph of — our cat.  Sugar called the number.  She recognized the voice of the person who answered.  It was Cheryl, one of our few and far between neighbors.  She lives over a mile away, as the crow flies, but over two miles, as the road winds.

Cheryl told Sugar that the cat in the photo has been hanging out in her barn with three other cats.  We went to her barn immediately.  We found the three cats who are supposed to live there.  They came out of hiding when Sugar called  them and banged a dish with canned cat food, the way she used to call the feline formerly known as our cat.  It did not appear.

Sugar and I agreed that if we were cats, we would rather live in Cheryl’s barn.  They even plug in a water dish so it does not freeze.

Sugar said that it hurts her feelings that after all we did for our cat (including my design of an elevated feeding system so the dogs did not bother her while she dined), she ran away.  We feel like unfit cat owners.  Like our kids were put in foster care due to our neglect.  We deny that we were unfit cat owners.  cat and inventor

We can’t understand where we went wrong. I comforted Sugar by blaming the usual suspect, our rascal of a dog, Beau.

I said, “Wouldn’t you rather live with three other cats than with Beau?  He probably said something that hurt her feelings.”

“But he let her eat his food,” Sugar reminded me.

“Well, that is my theory and I am sticking to it.  In fact, if you want more cats, let’s give Beau to Cheryl.  Then all the cats will move to our barn.  Cheryl will probably move here too, and leave Beau at her nice house.”

Since we did not find the cat in Cheryl’s barn, she will call us when it shows up again, now that she knows to whom it belongs.  It was nice of her to put up the “Found” posters.

We will hurry right over when we get that call.  We will bring Beau.  Sounds like a good trade.  Good for us, at least.


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