Life goes on. Especially on the farm.
Some time back I shared that Bill and I had opened a Kitty Kat Kafe on the front porch.
It started when two feral tuxedo cats showed up looking hungry.
Because of their distinctive markings, we named them Oreo and Double Stuff (the latter had more white markings).
It didn’t take long for word to get out on the feral cat telegraph.
Dining porch open 24/7. Two humans here are softies where cats are concerned.
We went from buying 8-pound sacks of cat food to the 44-pounder.
A second metal bowl joined the first one and we filled each morning and night.
I set a large wire dog crate on the porch and added bedding for any that cared to spend the night or needed a warm dry spot to take a nap.
In the spring several very thin calicos showed up.
With groceries and time, they gained weight and within a few weeks it was very obvious all were pregnant.
I was sure the porch was the ideal maternity ward for them. And if not the porch, the barn afforded great places to give birth and raise kittens.
I guess I was wrong on both counts.
One morning there were no cats waiting when I opened the front door.
I filled their bowls anyway, thinking they would show up later.
But that night the food was still there untouched.
We wondered what could have happened to them and worried the neighbor might have trapped them or their luck had run out in an encounter with a coyote or bobcat.
About a month ago, a kitten showed up. It looked to be about 12 weeks old and hungry.
We fed it.
The next day it was back with what were obviously litter mates.
And then came two of the tiniest kittens, maybe 4 weeks old. Too young to be weaned.
They struggled a bit with the dry kibble, but soon were eating it.
Of the adult cats from spring, only Tippy, a calico, and Buffy, a large yellow tom, are back.
There are four new calicos now. One is obviously sired by Oreo.
Many days, opening the front door brings nine cats running to be fed.
Even with two bowls, the most that can eat at one time is six. The others watch and wait for the second dinner bell.
We have to refill the bowls multiple times a day.
Forty-four pounds of kibble used to last at least a month. Now we’re lucky if it is lasts two weeks.