Wednesday, July 28, 2010

the sad tale of june carter

I left the equestrian center elated. The grounds, pastures, animals... all of it lovely. Riding Right in south Cambridge is a beautiful set up. Indoor all-weather rings, outdoor rings, a team of school horses, a pleasant staff. It was only a 12-minute drive from my farm. Hollie showed me around and gave me a tour of the center's schooling area. We chatted briefly about farming and writing (she's a future Storey author) and I set up a Wednesday night lesson schedule. I start next week.

Maybe it was the horses, or maybe it was the fact I had the day off from work: but I decided to celebrate my great mood. I was at the feed store picking up sheep grain and trying on paddock boots when I noticed they were selling barn cats.

Uh huh.

I've been wanting an outdoor cat here at Cold Antler for a while. Someone to patrol for mice and rats around the feed and grain. Keep animals from nesting in the hay pile. I like, and miss cats. Living with huskies it wasn't an option. But now that I have a barn and a heated mud room for winter, it was possible.

So I saw the twenty-dollar kittens in the cage and fell for an 8-week-old long-haired, yellow-eyes gray kitten. I picked her up and she hissed. I liked her spunk. I didn't want some passive nancy cat. I pet her and she calmed down. She was beautiful, elegant, sassy—I named her June Carter and drove her home in the pickup.

When we got back to the farm I scooped her up in my arms (still hissing, mind you) and held her outside the truck. I had her in one hand, like you would a puppy, arms securely under her armpits and body safe against my body. My right hand searched for my camera to take a picture. I wanted to post it on the blog and text it to friends in the office.

She slipped right out of my hands and ran into the woods.

It happened so fast. It had been so long since I'd been with cats. I forgot how slick, how fast, how contortionisty they are. In a second she wanted out, and was free. She ran faster than the rabbits into the woods behind the barn. I desperately tried to get her back. We played hide and seek for a while but soon her meows stopped and I could not locate her. I grabber her dry kibble and shook the bag, calling her name. I let out kibble for her to crunch on. I walked all over the property hunting for her, getting ripped open by branches and stung by nettle in the process. I didn't even know how to start finding her. I was just punching under water...for all I knew she was in Shushan. I felt absolutely horrible. I feel horrible now. I had a cat for twenty minutes and blew it. How could I mess this up so fast?

I am hoping she comes back. I will set out food and water for her and leave the barn door open. If I'm lucky she's hiding just out of sight and will stick around the proerty. If I'm unlucky she'll never be seen again. I don't know how kittens think. I'm a stranger in a strange land here. Advice and small prayers are much appreciated.

80 Comments:

Blogger Cheryl said...

Oh, Jenna. Maybe once she feels 'safe' and she will venture out of her hiding spot looking for some kibble. I hope she comes home for you. I hope the dogs won't chase her.

July 28, 2010 at 4:29 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Oh no! That's no fun & so disappointing for you! Especially when you were having such a nice day. But you know, if she was going to be any good as a barn cat she'll be able to find her way to the food you put out and settle in to her new home. She probably would have ended up where she is now eventually, even if you'd been able to introduce her more gradually.

Good luck - I'll be thinking of you and June Carter!

July 28, 2010 at 4:32 PM  
Blogger Amanda Stanoszek said...

You can easily get her in a trap if she hasn't gone too far... get a humane trap from a farm store, bait it with a can of tuna or wet cat food. Something smelly.

I caught 3 feral kittens this way... there's always the possibility you might catch something unwanted, but it's also the safest, quickest way to get the kitty.

It'll work if she's still in the area... but she may have just taken off. She doesn't know that your farm is "home" yet.

If you do get her back, or you decide to get another barn cat (actually, having one of her siblings would probably help you get her back - she might be attracted to the familiarity, and then you can trap her) - read this page first on how to "train" cats to know where home is:

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CCsQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.barncatbuddies.org%2FDocuments%2FBarn%2520Cat%2520Buddies%2520Protocol%2520for%2520Feral%2520Cats.pdf&rct=j&q=feral%20cat%20relocation%20barns&ei=PZRQTOT3BIL68Ab63Jm-AQ&usg=AFQjCNHZ9MTdbQsKe97ngSX2dovcg9mzAg&sig2=dIkjXzT3mV0SzIsECtIRGQ

Hope this helps...

