Canny cat

On my arrival home from California a few weeks ago Moon was nowhere to be found. Which was not a worry as he is a stray and an intact male and they do tend to wander. He had arrived out of the fields at Christmas time and had been visiting with my barn cats on and off since.

Before I left for California a few weeks ago I booked That Cat, my big ginger Tomcat,  in to be neutured,  so I also booked Moon in as well. Moon is a mature and quite smelly Tom with all the noise a male cat makes.

So, of course, he disappeared until the morning after his appointment date. And now here he is.

I had told Our John that I had booked him in then cancelled him because we had not seen him for a few weeks (thinking what a typical and funny story) and Our John was appalled that I would take someone else’s cat in to be neutered. (Actually he was also upset that I would consider paying for someone else’s cat to be neutered  – it costs 120 dollars after all).  It is true that he appears well fed, though he has returned limping, But he was here for months before that. I assumed, correctly I think, that he was a stray – possibly dumped in the area at Christmas time.

So now I have a moral dilemma. When is a stray and stray and when do you have ownership over a stray. How long must an animal live in your barn before you can amend his anatomy. And what if he is from a local farmhouse?  It is not like he travels with a suitcase and papers and can prove that he has no address.

The leghorns are growing nicely. They are a beautiful flock of chicks.  Soon their door will open and they will be allowed out in their yard.

Alex has taken on the shape of a wine barrel and I think her udder is developing but she never had much of an udder anyway and as you know now: with a cow (a cow has had a calf before) most of the changes happen in the last two or three weeks.  I need to look up her earliest date.  She still has at least a month to go I would think. But she surprised us last time – remember?  Txiki was the cutest wee calf – smaller than TonTon.

I will get back to you with her earliest date in the comments.

I don’t know why I think this but I have a feeling  one of my calculations had Molly and Alex having their babies at the same time. I have no idea where this memory of an equation comes from but it niggles at me – being that they share the same barn. Alex was field bred so she has no conclusive date. But then so was Molly (the sow).

Alex needed no help last time and was with an even smaller bull this time so if the calf is properly positioned she should be OK if I am busy elsewhere.

Sunday today.  What a week!

I hope you have a lovely day.





47 Comments on “Canny cat

  1. There is always some dilemma or other, isn’t there? Right when one moral situation calms down, another pops up. I don’t know what the planets are doing alignment-wise right now or what it would mean exactly, but I find myself, in this period, dealing with a ton of moral/administrative/monetary issues that are very tangly and hard to unravel. I wonder if anyone else is going through this right now. It is odd. It was smooth sailing for a very long time, and now, boom: Mess.

  2. I think you should get the Moon cat done. He’s adopted you, so your barn is where he lives. Normal people don’t keep unneutered cats in their homes and even in a barn, the spraying is unpleasant. There are many cat charities in the world and they all look towards fixing strays. The fighting and stress that goes with testosterone shortens a cat’s life, also, fighting spreads feline leukemia, which is like a cat HIV. I say the above as a big cat lover 🙂

    • I agree with all of your reasons, Mad. Especially the spraying & HIV. I lost a gentle neutered male house cat to that disease, which is awful, because he got out & was attacked. All my other house cats had to be vaccinated & with Rusty’s care & euthanasia, the vet bill was very large. Moon’s neutering would spare you all of this. I would absolutely do it the next time he turns up.

      • I agree with Mad also. If he were part of a valuable breeding program he certainly would not be roaming from home to home. Too bad you couldn’t prevail on on one of the vets to do it when they made a farm call. Ours are happy to neuter the males on farm just to keep populations and, as you said, disease at bay.

  3. when is  a stray not a stray?  Hmmm..thats a good question.  i have a dog that I feed whenever I pass by. He lives in a disused wood yard..he is not chained and has complete freedom. There is a man who comes once in a blue moon but is he the owner? My problem is that this dog has a skin infection and needs a vet visit but is it my place to take him….answer No  because i know he has an owner so I must let him suffer…as far as I can see that is not  fair.

    So Moon has been with you on and off for ages..he chooses to come to you and to stay..therefore he is your cat…so yes it isright to get him done.

    But how can one be right and one be wrong. 



    Sent: Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 2:49 PM

    • I believe there are similar programs around here. Most of the shelters are over run with cats so this is the next best thing imo.I’m

      • Oh dear, the above was supposed to be in replay to valbjerke, don’t know what I did! To Patrecia, if the dog was suffering I’d probably step in and take him to the vet and damn the consequences.

