Minnesota Farmer

Meow morning
July 14, 2011, 8:19 am
Filed under: cats, cold, Farm, farm animals, house, Minnesota, rain, summer | Tags: , , , , , ,

Our momma cat delivered her trio of kittens to our porch this cold, wet July morning.  I can understand her a little bit.  They are getting bigger and the nest where they were born is small, so it’s time to move to bigger digs where they can get out and see the world.  The problem is that our porch has no place for scared little ones to hide.  This meant that there were some really pitiful meows just out side the office door.

At this stage kittens really don’t know much.  They creep around looking for comfort, usually momma, and sleep.  To be taken out to an exposed area is not safe.  It’s no wonder that so many young cats don’t make it.  We’ve lost so many through the years at this stage.  I’m sure this is how the first cats came to live with humans.

Just this week I’ve seen two half grown cats dead on the road.  Following momma is what they do as they get older, it’s how they learn.  The death toll has to be terrible.

This is the third litter I know of that was born on our farm this year.  The other two did not make it past two days.  Newborns are subject to the predations of male cats as they look for females in heat.  I’ve done my part to keep down the number of feral tom cats in the area.  I need to protect those babies.

Lest you think me insensitive, you must remember that these are farm cats.  They have a job to do, killing rodents, and having them in the house defeats the purpose.  As long as toms are friendly and cooperative they can stay.  Females usually don’t leave but stay to keep the farm cat population alive.  We usually have at least two cats here at all times, but the number varies, we’ve had 4 or 5 cats here (2 females) for almost two years.  Accidents and larger predators have kept the number of cats on our farm from getting too big.  If we ever run out of cats it is not hard to find someone else with some farm cats they have too many of.

We have an old chicken house that is home to our cats.  With no hay shed, and all livestock buildings buttoned up tight to protect the animals, farm cats need their own place.  Since I always have a large stack of wood around for winter heat there is always a place for cats to hide out.  This new trio was born in that wood pile.  It was great protection for newborns but now they are older and it was time to move.  Since momma didn’t find a good place for a play house for her babies I put them into a dark box in the cat shed.  We’ll see how long they last there.  If she becomes too insistent on keeping them in harms way I’ll have to lock them all in the nursery.  This is a special area in the cat shed that is hard for kittens to get out of and can be locked to keep momma cat in too if needed.

It’s nice to have kittens around the farm again, now I wish I had some little girls around to keep them friendly.



1 Comment so far
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We would be the “someone” with too many cats. Ours have the run of the barn.

Comment by judi @ farmnwife.com

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