By Kim Lemmon, Ohio’s Country Journal
When we first moved to the country and built a barn, I immediately began searching for a barn cat. My husband, Mark, was baffled because he didn’t understand why we needed another mouth to feed or why anyone would want a cat regardless of whether it lived inside the house or in the barn.
I have visited many barns through the years. The barns that lack cats are often home to birds that deposit their droppings on every available surface. If the cat-free barns are fortunate enough to avoid an infestation of birds, they are home to rodents that scurry around every corner and steal livestock feed or just generally make a mess.
I am not a fan of birds or rodents of any kind. I’ve been known to run screaming from the barn at the site of a tiny mouse; so, barn cats have become a necessity for our barn.
Through the years, the cats have won Mark over. I think he pictured lovable little kitties that would just eat cat food and spend their days longing around the barn. Our cats are serious hunters. They do meet me at the back door every morning to escort me to the barn, and they enjoy an occasional petting, but they are not really pets.
Although the cats do seem to look forward to my visits to the barn, they especially love our mini horses. The cats often lounge around and guard the minis while the horses eat their morning hay. The cats also leave their kill in or near the mini horse stalls like they are leaving kills for their masters. It is always an adventure when I clean stalls because I never know when the cats have left a “present” for the minis in the stalls.
Our cats are have eradicated birds and mice from our barn and continue to work on clearing them from the surrounding fields and woods. The cats have become an irreplaceable part of our rural lifestyle.
Make sure you appreciate your barn cats!