How it all began- the story of my cats

Originally uploaded by Boered.

Years ago, Carl and I weren't cat people. We had dogs and were perfectly happy with them. When we moved out to the country, Carl built a barn, and shortly after we started seeing a little orange cat who had decided to make the barn her home. We didn't pay much attention to her (she was wild and wouldn't let us touch her anyway) and we certainly didn't feed her.

Then one day Carl came running into the house, yelling that I had to come look.... It was the little orange cat and she was carrying something into the barn.... it was a teeny tiny little kitten! It ended up that she had three kittens in all, and she brought each one and hid them behind the firewood we had stacked in the barn. Carl began feeling sorry for the little mother cat, and started giving her tuna fish once in a while. We couldn't start buying cat food because afterall, we didn't "have" cats!

We started to really admire that little "Mama Kitty". She worked so hard to take care of her kittens. Each day we'd watch her leave into the woods or fields around our house, but a little while later she'd return with a mouse to feed her kittens. As soon as she delivered their food, she'd go right back out to catch another. Eventually we felt so sorry for her, working so hard to take care of her family, we started buying cat food. Mama Kitty began staying home a bit more, but she never gave up her feral ways, and continued to go out hunting at least once a day. This continued for a few months until one sad day, while I was on my way to work, I found Mama Kitty dead in the road... she'd been hit by a car.

Although Mama Kitty was gone, her 3 kittens stayed here for a while. There was a short-haired orange boy (our original "Milo"), a long haired orange girl we called Princess, and a tiny little orange girl who looked just like her Mama, who we named Binky. They all were feral, like their mother, but Binky was the worst. If you happened to corner her by accident in the barn, she'd hiss and spit like a wild cat. She was scary!

Eventually Milo and Princess disappeared. We felt badly about it, but we didn't worry about it too much, because we still didn't believe that we "had" cats. We didn't go out and buy or adopt them afterall... they just showed up here one day and we were just helping them out by giving them food.

But still, little Binky continued to live in the barn. And just like her look-alike mother, she brought home mice and moles and even a rabbit once in a while. She was/is some hunter!

Over time we noticed that Binky's stomach was getting awfully round, and then suddenly one day she was skinny again. She'd obviously given birth, but even though we searched around the barn, we couldn't find the kittens. I even tried to follow her out into the woods, but she was smart and knew that I was following her, and she lost me pretty quickly.

And then one day I stepped outside and saw Binky and the most beautiful little kitten laying in our driveway. After she brought the kitten home, I guess Binky saw me holding him and being kind to him, because she turned into a friendly cat after that. She still doesn't like to be held very much, but she does love a good scratching once in a while. That little kitten is now our "Baby". They both continue to live here and hopefully will forever.

That was 4 years ago, and since then, Binky has had more kittens, and more stray/feral cats have shown up and decided to call our place their home (I think Binky must tell all her wild friends to follow her home.... she knows a couple of suckers who won't turn them away!). At the moment we have 12 cats in all, but that could change at any time since we never know when a new one is going to show up!

We've finally had to realize that we really do "have" cats.... we spend enough on cat food each week to prove it! And a little bit at a time, we're getting them each neutered/spayed.
And that's the story of how we unintentionally became "cat people".

Image and story by Boered