Cats and farms go together like cookies and milk. Except for the predators. Owls, skunks, and coyotes take some cats, and of course the occasional car. About two years ago we had half a dozen adult cats and more kittens than we knew what to do with. If I remember right, we had about 18 cats in total, not counting our pseudo-Himalayan inside cat, George.
We gave some kittens away. That’s hard to do when they’re all so wild you can’t catch them. Two of the mamas were pretty tame, and by the end of last summer, they were the only two we had left. Both of them died, one of old age and one of unknown causes; she just disappeared. Unfortunately that happens on farms. Between them they left us with twelve kittens, some of which we gave away, and a few of which were to weak to live when we found them. We raised six kittens through the winter; you may remember a post or two about *vultures*. The babies were always hanging around the door begging for food, and yes we gave it to them. They had no mamas to bring them delish mice.
Of the six yearling cats, only one was tame. She was a very affectionate calico. I haven’t seen Patches now in about two weeks. Yesterday the guy who farms next door came by and apologized for running over three cats in his hay field. THREE CATS??? They must have been mousing in the tall grass, and if they heard the tractor coming, thought they were out of its way. The swather rides quite aways away from the tractor itself, and makes far less noise. It mowed down three of our young cats. Patches wasn’t one of them. It wasn’t the farmer’s fault, or anybody else’s. It’s just one of those things. It’s one of the reasons I try not to get too attached to the farm cats. I don’t always succeed. I can’t believe that we are going to have to find someone with kittens to give away again, after going through so many in the past couple years, but the mice are having a strong year, and need something to keep them back. In the hay field nearly every bale I tipped over had a mouse or ten underneath. We need more cats. I sure wish I could offer them some safety, though. It makes me sad.
I’m so sorry to hear about your cats. It must be hard not to get too attached to the friendlier of the farm cats. I imagine it’s easier to stay detached from the wild ones.
Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s too much you can do to protect them in most instances. You can avoid deliberate acts, but when they’re out and about doing their thing in tall grass or on the prowl, you can’t do much about farm implements or predators. In that respect, they’re like the other wild creatures.
Do you have a vet or someone willing to save otherwise healty cats from euthanasia? At least at the farm, they have a chance.
Hugs and good luck restocking your predatory cupboards.
Katie Hart says
I’ve learned not to get too attached to our farm cats too (it’s not the farming equipment that gets them – it’s my brother’s landscaping trucks). We’re down to two at the moment – Jack and Kiera.