Oliver!

Oliver's Baby Picture

Gonna tell ya a little story about a little Tom Cat by the name of Oliver.

Oliver was born in late March of 2013, probably in our basement where it is still somewhat warm down there from the furnace running, to my favorite barn cat-Queen, Lil Gurl.  The first time I saw him, he was so itty-bitty…eyes closed, ears folded down, and he was quiet, unnaturally so…Like he instinctively knew: “the dogs will get me”. It would be a few weeks before I’d see him again. His mother had placed him beneath the stairs, behind some boxes. The dogs continually sniffed the area one evening, I finally figured out why. I watched Lil Gurl, hiss, spit and swat at the dogs when they got too close. Filled with adrenalin, I actually grabbed one the of the dogs by the scruff and literally carried him to the yard. I knew then, that I had to relocate Lil Gurl and her baby to keep them both safe.

I started moving boxes and finally uncovered her nest, where she kept the baby cat. Lil Gurl watched trustingly. I reached in and gently picked up the tiny thing. His eyes were open and he only stared at me; he didn’t hiss, or spit. Most of her kittens are like that…they inherit her demeanor, fortunately. I placed him on top of the chest freezer, across from the stairs, her eyes watching me the entire time. She jumped up on the upright freezer and looked down at him and meowed at me. And then she chirped. It was then that Oliver (who was just “Baby Cat” then) started screaming his little head off, so yes…he had a voice and knew how to use it!  She tiptoed the four and a half-foot tall wall that stands between the freezers and the oil tank, and jumped up on the duct work and chirped again and then, meowed to me: she wanted me to hand him up to her. The duct work is over six-feet up in the air–no way for me to safely reach. So I ran upstairs and retrieved my little step stool and then climbed up on it. I couldn’t see her, but I knew she was up there. Grabbing Oliver, I reached up and placed him on the cold duct work…he didn’t like it. She grabbed his scruff and pulled him toward an inset-cubby hole in the wall where they would be safe. But there is an eight inch gap between the duct work and the wall. She struggled with his weight  and he fell through the air. I tried to catch him, but he slipped through my fingers like he was water. It felt like playing “hot potato” when I was a kid, I just couldn’t hang on, and I prayed that I could at least break up the impact of the fall. I was horrified when he hit the cement floor. He was a little over two feet away from where I was standing and I reached down and picked him up and held him close to me, hoping he survived.  I pulled him away from my chest and looked hard at him…He looked at me and blinked his eyes; he was definitely alive and quite shaken from the experience.  I kept him held snug against me as I searched the basement for something higher to stand on and when I found a heavy tote, I dusted him off, gave him a kiss and I reunited him with his mother. She grabbed his scruff again and carried him to the very far corner of the cubby.

After that, I checked on them daily. Sometimes Lil Gurl would be there, sometimes not. When he was alone, he was always awake and he’d look up and silently meow, but he wouldn’t move from his spot.

Then one day in late April, they weren’t there. And I didn’t see them for days. Finally, she brought him out to meet the rest of the colony…he’d gotten so big!  He played with the other kittens and played hide and seek with me, pretending to be fearless and fearsome. I desperately need money to get him neutered. There are programs in the area where they’ll neuter a male, but they’ll dock an ear. I don’t want his ear docked; I don’t care what they say, it’s been my experience that the docked ear is slow to heal and yes, it bothers them…He’s still at that age where he does stupid things, like sitting too close to the fence tauntingly, when a certain dog is in the yard….and running fearlessly up to a client with a reactive dog to say HI! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dive bombed a cat to keep it away from a canine who’d love nothing more than to pay with a live-squeaky toy….Fortunately, he’s actually too big to eat now. And he stays mostly alone, especially when he sleeps. I guess he likes it that way…He’s turning out to be just like our former Head-Boy Barn cat, Tigger who lived to be well over 10–a very long life for a barn cat. Tigger made it inside to pass away…he trusted and loved us that much. I prayed long and hard for another cat like Tigger…and now, we may have another Head-Boy Barn Cat in Oliver.

Oliver, September 2013

Oliver, September 2013

You’re probably wondering why I don’t TNR (Trap, Neuter and Release)? It’s because the barn cats we care for actually WORK here. They keep the rodent population down. Mice are the biggest carriers of the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease. My husband is still fighting his second bout of it…the first time, it almost killed him. So yeah, I’m a little fanatical about keeping my barn cats in tact…but this one, he’s special. And while he does some stupid things now, I’ve watched him hunt…his mother taught him well and he’s begun schooling the other younger kittens. If he can make through the winter, he’s a keeper…and to do that and keep him from roaming, he’ll need to be snipped.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. allangilmour
    Sep 18, 2013 @ 06:40:10

    Thank you for posting. The three of us, from the blog of Mr Midnight, Sir WInston and myself, enjoyed reading your story. (Although because of me being human, I had to do all the reading). 🙂
    Best of wishes from the three of us.

    Reply

    • ladyrowann
      Sep 20, 2013 @ 03:40:07

      Thank you, Allan (and of course, Mr Midnight and Sir Winston!). I’ll be writing more kitty-stories soon…
      Oh…and Oliver was THRILLED that you enjoyed his story!
      >^..^<

      Reply

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