We’ve occasionally talked about going down to the SPCA and picking up one of their “barn cats“. I assume this is something that’s available at a lot of rural animal shelters — less socialized animals that you aren’t required to keep indoors. Thought a young cat that grew up around chickens would probably leave them alone (they’re fairly large and happy to defend themselves), and Anya has been really into cats since she discovered the Warrior Cat series. We see a few neighbor’s cat wandering around — a big white one, a chocolate point one — and the highlight of her day is just seeing a cat. For the last few weeks, we’ve also seen a black cat. I mentioned to Anya how some people consider them bad luck, and how the shelter I used to volunteer at had more trouble adopting them out.
Today, we were working out in the yard. The chickens were roaming around (well, the big ones anyway — the little guys tend to stay really close to the tractor when they are allowed out). Scott, Anya, and I were getting the hop arbor set up. The black cat came up out of the valley, walked toward us, and meowed. The big chickens, who had been digging around the compost, froze. The baby guys obliviously chirped and ran around the tractor. Tilly, our Columbian Wyandotte, flew/ran over toward the tractor and put herself right between the cat and the chicks. That was really cool to see — the bigger guys will actually protect the chicks. The rest of the chickens made their way toward their coop. I moved toward the chicken tractor too, and Anya went toward the cat to get him moving in a different direction. And it wanted a snuggle.
So she got to spend an hour or so petting a cat (and dragging a rope around for a cat to play with). After a big chicken got close enough to the cat for it to really appreciate the size of a chicken (and that chicken was Sunshine, our very large Buff Orpington), the cat didn’t bother the chicks. It’s an in tact male — strange combo since “in tact” usually means feral, but it’s super friendly. More friendly than any cat I’ve ever owned — my cats loved their family, but they’d hide from strangers. I left my number with the police and SPCA in case someone’s missing this guy, but the police said they get a lot of calls about cats dumped in the park (which is odd — we’ve lived here six years now, and I’ve never encountered a dumped pet … but it’s a big park). I’ve posted a pic to the usual social media places — community FB group, etc; but Anya’s hoping we’ve scored our barn cat 🙂