Here Kitty, Kitty: Considerations for Taking in Stray Cats

pumpkin the cat

Kara’s housecat Pumpkin has been decidedly more photogenic than the newcomers.  They may yet come around.  Photo by Kara Berlage.

Over the years, we have become the forever home to a variety of animals.  Pumpkin, Kara’s tortoise shell house cat came from the Northwoods Humane Society, and Belle our original guard donkey (now 30 years old) was looking for a good home via a note at the Feed Mill when the original owners had to move to smaller acreage.

Every year, there are the phone calls, “Could you take my goose?”--or duck or chickens or horse or…you get the idea.  While my heart goes out to the animals needing a home, I also have to be cognizant of the health and maintenance of well over 1,000 animals already in our care.  When you take on someone else’s flock of poultry, with them you can also inherit disease, parasites, and incompatibility issues with current flock members.  The same is true for mammalian livestock as well.

Consequently, we have turned away most all of these “please take my animal” inquiries, instead putting a shout out on social media to our hobbyist friends or contacts who may know the best place to rehome the critter(s) in question.  Ours is a working farm, not an animal sanctuary, and I could be completely overrun if every two to four-legged creature looking for a home was taken in.  It’s a noble undertaking, but it’s not the underlying purpose of our homestead.

But then there was Saturday morning.  Kara and I were in the garden, madly harvesting those frozen zucchini plants before they wilted in the morning sun for the pig’s breakfast, when we heard a car pull up near Farmstead.  It was still before opening hours, so we heard it pull away after a few moments.  It’s not unusual—sometimes folks stop by to pick up literature or check the hours.  But what happened next was unusual.

12/3/2020 4:08:08 PM

I volunteer at a no kill shelter here in FL (Saving Animals from Euthanasia or SAFE).During "kitten season" we all expect that we will be fostering newborn kittens. People don't understand that momma cat has NOT abandoned her litter but is either foraging for food or trying to lead you away from her babies.We try to get the word out to leave the babies alone unless they have been crying for hours and/or are covered in feces. The manager of the store that I volunteer at and I both have kitten "graveyards". It hurts us as foster parents when we try our best to save a litter but have to bury the babies one by one. If we DON;T take the babies, people leave them in a box or even a bag at our door no matter what the weather. We have even gotten kittens and puppies in that a good Samaritan has picked up from the side of the road after some dirtbag threw them out of the truck window on a busy county highway!

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