July 28, 2010 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger Amanda Stanoszek said...

Also wanted to add that the ideal time to set traps for cats is around sunset. Check the trap every few hours overnight. It only took me one night to catch the three feral kittens I was after, but sometimes it can take longer.

July 28, 2010 at 4:38 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...

You PAID for a kitten? I do hope it comes back but you should be able to easily find one for free (or had it had all its shots or something to make it worth $20?).

July 28, 2010 at 4:47 PM  
Blogger yarrow said...

Pick up some fish, canned cat food, or other "stinky" catfood and leave that out for her each night just inside the barn door, to lure her back. And be patient. We have a feral cat, whom we got at a local shelter, and she flat-out vanished for almost two weeks when we first let her go in the barn. She dug a tunnel through the dirt floor beneath the wall and disappeared. We left out a bowl of wet cat food, stirring it every night to keep the scent fresh, and three days later, we discovered the food had been eaten. That heartened us; we kept it up, and in a couple weeks, she actually started letting us see her. Now she allows herself to be petted. She's a fine mouser.

July 28, 2010 at 5:10 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

a kitten that hisses when a human picks her up has not been socialized much by her owners...that being said, she may take up residence in your barn and make a fine farm cat. But with your dogs' proclivities for killing small livestock, I would think a full-grown cat might be a better bet anyway. Check out your local shelter or ask around.

July 28, 2010 at 5:39 PM  
Blogger Carrie in Wisconsin said...

Yeah yeah yeah....I would use a hav-a-hart trap. With a stinky food like everyone has suggested. Also, it is quite possible that she's just hiding out somewhere where she feels safe, and in due time(or when she gets really hungry) she'll come back. But definitely try the trap that might work. And then, I would work on her being a bit more personable before you let her go outside or she'll be so feral in a short time you won't be able to get near her.

July 28, 2010 at 5:45 PM  
Blogger Green Homesteader said...

I'm so sorry your kitty ran away. If she returns I would probably keep her inside somewhere until she knows CAF is her home. My sister's cat did the exact same thing when she moved from one house to another. She set the kennel down in the yard and opened the door and woosh, off she ran never to be seen again. The cat didn't know that was her new home. Hopefully June Carter will return and learn that CAF is the best home ever.

July 28, 2010 at 5:49 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Jenna Please stick with it.I have beenght in your Mucking Boots, I bou a Pig. A pot bellie pig andwhen I unloaded he ran and I chased, with no luckAfter3 days of pretzel trails he came home and is home 1 yr later

July 28, 2010 at 6:09 PM  
Blogger Amy McPherson Sirk said...

Too bad we're so far away. I'd lend you my daughter, the "cat whisperer". She's caught and tamed many feral cats. Its a gift.

July 28, 2010 at 6:17 PM  
OpenID Farmer Annie said...

That sucks. We found a semi-feral (but friendly) cat at an abandoned house one time and brought her home. Same thing happened to us...she freaked and was never seen again.

If she doesn't come back, try again with one that is a little tamer and more used to humans. Craigslist! Then be sure to keep it inside for a few days so it knows where "home" is before you let it out. We have a barn cat we got from the humane society, got her as an adult. She is very people friendly but also independent and completely outdoors. We've had her several years now.

July 28, 2010 at 6:23 PM  
Blogger Kirsten Smith said...

We have three feral cats that have adopted us. Our dog LOVES to chase them, so we put their food bowls on a table (just for them mind you) that the dog cannot reach outside.
Cats are absolultely amazing at hiding if they are frightened. When no one - including animals - is around she will come out & eat. She'll learn to trust you.

July 28, 2010 at 6:34 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

tonight i'll set out the havahart and water and dry food in the barn. I hope she comes in and is just hiding out of sight. I hope she has the smarts to not become fox poo.

Wish me luck.

July 28, 2010 at 6:47 PM  
Blogger Penny said...

Poor kitty and poor you. When/if you catch her keep in an enclosed area until you make friends. She is probably one scared kitty cat and it may take several days for her to settle down.
Best of luck to you both!

