Of Barn Cats and House Cats

Barney showed up during one of the coldest days of a cold spell this winter.  M had been out in the barn and noticed signs that a cat had been sleeping out there.  At some point he also saw the cat as it went running away from him.  He couldn’t get a close-up look and we still haven’t determined if Barney is a boy or a girl.

I suggested feeding Barney but M said no, he didn’t want to encourage it to hang around.  But hang around it did so on the second day, even colder and snowier than the first, M fed him/her.  He also set something up in the barn so Barney would have some warmth.  It was bitterly cold at the time and it seemed like the right thing to do.

I don’t know where Barney came from or how s/he came to be here.  At first Barney looked well-groomed enough that I thought perhaps someone had dumped the poor kitty out here in the country.  It was also possible that Barney belonged with someone nearby but got lost during the snow storm that brought Barney to us.

(The cat in the window.)

M and I have both tried to get close to Barney in hopes of taking her/him to the vet and/or to our local Animal Protective League, but the cat is very skittish and very fast, running away as fast as s/he can to get away from us.  That changed yesterday when I noticed Izzy and Bella spending time with Barney at the windows.

(Hey!  Watch that flash, would ya?)

I slowly approached Bella while she was checking out Barney.  As long as I was there with Bella, Barney was ok with me.   After a few times at this, Barney has allowed me to approach the windows without bolting for the hills (or the space under the porch).  M has moved Barney’s food and water to the top of the spiral stairs so we can watch him/her and s/he can watch us.  Barney has taken to sleeping on the deck at the bottom of the stairs today which seems pretty brave to me.  It’s also a warm spot, with the sun shining on it this afternoon.

Barney is small with beautiful blue eyes.  Up close (and through the window) the poor thing looks pretty scraggly with a bad scrape on its nose.  Cleaned up, s/he’d be a handsome little kitty.  I’m really not sure if Barney is a feral cat or a stray/abandoned cat.  From what I’ve been reading on the internet, feral cats generally take care of themselves pretty well whereas abandoned cats do not.  From the looks and behavior of Barney, s/he is having a hard time of it out there so perhaps s/he is abandoned.

Hopefully we will be able to somehow capture Barney in the next few days and see what our options are from there.  I don’t think Izzy or Bella would welcome another cat into the house so I’m not seriously considering that option right now (no matter how cute Barney looks all curled up on the deck right now).

In other news…

Well, there really isn’t any.  We’re settling back into the usual daily routine after our lovely vacation.  The mountains of laundry are shrinking and I’ll soon be able to call them hills.  Izzy and Bella are thrilled to have us back at home where they can harass us in the middle of the night.

And I’ve already lost two of the vacation pounds I picked up in Florida.  🙂

The Bogs are muddy and boggy with all the snow melt.  The vernal creeks are streaming towards the pond and the vernal pools in the woods are growing.  (To learn more about vernal pools, visit the Ohio Vernal Pool Partnership.)  M said he’s seen signs of daffodils pushing up out of the ground.  I haven’t braved the mud enough just yet to have a look for myself, but will head out there soon for a stroll around the property.  I have to locate my boots first.

I’m not looking forward to the time change this weekend (I always feel like I’ve lost an hour of sleep when we spring forward), but I am liking the longer, warmer days.

(This morning’s view of the pond.)