I wanted to get some cats to have around the property to take care of rodents and scare off any critters. I have never had an outdoor cat. I generally prefer pampered (spoiled) cats that live inside with me and cuddle in my lap. I realize, though, that cats can serve a greater purpose than sitting on the couch with me.
I contacted a place called Missouri Barn Cat that finds homes for feral cats that have been rescued from the streets or that need relocation from other farms. They place the cats on farms or properties where the cats can roam free and live out their lives being wild. The only requirements for us to get cats from this organization was that we had to take two at a time, had to keep them in a secure place for two weeks, and of course had to keep them fed.
Easy enough! Sign me up! It took a while for someone to contact me letting me know they had two cats ready. The plan was to keep them in the side of the sheep barn that is closed in. I got the call that they were on their way, and Chuck, from our county's Humane Society showed up in a white van. Chuck made sure the area was secure. We put some bales of hay in front of the sides of the barn that had some gaps between the walls and the gravel floor. We gave the cats food and water, and then we released them into the barn – a one year old black cat and a couple month old orange kitten. Chuck told me that the cats were up to date on their shots and had been neutered. When I asked when I should take them to the vet, he said that I probably wouldn't see much of them, since they were so wild.
The cats are supposed to live in the barn and make that their home base. By confining them for a couple of weeks, it is supposed to help them to become more comfortable with their situation and get used to their new home. I waited five days, as instructed, to go into the barn and refill their food. To my utter surprise and dismay, the food was completely gone and a hole had been dug under the wall! They escaped!! So much for barn cats..... I felt terrible that they were gone and could have already come into danger without me even knowing it, but I figured they were wild, so they would be okay on their own.
Fast forward to a couple of days later, and there is a little black shadow going under the door to the outbuilding. I was so excited to see that all of my worst fears for these poor cats didn't come true. I knew that at least one was still hanging around. But the little orange kitten was so small. I couldn't imagine him being out in the wild on his own. About a week later, I saw him scurrying back under the pallets of hay in the barn. He was alive and well!