We just looked at each other the other night with the stunning realization: A year and a half after leaving the city? We now have ten animals. Four ducks. Four chickens. One shelter dog. And as of this week? One shelter kitten. And that doesn’t include the hives.
But adding the latest critter to our little quasi-farm has a purpose – namely, grooming this shelter kitten into becoming a barn cat. We need a good mouser and Lucky even with her great nose hasn’t rooted out any varmints (there I said it: “varmints”. Hmph.). Her shelter name was Athena (barfing in my mouth a bit as I am not a fan of elegant names for any animal!) so we have renamed her Hazel as her eyes match my greenish-brown ones. It happens to be my maternal grandmother’s name as well but it wasn’t the intention as well. Strangely I keep referring to her as Olive and of course calling to her kitty-kitty, and considering most cats could care less about names, well, it is what it is for the vet records.
She’s 3 months old, was fortunately JUST spayed and vaccinated by her former owner (who gave her up after 2 days due to new allergies) so beyond the adoption fee we’ve been lucky in that regard. She was definitely the mellowest one in the shelter, very sweet and people-focused, so with that we’ll see where her future leads – it really is going to depend how the cat/dog dynamic goes how indoor/outdoor she is, but we’re getting a microchip cat door to install (lets only a cat with a matching microchip in so other wildlife like raccoons – and rodents – can’t get in, helping me breathe much better).
Right now she’s living in the guest bathroom with a DIY top-entry litterbox that is very similar to the nesting boxes we built for the chooks (and an equally easy project, particularly since we were able to repurpose another existing tote in the garage for this as well), and is on an nearly-free raw food diet thanks to my husband’s recent return to full time butchery in his day job at the natural foods co-op (we have great access to local, organic, fresh meat that hasn’t sold, so that mixed with some egg yolks from our birds who’ve just started laying, and Wysong raw food supplement powder – the latter which is perfect since our grinder doesn’t do bones and the co-op rarely if ever has organ meat – makes for an ideal diet). Being a kitten there was no transition time – she was immediately eating the meat and loving it! I made up a bunch of meatball-size portions and froze them all then bagged them in the freezer, so the night before I just let one thaw out in the fridge and she gets half in the AM, half in the PM. Yay!
The more interesting part is getting her and Lucky used to each other. We are at day four and have a dog crate set up in the living room to do 15 minute ‘intro sessions’ like the websites recommend (Lucky on the leash, Hazel safely in the crate, with tons of positive reinforcement and treats for both), and I’m just soooo impatient for them to get used to each other. Lucky is very food-motivated and does fine with cats that walk around freely at the vet’s office, but on her home turf it’s been a different story so far as her prey instinct is high so she’ll probably gain 5 lbs just with the treats to distract her hahaha.
A lot of folks ask us when we are going to get goats and pigs and the like, but to be honest, we only want pets who we can leave for a weekend (Lucky travels with us, but the birds can easily be left in their enclosed run with extra food and water, and we have our next door neighbor who is a great resource for longer trips…who we also found out loves cats, woo hoo!). But we have thought about it, let me tell you. First thing’s first though – electrifying our pasture fences as what we have now is useless for any four legged creature that’s not a horse! – and, of course, just getting used to this latest addition to our menagerie!