July 28, 2010 at 7:23 PM  
Blogger Alix said...

My parents got a cat from another farm who did the same thing. 6 months later Dad saw her again - she'd been living in the bale stacks all winter (and frozen off her ears, poor thing). Mom started putting out food again, and she eventually came back and lived around the house. She was never super tame again, but a really good outside cat and mother.

July 28, 2010 at 7:29 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

UPDATE 8:15 PM EST

Kitten is on the property! I watched her stalk chickens, hide under the coop, race around the house, and try to challenge a rabbit. I set out food and havahart trap. I hope she at least stays out of the rain....

July 28, 2010 at 8:16 PM  
OpenID Farmer Annie said...

Yay! Good luck!!

If you have any wet food, that would get her attention.

July 28, 2010 at 8:47 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

So if you catch her in the Havahart then what. She hissed at you indicating she isn't really acclimated to humans. Perhaps she'll happily live in the barn eliminating rodents but she'll also give you 5 fold in return for feeding her. You could have gotten a free kitten and tamed it but you have what you have so you'll just have to make it work or add another freebie to the mix.

July 28, 2010 at 8:54 PM  
Blogger Debi said...

Yay!!!! I'm glad she's where you can see her! Once she figures out that you are the giver of food, she'll most likely stick around. If she hasn't been socialized it may take her some time to become amicable. We rescued a cat back in October and she's just starting to feel like she belongs here.

Also if you start now, you should be able to teach Jazz and Annie that June Carter is not food. Growing up we had several hunting dogs and my dad would always train them to leave the cats alone. Well at least our cats, unfortunately their training didn't extend to the neighbors, that's dogs for ya!

July 28, 2010 at 8:56 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

June carter is never going to live with us in the main part of the house, not while jazz and annie are here. Jazz has killed a cat already (not while i owned him) this is a barn cat. (Jazz and annie can't go in the barn)

July 28, 2010 at 9:12 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

and my plan is to bring her into the mudroom with food, water, litter, human attention and safety from the elements and predators. She's smaller than my two fists together. She'll be an outside cat but I feel she needs some inside time to know what home is, like some have said.

July 28, 2010 at 9:22 PM  
Blogger Justine said...

As you said cats are pretty cunning and they are very smart. I think you'll find that she becomes the amazing cat you think she'll be heck she might even scare maude into being a little nicer... isnt that a funny though a sheep cat to go with the sheep dog? Lol its getting late.

July 28, 2010 at 9:31 PM  
Blogger Justine said...

But in all seriousness be patient and she'll come around. Look at it this way she is getting to know your farm pretty well.

July 28, 2010 at 9:33 PM  
Blogger 許惠吟許惠吟 said...

Lets cross the bridge when we come to it............................................................

July 28, 2010 at 9:42 PM  
Blogger kringsrud said...

Jenna, I'm so sorry June Carter bolted on you. Even if she doesn't know CAF is her home, she will understand food and water,especially when she gets hungry. I'll bet you spot her again soon.

A second cat to keep her companay would be a good idea. And remember to spay or neuter!

Good luck!

July 28, 2010 at 9:46 PM  
OpenID ruralaspirations said...

When we brought our cat home from the SPCA they said to keep him inside for at least one week, probably two, so he would know it was home before he went outside. After about a week he seemed so comfortable here we let him out. He disappeared for almost 3 days and we were all heartbroken. Fortunately he came back and while he does like to wander he's rarely gone more than 24 hours. He's a great mouser and keeps the house free of rodents. I will definitely get barn cats when we finally have a barn. You should adopt one, Jenna. Paying $20 for a kitten is crazy, but I'm saying that with a smile on my face and love in my heart...But I do think she'll come back, especially if you put out food.

July 28, 2010 at 9:59 PM  
Blogger Duck said...

No offense here, but couldn't you have simply scanned a freetrader or something and picked up a kitten for free? One with a better personality? Not that her costing nothing would make this situation any better though.

My fat, declawed-on-the-front-feet stray sticks around the house when we let her out - she comes back when she's hungry enough. The other cat jumps the fence and attempts to give the ducks heart attacks, but he comes in for attention and a good meal. If your cat knows what's good for her she'll find the food you left for her and hang around your place.

