August 24, 2015

What's One More Cat?

In my last Around the Homestead post, I mentioned that we got another cat. Her name is Valentine and this is her story.

We never planned to have four cats.

We became acquainted with Valentine after she became a birthday present for my daughter-in-law. Valentine was just a wee bit of a kitten then, very cute and very sweet. Like all kittens she was a bundle of energy. That might have been okay if she had outgrown it and settled down.

A no-nonsense cat

She was quite the tear-em-up cat, which is not a good combination in a small house with two preschoolers who are still learning how to be gentle with pets. My suggestion was to start letting her go outside to work off that energy. Unfortunately, my son's homeowners' association doesn't allow outdoor pets. One day, in a peak moment of frustration after the littlest granddaughter had been scratched, he decided they'd have to get rid of Valentine. My soft-hearted Dan (a reformed cat-hater, by the way) thought about this for awhile, and then finally said to me, "What's one more cat?" So Valentine came to live with us.

She talks so much that Dan has nicknamed her "Meowy"

Our concern, of course, was how well our existing cats-in-residence would take it. We installed Valentine in the back of my studio, which was (and still is) in disarray due to construction. Of course, Valentine was scared and hid behind a pile of boxes.

The other cats weren't too pleased with the intruder. They would go stand in the doorway and sniff the room, until Sam decided he was going to do something about it.

Sam has made a good farm cat.

Sam marched into the room and within seconds the fireworks began. I have never heard such hissing, growling, screaming, caterwauling, and commotion! Boxes tumbled everywhere and within seconds Sam shot out of the room like a firecracker. That little cat had whooped his tail! Needless to say, the other two wouldn't go anywhere near that room after that.

Things got better once Valentine was allowed outside, and she and Sam finally became friends. He's a easy-going cat, and one day they got into a non-threatening game of chase. She's loved him ever since.

Sam is now Valentine's favorite.

Next, she set about trying to win over Riley.

Riley the Top Cat

Riley has been here the longest and is the alpha cat. With humans he is an amazingly mellow fellow. With the other cats, he's a tyrant. He's biggest and heaviest, so his opinions rule. About the only other cat he tolerates is Sam, but even that has limits. His acceptance of Valentine basically amounts to simply ignoring her.

Valentine and Riley now get along somewhat.

She became increasingly bold around him, but like the other cats, has learned not to trust him entirely. He can be tolerant if he's in the mood, but he can turn on a dime.

And Katy?

Katy the hold-out

Valentine and Katy absolutely refuse to get along. Neither appears to like the other and neither will budge on the issue. They take great delight in stalking and ambushing one another, which ought to be an enjoyable kitty game! However, the ambushee never fails to get mad about it, which results in a lot of hissing, claw swatting, and screaming at one another. This is especially annoying when both are in the house and it's the middle of the night.

An excellent farm cat.

All things considered, Valentine is an excellent farm cat. She loves being outdoors, loves the other critters, is always on duty, and catches mice. Besides refusing to get along with Katy, her only other fault is that she thinks it great sport to occasionally chase the chickens. We hope that eventually she'll get bored with that.

So that is how we became a four-cat household. She's our littlest cat with the most spunk; the stuff of many kitty tales to come.

37 comments:

Lynda D said...

Goodness, 4 cats! And you didnt have enough to look after? Good ole soft hearted Dan.

PioneerPreppy said...

It's an official rule that prepper and homesteading blogs MUST have at least six cats to post kitty pictures. I believe it is in section 3 subsection G or H or somewhere around there. You did get a copy right? If not I will be happy to send you one.

Anyway without at least six cats you are in violation and being the great guy that I am I volunteer to send you an extra two cats so you can reach the minimum of six. In fact scratch that I will send you three to make sure you stay compliant to the rules.

Please email me your mailing address.

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Goodness, only 4 cats?! Count your blessings -grin- as cats find this farm like illegals find this country. Girley is my latest and she's still not gentled; been here all year, living in the basement but, finally, she's coming to the back porch to be fed. Two days ago, I saw a flash and thought...hmmm...yesterday, that flash became her kitten.
That makes 8 cats and a kitten; when possible, I catch them and spay/neuter them but these little 'uns are wary. Hope springs eternal.
If Pioneer Pretty fails in her task, I'm happy to send some barn cats; separate from the above "house" cats.
I take high offense at the words "crazy cat lady". lol

Robin Follette said...

They're all beautiful! We are down to our last cat so it's a little quiet around here, and the meadow vole population is outrageous now. One dog, one cat, and they ignore each other for the most part.

Mama Pea said...

I say Valentine is one very, very lucky cat. If for nothing else, having four cats interacting provides much interest to your day. It sure made for a fun blog post!

Farmer Barb said...

That makes it official. Three out of my five family members could not even sit near you in a public place. Sadly, we are allergic to cats by majority here. Which is why I let out a whoop yesterday when I saw a mink weaving in and out of my stone wall. At least there is SOMETHING here that will eat mice and voles!

