The Benefit of Barn Cats: Your Homestead's Purrrfect Predator

| 7/23/2018 11:40:00 AM

Fletcher and Emery love our new kittens.

About the second week of May, I found a secret stash of eggs in an old nesting box that was in a dark corner of the barn. I gave it a few whaps on the side to scare off any mice that may be lurking in the shadows, but instead of squeaks, I heard a few teeny, tiny mews. Out popped our stray cat, Tabby, from behind an overturned galvanized wash tub that was propped against the nesting box. I pulled back the tub to reveal that in her hiding spot were five days-old kittens.

I pulled each one out to give a quick inspection, noting that their eyes were still closed, and put the kittens right back where new mama Tabby had been keeping them. I couldn’t wait for Fletcher and Emery to get off the bus to tell them the good news.

For the past few months, we have enjoyed having kittens around, watching them grow from cuddling fluffballs into total mischief-makers. Turns out, Tabby had three females and two males, all looking different, but definitely carried the mark of a tabby cat: the classic M-shaped pattern on their foreheads.

Now, you might be wondering who the father is … and I can tell you that I am 100 percent certain that it’s the neighbors’ cat, Sherbert. Let’s just say, ah-hem, Sherbert is known ‘round these parts for getting around (wink, wink). He was definitely over here quite a bit over the winter, so much so that I was beginning to worry that the neighbors were missing their cat.

But we don’t mind for a minute having a few cats on the property. We were able to rehome the three females, and have decided to keep the two males. With three cats in the barn, they are a biosecurity force to be reckoned with! And after having a mouse run across my bare hand as I filled a scoop in a feed sack, I can tell you that a good cat it worth his or her weight (or more) in gold when it comes to rodent control!

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