        • In reply not replay – aack, I think I’d better stop now!

    • Do you have a local SPCA or equivalent? Out here, if a dog had a obvious disease and the owner was doing nothing, the SPCA can step in. The owner can also be prosecuted.

  4. I think whichever way you dissect it C, it is always a good thing being responsible by having animals neutered, especially cats as they can have so many kittens every year. Hope you are able to come to the right decision for you.
    Have a happy week.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  5. Bit of a catch 22 on the cat…….I suppose it boils down to the basics – do you want the cat spraying everything, yowling all night, picking fights….
    I’ve had male cats neutered that stay home after the fact, and I’ve had some neutered that continue to wander and sometimes meet an unfortunate fate with a coyote or a car (which makes me cringe at having spent the money).
    This year, where I live the SPCA set aside a month to spay and neuter feral or barn cats for free. I had none to take in, but I’m hoping others took advantage of the program. I wonder if there’s a similar program in your area?

    • We have a similar program here, a spay and neuter mobile clinic, that passed through three times a year, spring, summer and fall. Cats are fixed for $40 and dogs for $50. I think there are also grants for those who can’t afford to spay their animals. It is a wonderful service. All of our porch animals, 4 cats and 2 dogs have visited the clinic, and I often work as a volunteer there with the mobile clinic is in town.

  6. Busy times ahead. I do think that you should go with your initial instinct and get Moon neutered.

  7. It’s a shame, isn’t it that these girls and boys cannot take responsibility for their own intimate adventures and supply you with a clear record, and date, of any expected offspring. Don’t they know that you have much to do and keeping track of their sex lives really should be their responsibility 😉

    As to Moon, I am in the group that would say go ahead with your plans if it is financially feasible for you. I am a sucker for strays and even all the neighbor cats who have homes but simply like to lounge about in the sun on my deck. From the rather unfriendly picture you posted though, I’m not too sure that Moon has as much enthusiasm for a trip to the vet as you might want him to.

  8. Interesting question. Seems to me that if someone nearby was missing their cat, they would have been putting something out on Facebook, putting signs up in the local post office or visiting their neighbors to see if anyone had seen their beloved cat. Cats also have a tendency to return to the place where they feel the most comfortable and are fed well. As I see it, you have only a few choices
    1. Try to locate the owner.
    2. Call animal control to come get Moon.
    3. Keep Moon and have him neutered. If Moon returns to his original owner, the owner will likely not be able to determine who had the cat neutered and should be thankful that you didn’t decide to choose #2, which would have likely cost the owner money and a possible requirement to have him neutered anyway.

    Also, Our John is such a quiet, soft spoken man, I find myself wondering what appalled looks like in Our John 🙂

  9. what a week indeed! Where we lived in Oregon and now in California there is a group called Feral Cat coalition. When our Lucy showed up at our Oregon home
    6 months old and in heat we called the local coalition and they spayed her for $30. She was not a feral, but a stray and when the vet scanned her for a chip and did not find one
    we assumed Lucy had been abandoned.
    I think you well within your rights to neuter him as he’s in your barn and has been for some time. He’ll be a healthier and happier cat in the long run!
    Here’s a link to Illinois cat neutering/spaying services:

  10. As kitty cats go, as with most things, possession is nine-tenths of the law……. or so my Dad was heard to utter. If you feel Moon is likely to stay and he’s been a ‘regular’ for months, then he’s yours and, therefore, the responsibility for neutering is in your hands.
    Txiki was a beauty calf, I well remember, and very small. But I wasn’t aware she was smaller than TonTon… wow As far as Alex being barrel shaped, I have always thought she was at the most normal times. lol And seems Txiki was born 15th April so, if Alex’ clock is a solar one, perhaps she has just three weeks or so to go. Your leghorns look like miniature chickens still. Hope you have a great day. ~ Mame 🙂

  11. I have 5 cats hanging around looking sad that I can’t help but feed and shelter (outside.) There is a barn next door, so I’m sure that people feel that their unwanted cat will find a good home there. (There are more over there!) I also have grandchildren that make sure that said cats, at least the more friendly ones, find their way inside. One of them was definitely going to produce kittens eventually, so I took advantage of a local charity that helps with strays and had her fixed. She is only the more happy for it. It is the responsible thing to do. And I sure didn’t want kittens hanging around, cute as they are!

