Friday, December 12, 2014

Willis in Charge

Willis and the 'girl' barn cats--Sadie, Sally, and Willow--spent about 5 days in the washroom/entry of the Pellyton farm house 'acclimating.' 
I have read that it takes a few days for a cat's internal mechanism to 'reset' in a new place, so I never let a cat outside for nearly a week when we move them.
It was a gloomy week weather-wise, so not much sun shone through the washroom windows.
The girl cats huddled on a shelf and Willis fussed about.

On Sunday--a bright, crisp day, we carried them out to the small three-sided barn where Jim had constructed a fortress of hay bales.
The cats could hop inside and be protected from cold and wind.
I dragged out a small stand which was left behind by the previous owners.
I spread an old rug on top and set a big dish of kibble there.
The small kibble dispenser and 2 water bowls are on the floor alongside.

The girl cats burrowed into the house of bales and couldn't be coaxed out.
Willis vaulted into the rafters and paraded along the narrow edges.
He found a 'platform' of sorts formed by a half sheet of OSB [fiberboard] which was laid across the rafters toward the front of the barn.
When we went up on Monday morning, he was up above viewing his new kingdom.
The girls were not to be seen although faint mews from inside the hay were heard.

Willis has had house privileges in the past, but his house manners are not reliable.
In the course of our work day he had to be firmly put outside several times--only to whisk through the door whenever we entered with an armload of wood.
He quickly gravitated to the rug in front of the wood stove.

We were away for 2 days--in Tennessee picking up the kitchen and bathroom cabinetry which our niece had removed for replacement.
When we returned on Thursday and trundled in with the loaded trailer, Willis flung himself at the door.  He got underfoot as we moved in the cabinets, sniffing at each as it was deposited in the kitchen. As the warmth from the freshly kindled fire seeped through the house, Willis made himself a bed on a blanket in the living room.
He wasn't pleased when we turfed him out when we left for the day.
Today--Friday--was another sunny day.
Willis appeared, tail in the air, as soon as he heard the truck lumbering up the drive. 
I made a fire while Jim carried in tools.
I headed for the barn, trailed by Willis.
Today Willow was eager to come out of the hay house and twine about my ankles.
I opened the gate into the wooded area beyond the barn and set about collecting dry twigs to store as 
fire starters.
Although we had repeatedly called all the cats by name, there had been no sign of Sadie or Sally.
I began to believe that they had run away.
There is a large uprooted tree a short way from the barn--a sprawl of roots, a thicket of branches.
Sadie emerged from the heap of branches, marched along the fallen trunk, meowing in greeting.  She rubbed against me, purring loudly.
When Jim came out she made a production of greeting him also.
We feel certain that Sally is lurking in the twiggy hide-away--safe and well, but reluctant to 
come out.
[It was Sally who declined to present herself when I moved the other barn cats to this house--the interim stay on their journey of relocation, necessitating 3 tries to locate her!]

I feel that the barn cats are at least as safe in their new location as during their 4 year tenure at the Gradyville property.
They have a barn, acres of land at the end of our lane, they have a sure supply of food and water, and our company nearly every day as we work at refurbishing the house.

When we drove away today we noted that Willis--apparently resigned to being put out of the house--had stationed himself on the south-facing side of the barn.
He lay with his paws neatly tucked in front of him, eyes half-closed, face turned up to the low slanting rays of the sun.
For 'barn cats' these four felines have a fairly luxurious lifestyle!


  1. I always worry when we move house, they say dogs are attached to people, but cats are attached to location. Sounds like yours are settling in though.

  2. It was so sad to read about Pebbles but there seems enough cat companions around to fill the empty gap. I am not sure if you are in your new property or not, or just working there but one day the hassle will be over. Hope you all have a good Christmas, and that the weather cheers up, and the cats behave themselves! X