It’s a shame that cat breeding isn’t a lucrative business model. I love cats and cats love me, and our ever-growing population of barn cats is proof of that. In fact, once a mother cat with a litter of kittens brought her babies back to our barn, carrying them through miles of open range when we tried to take her to a neighbor.

Unfortunately, cat breeding is actually a very expensive habit, and even my love for cats has limits – a limit we officially reached last summer when a barn cat coup took place. is produced and that several ousted barn cats have become porch cats in self-defense. A front porch full of friendly barn cats trying to dash for the sliding glass door every time someone exited or entered was the official bridge too far.

Cat population

Therefore, over the past year we have been trying to reduce the barn cat population here at the ranch. Luckily, we were able to access a wonderful program with low cost neutering and neutering clinics at a vet in a town further away.

It works very well with cats we can catch, but not so well with cats we can’t, and although many cats here are quite friendly, we have several that we rarely see during the day. They prefer to hide from humans, haunting the shady corners of outbuildings and the fields beyond our yard. Even a few of the friends are just too smart and thwarted our capture attempts.

More kittens

Still, we thought we had the situation more or less under control until we discovered a mother cat who had given birth in the rafters of the shop, but didn’t know how to drop the half-grown babies. Then, a few weeks later, I heard a small voice mewing in the crawl space under my writing shack. The small voice was answered with a loud, confident meow.

“Oh oh!” I said to myself. But it looked like a single kitten. “One more kitten isn’t so bad,” I decided.

Fast forward a few more weeks, and late last night I heard the little meow again, except it wasn’t under the writing shack, but just outside our sliding glass door. I grabbed a flashlight, peeked into the darkness, and sure enough, I was greeted by two very small, adorable faces. Their mom had apparently decided she needed help and brought them to us.

I made a small blanket nest for them and put some food. “Two more kittens isn’t so bad,” I thought to myself as I walked up the stairs to bed. The next morning, I told the story to the children. “You should go check the porch and see if they’re still there,” I told them, and they stormed out, still wearing their pajamas.

“They are still there!” came the report almost immediately.

“Both?” I interrogated.

The children looked at each other, a little confused.

“There are way more than two,” my son replied. So our porch is now home to mom and her five little babies.

grandma cat

The cat we’ve called Mama Cat for years also hangs out on the porch. She was one of the cats we were able to catch before the last spaying clinic, so although her duties as a mother are officially over, she now claims a new title: Grandma Cat.

When mom takes a break to relax alone in a sunny spot, grandma takes over, lying under the picnic table so the kittens can drape themselves over her. Its purrs of contentment sound like a distant engine; she loves being a grandmother. Meanwhile, the ranch man is pretty sure he just saw two more kittens scurrying around under a feeder in the barn. In other words, it’s very possible that this year, the year we set out to bring the barn cat population under control, we’ll see our biggest harvest of kittens yet.

Well, our failure has its advantages. The cozy softness of a new batch of porch kittens has been delightful, and at least these babies will be tame enough to catch at the next clinic!

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