  12. I had much the same dilemma that you’re having with your Moon when we moved into our home 20 years ago. It “came” with a lovely orange tabby that my children adored and as winter approached we started letting him in at night so he’d be warm. This went on for about a year when I finally took him to be neutered. After all, we’d been feeding him and giving him a place to sleep and tending to the wounds he came home with from fighting with other cats. About a month after he was neutered, on Halloween night, a teenager came Trick or Treating to our door, and informed me the cat was hers. I told her that if he had been hers, then why had he lived with us for over a year? He was, after all, an outdoor cat and always came back to our house, not hers. She never said anything else, and that was the end of that. Milo was ours and lived with us for twelve wonderful years before he died. (He looked rather like your orange cat, whose name I’m not sure of.) All this to say, if you are providing the majority of Moon’s care, then I would say Moon is yours. But, if you are concerned that someone may come round to claim him, you could post a notice in the local paper about him or at the vet or feed store and see if you get any responses. The bottom line is that a neutered cat is a healthier cat (not to mention he’s not out there adding to the feral cat population). Good luck with your decision.

  13. If the putative owner has a problem with you giving Moon the snip, he shouldn’t allow his cat to roam all round your property. Personally I think Moon is an opportunist who has decided the Farmy is a very pleasant place, and a pair of cojones is a small price for a cat to pay for the freedom of the place. It’ll make him a nicer cat and the Farmy a more peaceful place. Go for it.

  14. Hey there,
    About the cat, I agree that Mr. Moon is yours by default…plus since there are so many cats and too few homes for them I agree that to neuter Moon is a wise move. He’ll live longer too.

  15. I can understand how vexed you are about having 2 animals giving birth at the same time. You are tiny enough and trying to split yourself in two would be difficult though not impossible for you. 🙂 You are talented that way. When a cat comes to you, it’s yours. I think the vote here is pretty unanimous. Have a wonderfilled Sunday.

  16. We had a cat become ours by default, he lived across the road but they were seldom home so he would come be with our kids and hunt mice in our barn. We named him Neighbor, he lived with us for years.

  17. Same thing happened to some friends as happened to MDT. Cat was wonderful and kept as indoor cat. Lived with them for about three months. They tried to find owners but were unsuccessful. PGrandpa answered front door while holding cat and said trick or treat,, as a joke. The guests gasped and said it was their cat. Friends reluctantly gave cat back. Two months later they heard the cat got run over on their busy street.
    Get the cat checked for microchip when he goes in for appointment. If no chip get him”tutored”. He will live a longer and healthier life and no more offspring .

  18. Moon might have been dumped in order for the owners to avoid the expense of neutering him. He more than likely will not be chipped or vaccinated, I would say go ahead. Keep a copy of the account and should somebody try to reclaim him, present them with the account and that might change their minds. Laura

  19. Our poor John! Or, for that matter, poor any male that cringes at the thought of being ‘snipped’, much less any animal. Think it’s a “GUY THING”? chortle!
    Thanks for the super pictures! My Bill is attempting to build a new hen house in between rains. We need a bigger home for the girls because a woman at the feed store is giving us her half-grown ladies (she can no longer care for them) and our new baby peepers will be here in a month. That’ll give our girl kitties (both ‘fixed’) some new friends to play with. Both kitties get on the roof and help Bill build. Quite a business goes on up there!
    Great day to you and your farmy!

  20. You’ve been lodging him for over 90 days and he’s come back to you after he’d walkabout; so I’d say you’ve got every right to nip him in the bud; )
    Um, was just wondering… Is that a really big “Hi, Meow!” or a “Sod Off!” in the 2nd photo?

  21. I had a male cat in my backyard every day (he always left at night though) for months–along with 5 pregnant females–who all gave birth on my porch–so I figured he was the daddy–so when the first batch of females went to be fixed–George was friendly enough that he also went for the ride to the vets–he still went out catting every single night–(but I knew that no more unwanted kittens were being made by him) but days he slept on my back porch in a rocker after he came back–I swear he loved me more after that–have no idea whose cat he was–but I figured if they couldn’t do right by George, then by George I could–( I named him after my father who loved cats!!)

