Now I know what you're all thinking....if you feed a stray, you'll never get rid of her. But that was my point. The entire neighbourhood cat population has been decimated over the past few years. The coyotes, fishers, and other wild critters around here have found that outdoor cats make an easy dinner. For this reason, we haven't had barn cats for a few years, after the last one mysteriously vanished.
Although we have two handsome indoor cats already, a barn just isn't a barn without a barn cat. So I'd been hoping to lure one over (preferably a tough, street-wise male), and convince him to stay. But no such luck.
Once absorbed in her food, I was actually able to come over and gently pet her. Despite being very obviously hungry, she immediately began purring, stopped eating, and demanded more attention. I was able to pick her up in my arms, which was when I noticed she'd been nursing multiple kittens. Over the next few days, I spotted her a few more times and made a point of feeding her in the barn. I started leaving food out in the barn every day, regardless of whether I saw her. It was always gone the next day, although I wasn't certain she was the one eating it. And there was no sign of any kittens.
Well, on May 21st, she came right up to the house, meowing for food. She immediately followed me to the barn, ran over to her empty dish, and quickly gobbled up all the food I'd brought with me. Then she turned, meowed, and led me right over to the false wall in the hayloft where countless generations of clever Mama cats have hidden babies. After a few more chirps, imagine my surprise when not one or two, but FIVE kittens emerged from their hiding spot in the wall!
Over the past eleven days, feeding and petting these six has become part of our daily routine. The kittens are surprisingly friendly, for not having any human contact in roughly the first six weeks of life. Obviously, Mama was someone's pet at one time. She is absolutely wild for human contact, and is affectionate with everyone, including our almost three-year-old. The babies are growing well, now that they are eating hard food.
In fact, Mama has to eat her food up on the beam, if she wants more than a few bites for a meal.
They are all SO, SO cute!
Welcome home, Mama!
*P.S. If anyone is seriously looking to adopt a kitten,
I would be persuaded to let one or two go.
So far, I've only confirmed two males (one black, one grey),
and I'm hoping to avoid being overrun with kittens by this time next year.*