I took so many barn cat photos yesterday, I'm gonna have to post some more tomorrow!
So we now have SEVEN barn cats and I need to update my "Cast of Characters" section asap. Here is the first and only male barn cat, Redford:
He's sweet as pie but also bossy with his ladies and very jealous of the attention I give them! He likes to give them a slap on the head if hI'm cuddling one of them, and he wants to weasel in for attention. I am trying to teach him to be a gentleman.
This is not an actual barn cat...
...it's Emerson, who has earned day parole from the house because everybody is so much happier that way. He likes to hang in the barn by day, then snuggle with me and the other five indoor cats at night.
And here are two of my three new Greek beauties, walking the plank!
Divine Daisy and beautiful Buttercup! We still have work being done in the barn, so there are lots of things for them to climb on and explore.
Okay, I'm not even sure which cat is sauntering along in the back. I think it's Buttercup. Honey and Redford are hanging out in the hay.
Speaking of Honey...
She likes to look down on me!
Redford, Daisy and Honey are checking out the hemlock posts.
The Redford decided he wanted the posts all to himself, and booted poor Honey off!
Whereupon everyone went upstairs!
The cats LOVE hanging around the box stalls and the ponies!
Honey's great on the "balance beam."
This is not a fight...
I don't think. :)
Honey and Daisy were having a great time rolling around in the stone dust. They and Buttercup are all sisters.
Missy and Emerson. Or Honey. I am having a real problem telling them apart in this shot!
Missy is super-sweet and absolutely gaga about the ponies. At her old home, she used to hang out with a pair of donkeys!
The intrepid Daisy!
Emerson keeping an eye on Redford, not in the photo.
Buttercup on the move!
Missy and Emerson
What do you see, Buttercup?
I've only just started giving the Greek girls free run of the barn, ten days after their arrival. I had planned on keeping them confined a little longer, but they were just itching to get out. Eventually I will let them explore the great outdoors, where they will have the shock of seeing snow for the first time. Really, all of our barn cats could be indoor cats and I have some guilt over that, but I have to say that six inside our house is about our limit right now. I am trying to mitigate my guilt by giving the barn cats lots of heat mats and little heated houses (all designed for outdoor or barn use), and lots of daily attention. I spent at least an hour a day in the barn, and Gordon spends time with them in the evenings and weekends and I must say, they do all seem content.
My main goal is to make sure they are warm enough all winter. Right now they have two "rooms" in the barn full of straw and heated things and places to snuggle up together. We are continuing to work on making the lower barn warmer and less drafty, but right now, the set-up is pretty good for them all.
And I have to say, after the rat explosion we had this summer, it is refreshing not to see a single rat or mouse in the barn! I'm sure there are at least some mice around, but the cats are doing a great job and we will never again have to resort to poison for the rats (which we had to do this summer when the traps weren't keeping up and the population was completely out of control for the first time ever.) This summer's rat problem was what made me throw in the towel on my mission to have just indoor cats (the indoor guys still have access to their outdoor cage, and of course Emerson is a happy wanderer these days!)
We do lock all the barn cats in at suppertime every day, which is working well and hopefully will keep them safer from predators, who are mostly out and about at night.
More cat pics soon!
PS If you want to see more photos of the girls growing up in Greece, check out Joan's Flickr page here.
And if you'd like to help Joan in her wonderful work, consider sponsoring one of her cats or making a donation. Visit her Facebook page for details!