Bella Luna and Kit Kat!
My recent blog post, “A Tale of Two Kitties” was the story of the two latest felines to arrive at Dancing Moon Farmstead. However, they were not the first, and unfortunately I fear they will not be the last, to be dumped here. When we first arrived we noticed a couple of feral cats that we would see from time to time. These were truly WILD cats whom you could not get within fifty feet of! I didn’t worry about them much, as our only pet or farm animal at that time was our elderly house dog, Sandy. She has always been kept fully vaccinated since we adopted her, and after moving to Texas her annual vaccinations also include the Rattle Snake Vaccine. I made no attempt to feed these feral cats in hopes that they would just move on or otherwise disappear. Yes, this may sound “cruel” to some, but my philosophy about strays is that once you start feeding them they are your FULL responsibility, which means I would need to try to trap them in order to see they received proper veterinary care and that was something we were just not financially able to do at the time!
Then one day in November, just about six months after we moved to the country, Troy spotted a cat walking in our south pasture… a cat he’d never seen hanging around before. I walked outside and called to the mysterious feline. It stopped and looked towards me, so I called again and meowed as well. That sent it off running directly towards me! I picked up the furry thing and it started purring – loudly. I could not see anything visibly wrong with the cat, no injuries, no fleas or matted fur and no collar, either. I carried it all the way across the inner yard and into the laundry room. Straight away I put down a bowl of water, which it lapped at eagerly! I then made an impomptu litte box using a lid from a moving box and filled it with some really cheap cat litter the previous owners had left behind. I didn’t have any cat food and didn’t want to buy any without taking it – now identified as a SHE – to our veterinarian. I called their office and they could see us in a little over an hour. The only pet carrier I had was one I always kept in my car for emergency roadside rescues when I was a pet sitter – the squatty kind that fits under an airplane seat. It would just have to do. Turns out this cat was a young mamma, probably got pregnant during her first heat and had just weaned kittens because she still had milk in her teats! We searched everywhere for kittens, but never found any! We had the vet do a Felv/Fiv combo test on her, which was negative, before proceeding with beginning her vaccinations. She looked great and couldn’t have been “out” long because she wasn’t at all dirty, didn’t have any fleas, and was negative for internal parasites as well! For a long-haired kitty who just crossed a pasture, she didn’t even have any burrs or mats in her fur! As soon as it could be arranged, we had her spayed and she’s never left the house since.
A year or so after Bella Luna took over, er-um… I mean to say after Bella ARRIVED at Dancing Moon Farmstead, I came home from the library to discover that my hens had found a young kitten with a hurt paw up by the back porch. The paw looked nasty, all swollen and oozing pus! I cleaned it as best I could and “quarantined” the poor thing in the garden shed with food, water and a litter box. Because of the paw, I didn’t use litter, which could make the foot worse, but rather tore strips of newspaper to put into the box until the foot healed somewhat. Despite how painful that nasty paw must have been, the kitten was as sweet as could be and let me carefully clean and medicate the wounded appendage. From what I could see, it appeared that he had either been bitten by something, or had somehow all but ripped the toenail clean OUT. A few days of basic “first aid” and the foot showed great improvement. So off to the vet we went, again with the Felv/Fiv tests, and once shown to be negative we followed with the standard round of vaccinations and eventual neutering.
From that point on, Kit Kat has been our mighty resident “barn cat”, keeping the farm free of all vermin and varmits!!! Well, mostly. In addition to killing mice and rats, I’ve also discovered the occasional juvenile squirrel, a few slow song birds, an eviscerated toad, several baby cottontail bunnies (neatly dispatched IN my garden!), both a Ribbon Gardener and a Coach Whip snake, and numerous lizards. When at all possible, I’ve rescued the toads, lizards and snakes! In fact, this is a picture of one of the two snakes I’ve managed to rescue from him!!!