  22. My parents moved to a very small town after they retired. If a cat took up residence on their property, he/she would be fixed. We know one of those cats did actually have a home. My parents wanted no kittens and felt everyone has a responsibility to prevent the sad overpopulation of cats (and dogs).

  23. So far as I can tell, the vote is unanimous! Moon will be over the moon happy–and so will everyone around him.

  24. If one cannot trace the actual owner (and send him the bill!) it does become a duty to have a feline squatter attended to. The expense of a surprise batch of kittens will be far more, and spayed females often manage, somehow, to reproduce regardless.

  25. I love these discussions 😆 I of course agree that if you are willing to pony up the cash then Moon gets the snip, the G.O. fence-sitting concurs Moon should be neutered but why should you pay. My answer, the same as when I took -our stray who showed up looking for a home share cat- Soossie in and spent just under $300 for her to be desexed because no-one else would. She now permanently resides next door, as Diesel-dog isn’t a fan of damn cats but still I don’t regret it as she is healthy & happy, living with an undesexed tom (who is clearly not my responsibility, otherwise he’d have been done too) but not repeatedly having litters of kittens. We too were subject to a claim by a woman that Soossie was her cat… yep right… all care no responsibility does not equate to ownership.

  26. Yep, go the snip, no question. Good luck rounding him up and getting him there, looks like he has a very strong mind of his own, that one 🙂

  27. There are too many cats in the world already, and given the circumstances I think you are within the bounds of morally responsible to have Moon neutered.

  28. I’d have Moon neutered and not think twice about it, Celi. If his owner was all that concerned, Moon never would have shown up on the farmy. Around here, feral cats are captured and spayed or neutered before being let loose again. I’ve never heard anyone complain about the practice, other than the cost but some of the shelters will perform the surgery for less.

  29. C. To snip or not to snip is the question and I think that question has been answered! 🙂 Even if Mr. Moon does belong to someone else, they are hardly taking very good care of him and how in the world would they know if he’d been snipped or not and even if they did figure it out, I hardly think they’d care. Sometimes we have to do the responsible thing whether it’s our mess or not, right? I mean I pick up trash everywhere I’s not my trash but I still pick it up! If an animal is being abused or neglected, I speak up! I don’t care who it belongs to! I would say Mr. Moon is more yours now than anyone else so you have the right to get him neutered! I mean…you have barn rules right!!

  30. A vet told me, when I brought in a stray dog, that after 2 weeks she was mine and we could go ahead and spay her. Now to set a live trap for Moon and Snip!

  31. Having spayed and neutered over 20 cats who showed up on our property, I have done it the minute I could catch them. And yes, it’s expensive. But, so worth it to cut down on the fighting and also wanted no more cats from the females.

    Too bad you do not have “A Big Fix” clinic in your area. The one here provides low cost spay and neuter to any body. Although, I’ve never been able to benefit from this because they are only recent to this area.

    Sometimes vets, will reduce spay and neuter costs to help people who rescue.

  32. I may be a day late (and possibly a dollar short) on this thread but your situation with Moon mirrored one we have experienced. Our neighbor allows their cats to breed with abandon, and also be killed by predators and illness, due to lack of concern about their well-being. One such litter of kittens used to visit our farm for treats and attention, which we have plenty to give. One by one they stopped coming over, presumably due to death (see above), until just one was left to visit. One day this kitten, about a year old, presented himself on our porch with TWO broken legs. We know this because we took it upon ourselves to pack him up to the vet and have it investigated. The vet offered to put the poor thing down, since we explained it was not our pet and the neighbor would not intervene on his behalf. The vet also gave us the option to perform a very expensive surgery to rebuild the legs. Suffice to say we had the surgery performed. Generously, the vet threw in the neutering service for free. That was six years ago and the kitten (now cat) has resided in our home ever since. When does the animal become your charge? When it holds a special place in your heart.

  33. I had to come back to tell you, 1 of the 2 neighbors cats that stay at my house more than their’s has finally has gotten pregnant.

    I begged the neighbor who rents her mother’s old trailer to the people to make sure they have them spay and neuter the cats when she let them move in. Of course they have not.

    I caught that pregnant cat and another one that I don’t know who it belongs to last night. They will bothl go to the clinic tomorrow at our expense to be spayed. Otherwise, we will be flooded with cats and kittens again.

    • Oh dear – but there really is no choice – i am terrified of having the barn overrun with smelly tom cats. Marmalade was allowed kittens just the once – then off she went.. c

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