Happy Anniversary, Tiggy!

Post from 6/30/2016

My new buddy, Tiggy!
I’ve been wanting a barn cat for a while, to help keep a check on the rodent population. Over the past couple of years there have been a few transient cats who’ve stopped by the barn. They stay for a while, usually completely wild and unapprochable. If I see them more than twice I put food down for them in the haymow, hoping they will stick around. A couple got hit in the road. Some of them just move on. One was so sick I had Dad shoot it because it was suffering. Haven’t been able to touch any of them, except the sick one when it became too weak to run away.
But this guy has been hanging around for a couple of weeks. He has crouched and flinched away from any contact, although I did manage to pet him a little bit once or twice. He was nothing but skin and bones. Since I’ve been putting food down he has been gaining weight, strength, and confidence. Tonight when I took his supper up to the haymow I called to him and he answered me! He came to me of his own accord and eagerly leaned into my hand when I petted him. Looks like he has decided to be my friend. Such an awesome feeling to win the confidence of an animal! Now, if he will just stay away from the road…
These poor cats. People often “drop off” unwanted cats at farms. Happened all the time at the old farm when I was growing up. Most farmers don’t mind. But what about the poor cats? Being abandoned by their families. Thrown into a completely unfamiliar sutuation. Most are former housecats who have no skills to keep themselves safe outdoors, have never seen a farm animal. They are terrified of being outside, of sheep and cows, of the strange sounds and smells, of strange new people and activities. Most adapt after a while, but why put them through such trauma? Without exception they all show up cringing and flinching. What kind of “home” did they have before to be so terrified of humans? Some people have no business owning pets!
Here’s hoping Tiggy will come to enjoy his new life as much as I enjoy offering it to him!

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Georgia is using Chevy as a step ladder to get up to the roost. Chickens are not good flyers. Their roost is higher than they can hop/fly to in one shot. (I made it that way on purpose so they will be safer from any predators that might get into the barn at night.) I made a little ladder for them to use. Sometimes they use the partition on the end of the pen. My favorite move, though, is when a sheep is standing close enough and they hop/fly to the sheep’s back and from there to the roost. The sheep don’t seem to mind. In fact, I think the hens’ long, pointy toes penetrate the sheep’s thick wool to help scratch their backs. Sheep LOVE back scratches. Some of them can be quite demanding for me to scratch their backs. I just find it so funny to see them getting scratches from chickens. And the chickens treating them like convenient footstools.