Erika Keller said...

Good thing we like cats since we now have 3 indoors and 4 outdoors. The first outdoor kitten was spayed yesterday and I fear the momma cat is pregnant again, sigh. Thank goodness for TNR programs. It would be nice if our outdoor cats were as friendly as all of yours. Thanks for being a cat lover.

Renee Nefe said...

I totally understand your cat situation. Sam, well he was low man on the totem pole so it didn't matter to him. Riley, he's the boss and no one better even try to disagree. Katy is the queen and this little usurp had just better stay clear.
At any rate, glad you could offer this kitty sanctuary in a home that is more suited to her pursonality.

Seeking Serenity said...

:) i loved this story

Florida Farm Girl said...

Hmmmmm......what's that old saying about no house being big enough for two females????? Your kitties are gorgeous and I'm jealous that you have so many.

Michelle said...

You have four beautiful cats now, and it sounds like they are all contributing members of the farmstead. We only have Oreo, but have neighbors on three sides with cats so our little five acres is well hunted.

PioneerPreppy said...

"as cats find this farm like illegals find this country"

Now that's a quote that fits our place like a glove as well. We found homes for 7 drop off last year and 5 the year before that. They just keep showing up.

Leigh said...

He's says we're not allowed to do it again, however. :)

Leigh said...

Ha! As you can see we have a few other commenters below who are sorely in need of more cats, and who am I to deprive them of your generosity. :)

Leigh said...

We take drop-offs to the animal shelter, which charges $5 per drop-off! Fortunately we haven't had that many.

Leigh said...

Oh Robin, you need more cats! Please see PioneerPreppy's and Thistle Cove Farm's offer!

Leigh said...

Well, you never know where they'll end up and Dan coudln't stand the thought of someone not taking good care of her so here she is.

Leigh said...

Well now, I've read that American Guinea Hogs will eat mice. And they root, so why not voles! Not too sure I'd want a house pig, however.

Leigh said...

Erika, I'm glad to hear the first spay went well. Obviously you're catching them! Sounds like momma cat needs it too.

Leigh said...

Don't tell Sam he's low man, LOL. He can give Katy pretty good run for her money, but Valentine stands up to him. It's worked out well and Dan says she's probably the best cat we've got.

Leigh said...

It was fun to tell. :)

Leigh said...

That may be it! And I thought Katy would be glad for a pal since Sam and Riley are such buds. But no dice.

Leigh said...

Well, if you ever need more cats Michelle, there are suppliers here at the ready! ;)

kymber said...

all of your cats are beautiful and i am glad that Valentine has a home. all 3 of our cats are rescues and they get along really well. 2 are older males, and our newest stray, is a baby male so they rely on him to walk the perimeter and keep them safe. it really works out and makes us happy.

several cats on a homestead are a must! your friend,
kymber

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

I am glad that Dan was soft hearted. I love the colors of Katy. Right now we are a one dog, no cat household but we have had a cat in the past. Nancy

1st Man said...

What a great story, we're big cat people around here. We love all animals and when we are at the farm full time, we will have a couple of dogs to help with the things dogs do and of course we'll have cats. This reminds me what an adventure that will be, ha.

For now we have two inside and one outside in town. We always say no more but but we all know deep down that's not true, right?

Beautiful kitties thanks for sharing!

Quinn said...

I think it's lovely the way Valentine Meowy has gradually found her way to peaceful relationships with the other cats. Maybe as she gets older, she and Katy will at least have a truce.

pat said...

Hey got 9 in the city. They figure out how to get along or avoid themselves. The 3 am ranting are annoying but at least no blood.

Harry Flashman said...

Everyone, and every living being, needs a home and a family. There's always room for one more lost, abandoned or special needs animal up here on the mountain. I always enjoy posts when someone has shown kindness, because it makes me feel like maybe the world outside the forest isn't as bleak as I remember it.

Leigh said...

Kymber, now that we have Valentine, Riley has promoted himself to official house cat. :) Funny how they all find their spot in the order of things.

Leigh said...

And we have no dog! At least not at present. Maybe someday.

Leigh said...

Which just proves the saying, "never say never"! LOL, although Dan still says three is a good number, but he would do it again in a heartbeat. :)

Leigh said...

I hope so! At least no more screaming at one another would be nice!

Leigh said...

9! Wow, you're brave. Funny how they can be so opinionated about one another. :)

Leigh said...

It's so hard to see an animal being neglected or unloved. Thankfully that wasn't the case with Valentine, but I was still glad to give her a home. She's much happier being an outdoor cat.

Jayne Hill said...

She's quite beautiful and it looks like her personality is far better suited to being a farm cat than confined.

Leigh said...

The first time my DIL came to visit after Valentine came to live with us she said, "That's all she needed." She's definitely an outdoor cat. :)