And yes I meant kitties not kitty’s because … well it has happened to more than one cat.
A Normal Day Just Like Any Other
I arrive at the gallery somewhere around 11am and stop in the printing room to confer with my husband about what’s going on today.
(Yeah, I know 11am makes me sound lazy, but seriously it’s the middle of winter, the gallery has zero business and so I just can’t see the point of rushing up there, especially when Mike gets there at like 7am.)
(So yeah okay, he gets there at 7am because he’s a morning person and well … quite frankly I’m not. I’m way more loving with a couple of hours of quiet time and a 2 liter bottle of Diet Coke.)
(Umm … to clarify, I don’t actually drink the entire 2 liters in the morning. It just gives me comfort to hold it.)
(Okay, so yeah occasionally I do drink the entire 2 liters in one morning but only on the days that I really need the extra emotional support.)
(Stop judging me.)
So I’m chatting away and I hear a distant meow. I glance down and see Budda eyeballing me and his lips totally did not move when I heard it again. So unless Budda has turned himself into some kind of awesome genius ventriloquist cat we had another cat in the gallery.
Mike’s like “Uh, I think we have a cat in the garage.”
On further inquiry after Mike arrived he had heard some meowing but thought perhaps it was Budda (because Budda is a seriously vocal cat. He has Siamese ancestors I just know it.) But then it quit. Upon my arrival however the cat recognized my voice as the belonging to “The one who brings all good things” and started to meow.
Turns out it was one of our more wild kitties. Most of my barn cats I can pet if not pick up. A couple however are truly wild. And our gallery garages are huge and filled will all sorts of hidy holes, not to mention a basement.
Just Call Me The Cat Whisperer
Mike had noticed that the cat seemed to like sitting on the straw bales which we use for lining the large link-fence dog run. Our old girl Cisco is kept in the kennel when we leave for winter events. Our garages are heated so it’s a comfortable stay if not a happy one. Anyway the cat was drawn to them. I imagine they smelled of Cisco and the straw reminded him of home, which was comforting in this very strange and foreign place.
So Mike puts two bales in the dog kennel in hopes of luring our little vagrant into a giant cat trap. This worked like a charm. Within minutes the cat was napping in the dog run.
So I casually walk in. speaking softly. The kitty was one of those that leaned to the feral side and thus hadn’t been named. I had only recently been able to put my hand on it briefly. I wasn’t sure if this was going to work at all. The cat hops off the bales and skulks deeper into the run. So I step into the run and close the gate. The kennel is 6 foot tall but I know a cat can scale this if frightened enough. Plus a 20 foot dog run is still a lot of space to wrangle a cat in.
So I speak in my soft voice trying to lull the cat into stop trying to push itself through the 2″ hole of the chain link. This actually worked. After about 5 minutes it stopped. Another minute or two it came within a few feet of me and sat down. When it would look away or close it’s eyes I would try to step closer, but deep straw bedding does not allow for stealthy movement.
So giving up on this tactic I opted for the distraction method. I rubbed my thumb over my fore and index fingers making a swirling motion that’s proven to be like some sort of cat hypnotism. The cat’s eyes glazed over completely transfixed on my fingers. I move slowly closer all the while doing the finger rub thing until I finally reach out and touch him by the neck.
He flattens himself to the floor in a moment of panic and then realizing the sheer and utter joy of my touch rears up and pushes against my hand wanting more petting. I scuffed his neck a bit getting him good and relaxed and then picked him by it (relieved he didn’t yowl, twist or try to scratch or bite) and plunked him in Budda’s cat carrier to be returned to the farm.
Barn Kitty’s Wild Ride
So with my successful cat capture (I should totally try-out for a job as a wild critter wrangler on like the crocodile hunter or something) we then began to discuss exactly how a cat got from the farm to the gallery garage in the first place.
Our best guess is that he was either under the van or in the engine space. Both place make for a dead cat. And after all these many years we’ve never taken a cat into town. It’s like 4 miles. And while that doesn’t sound far, think of clinging to a vehicle hurtling down a gravel road at 50 mph and then gauge how far 4 miles is.
The other thing was on this particular day we had just had a storm so the van was also pushing through drifts. The great thing about all-wheel drive is it plows throw snow taller than the vehicle’s bumper. Again probably kinda harrowing for the cat though. It’s amazing it made it.
Several Days Later
It’s about 10 am so I’m still at home (I said stop judging me!) and I get a call from Mike.
Mike “Uh … I think we have another cat in the gallery.”
Me …. …. …. (that’s the sound of me beating my head against a wall.)
UPDATE: We now park the van in the garage at the farm and will hopefully avoid this happening again. I know you’d think we’d do that anyway but so often a cat goes into the garage, but then refuses to come back out. So that brings it’s own set of problems. But so far … no more barn cats have had another big adventure.
UPDATED, Update: The second cat was Tortilena and she is quite tame. Well for me. With Mike she darted off and hid. But when I called she ran out all purring and stretching and so was a very easy catch. Whew!
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