Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


And finally peace reigns.  At least for now.  If you've followed this blog for awhile, you know that several years ago my life was broadsided by six charming kittens and their mother.  Butterfly, their 'real' mommy showed up here very pregnant and so between my Mom and I we took her in.  She thanked us by birthing six very healthy kittens a few weeks later.  I thought I would keep two.

My Mom took Butterfly after the mob was weaned.  I gave away two of the kittens, but they eventually were returned.  Somehow I was suddenly one of those crazy cat ladies, with not only six inside kitties but eight--counting the two residents already in house. 

Things weren't to bad, although quite hectic, for awhile.  For almost a year things were 'fine'.  Then all the kitties began to mature at once.  Even though spayed and neutered they evidently still feel the need to 'express' themselves and there were power struggles.   It hasn't been much fun for awhile.

So I saved my money.  I had a deck and patio built with the eventual intentions of letting the kitties go out and lounge around on the patio. 

I've been told they need more space.  And that once they mature that they should settle down some.  We are approaching the age when they should start showing some maturity.  But space was an issue for all of us.  What with one thing or a hundred I never got the deck completely wired off so they could go out.  But I saved some more money.  And I had a catio built last week. 

Yep.  A catio.  It's a huge wire enclosed run---26 foot long by 12 foot wide and Lord only knows how tall.  (It is taller than originally planned because it ties in better to the roof line).  James (the Mennonite) who did my deck also did the catio.  He is very skilled and it's a work of art.  I'm sure it's the first catio he has ever done, or as the words on my receipt said 'cat exercising room'.   He didn't hardly bat an eye though when I told him what I wanted. 

By the way if you don't know what a catio is, google it.  You'll find out I'm not the only crazy person out there, and by far not the most over the top.  Really.

From a distance it almost looks like a pergola, or a green house....or an unfinished addition to the house.  People drive by and gawk at it.   I'm planting beans and morning glories and gourds to vine up on it.

In time I will build walkways and crows nests and other interesting hidey holes for them.  I also need to install two kitty doors into existing windows.  For now though most of them go in and out an opened window and it's cool enough that flies and bugs aren't coming into the house.  Eventually too, I will enclose the deck with wire and make a doorway into the catio. 

Tuesday night was the kitties 'maiden voyage'.  They were goggle eyed and awestruck that they were outside.  Real grass, real fresh air, real dirt to roll in!  They ran and played and chased bugs and each other.  The girls ran and screamed and hissed and told each other they were crossing the line when they bumped into each other.  It did my heart good. 

Verity was the first one out and Sage was the last, however I helped both Meshach and Noah and Sage was off doing something else when all the excitement went down.  He was a little concerned about how to get out, but Verity kindly went over and showed him.  

Worth every penny of  stinking hard earned money.  Very few things I have to spend my money on bring me as much joy as watching those kitties get all crazy on the new space and freedom they had.

I sure didn't feel this happy when I paid $1200 at Christmas time to have the transmission in my truck replaced.  Nope.  

This week I've just let them out in the evening after I got home from work.  Today is their first 'all day out'.  They haven't been in the house much.  Just one once in awhile to check on me and see how things were going. 

Meshach doesn't go out unless I put him out.  He is a little old to be navigating the current window in and out system.  I only let him out an hour or so at a time.  At 15 years old I don't want him to overdo.  Noah doesn't go out on his own either but is well able to come back in by himself!  He stays out a short time and then comes back in to snooze.  The rest are pretty much glued out there.  The birds are pretty ticked off as that was one of the bird seed gathering spots, so they add entertainment value for the cats as they birdie cuss from the trees. 

We still will have problems I'm sure but I can already see kitties and a crazy cat lady looking a little less crazy and stressed.

So much has been going on here at the little farm and I'm so far behind on blogging.   We've had some sad losses and some sweet new additions and time just keeps on flying by. Hoping to get a few more posts up over the next week, but we will see how that goes.  In the meantime, hope all is well and you have a great weekend and Happy Mother's Day!


phylliso said...

I was wondering if you got the catico built,it is worth every penny,isn`t it? He does nice work,& I can see everyone loves it.
I`m hoping to add a room on also for the parrots & rabbits to run free in.I have 4 cats now since we took mom`s,& it has all worked out fine even tho Mittens is the only girl.
Have a great mom`s day with your mom & family,this is the first year without mine & my brother & I are still cleaning out her house....we miss her so much,phyllis

Michelle said...

What fun; far, far better than spending money on a home theater or giant-screen TV! I've always said our animals are the best entertainment going.

Have a happy Mother's Day to one of the best animal moms I know!

RiverBend Farm said...

THAT is one of the coolest things I've ever seen!! Those cats have no clue how well that have it made.. you are one of the best mama's around.
Happy Mother's Day!

Barbara Rogers said...

I'm thrilled to read about (and see your photos) of the are the cats MEOW!

Vicki Lane said...

Oh, how wonderful for all of you! Next, the jungle gym!

Star said...

Now I'm wondering why they can't just go out wherever they want? Is there a reason why they can't have their total freedom Tammi?

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

Okay, I love the catio!! I admire you for looking for a solution to be able to keep your cats!

Tina T-P said...

What a good cat mom you are - have you ever seen the blog Katnip Lounge? They are in Nevada and have 13 (!) cats - and a wonderful catio - A good way to keep your kitties safe and sound. T.

SouthernHeart said...

What an absolutely clever idea! A place to explore safely and climb to their heart's content.