Jack and Mittens
As I sit waiting for inspiration to strike, I see our big orange neutered male cat, Jack hanging out in the pasture with our goats. Jack is a beautiful orange tabby cat who came to us as a kitten with his sister, Mittens, the kitten with no mittens. When Grambarb lived on her farm, she found a deceased mother cat with two kittens curled up next to her. Grambarb was going on an extended vacation and could not keep the kittens herself. Rather than call her son, who she was sure would say no, she called me and asked if I would be willing to take two orphaned kittens. Of course, I said yes. How could I not? So, we became the stewards of Jack the Pumpkin King and Mittens, the kitten with no mittens.
The kittens were so tiny when they came to us; we wondered if they would make it. However, they were eating on their own purely out of necessity, I believe. Jordan was five years old at the time and was ecstatic about having two kittens in the house. The only drawback was that within an hour of being with the kittens, her little eyes were swollen, she had hives, and her little nose was stuffed up. Obviously, the kittens could not remain with us in the house. We have a sunroom that is enclosed with french doors; this became the kitten's new home. We could keep them safely inside but also safely away from my bean. It was a good theory but keeping Jordan away from two kittens was like keeping a dog from a bone. We gave her Benedryl on a regular basis, and this seemed to help.
Have you ever seen a five-year-old with a kitten? These two precious little felines were soon riding in a baby carriage, wearing doll clothes, and hanging over The Bean's back like ragdolls. My bib overall wearing buddy was thoroughly convinced the kittens had brain damage from being carried everywhere. The kittens never scratched or put up a fight. They just conceded to The Bean's whims and played nicely. Once they were old enough to be spayed and neutered, they both went in simultaneously for their surgeries. Jack recovered quickly. He was back on his feet in no time. However, Mittens had licked her incision open and had to go back to have it restitched. She then came home in the cone of shame which was pathetically humorous.
When we took the kittens in, I told my bibbed wonder I fully intended to have them spayed and neutered. I did not want a bunch of feral kittens in the barn with snotty noses and runny eyes. I knew Jordan would always play with the kittens and didn't want a bunch of sickly cats running around infecting my baby with God knows what. Spaying and neutering is also the responsible thing to do. When we got the bill from the vet for both surgeries, vaccinations, and flea and tick medicine, I thought my bibbed wonder was going to nail me to a wall. It was over a thousand dollars for both cats. Eric tells people it was cheaper to get me spayed than it was the cats. Side note, I had a hysterectomy which my charming husband refers to as my "spaying" or "getting fixed." Delightful, isn't he?
Jack and Mittens have been wonderful additions to our farm family. They now live in the barn where they hunt mice and barn swallows. They have a daily serving of fresh warm milk after each milking along with their cat feed. Jack is a constant companion of the goats. He is wherever they are; if they are in the side pasture, he is hanging out with them and sleeping in the yurts. If they are in the barn, he is in the barn sleeping with them in the hay. He bats at the baby goats, curls up with the calmer nannies, and walks with them as they graze. Mittens is more allusive. She tends to hunt in the fields and hang out in the barn alone. They no longer tolerate The Beans shenanigans. Every once in a while, they will come to the porch and hang out with us, but they run when they hear Jordan. Eric says Jordan is like Elmira on Looney Toons. She likes to hug them and squeeeeeeeeeze them, and call them her own. It seems like all our animals have very distinct personalities and bring so much life and humor to our farm family. I don't know what we would do without the enrichment each species brings.
I hope you have enjoyed this little snapshot of another member of our farm family. As always, stay safe, stay smart, enjoy all that animals have to offer, and wash your hands.