Just make sure to brush her good once in a while (briars and brambles can do a number left in longer fur!) and catch her and get her all vaccinated up and spayed before another cat comes around and you find a shed-full of mini Junes. Cats are... Very good at multiplying. ;)

Anyhow, I'm sure I'm rambling, hehe. I hope your kitty comes back home, stays home, warms up to you, and grows up to be an EXCEPTIONAL mouser!

July 28, 2010 at 10:28 PM  
Blogger djp said...

I'm happy to hear that June is lurking about... I know how it feels to have a cat run away, mine did two weeks ago.
Maybe the people you bought June from can give you some of her old, soiled kitty litter? Scatter it around the barn, it should lure her in, make her feel at home. It's what my local SPCA advised to get my cat to find his way home. It worked for me, might for June.

July 28, 2010 at 11:02 PM  
Blogger LadyA said...

I think it's perfectly lovely that you bought a kitty for $20. Not everything has to be free. Not everything has to be cheap, or even handmade ;)

Some things were just meant to cost $20. And June Carter is one of them.

And she'll always be a part of CAF even if you don't get to bring her in or even see her again.. she's part of the history, part of your story. You'll just have to write a song about her to fiddle around the fire.. a true bluegrass ballad about a kitty you once knew.. :)

July 28, 2010 at 11:37 PM  
Blogger me said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 29, 2010 at 12:36 AM  
Blogger me said...

Just clicked up the comments to say that I was sorry to hear the sad tale of June Carter--and then saw your 8:15 update; that's good news! I hope that the tale has a happy ending. :-)

And enjoy your riding lessons! :-)

July 29, 2010 at 12:36 AM  
OpenID sissyjane said...

Maybe it would have been better to make a plan and have everything ready first? ...including getting the kitten into secure surroundings?

July 29, 2010 at 12:39 AM  
Blogger Anton said...

I'm sorry to hear about the kitten escape. I worked in an animal hospital for many years and heard this tale more than once. We always insisted cat owners traveled with their cats in carriers. Sure the cats didn't like it, but they got to where they were going in one piece. If June doesn't return, be sure to pick up your next cat with a carrier or box in hand and only open it once you're in a secured room. If she does return, get a carrier anyway for times you have to transport her somewhere. Best of luck!

July 29, 2010 at 12:46 AM  
OpenID canttalkdyeing said...

Maybe it's not true in the States, but around here it costs $150 to adopt a kitten from a shelter. Twenty bucks sounds like a good deal to me :) Sure, you might have gotten one free if you looked around, but compared to the cost of spay/neutering, shots, and food, twenty for an impulse cat purchase is nothing.

If she didn't take off to start, she'll probably stick around. I hope the trap works!

July 29, 2010 at 12:55 AM  
Blogger Katie said...

Haters gonna hate - shit happens and sometimes even when we're the most prepared. Creatures of all kinds are very resilient and if she doesn't come back to CAF, she'll figure it out somehow. In the mean time, try not to lose sleep over it or beat yourself up. Hugs!

July 29, 2010 at 2:35 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

I'm glad you saw her. When you're able to catch her, hold her every day as long as you can each time. No matter how much she hisses, flattens her ears and those pretty eyes turn the size of saucers, she'll start to tolerate you and then trust you. Once she accepts you look out for dinners compliments of June Carter. I rescued a kitty a few months ago her name is CoCo. She brings us dinner. In the past week I've had live lizards, frogs, and snake looking salamanders. Your farm is being scoped out tonight by the little lady checking out her new digs. Congrats!

July 29, 2010 at 4:41 AM  
Blogger JEANNETTE said...

Oh boy. Cats are territorial, and she is not in "her" territory, so it is highly doubtful that she will enter your home - especially since you have dogs.

You're going to need to get a humane trap set up a.s.a.p.- today! - and rig it up with food to try to lure her in. Call your local animal shelter to see if you can borrow/rent one. You need to be patient - this is probably going to take a long time. The important thing for now is to keep food out -she won't leave a food source. But she will go feral quickly, so TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE. I wish you luck - espcially for the kitty's sake. She should not have been let out of a carrying case until she was in a closed room, and then would have needed weeks to settle in before being let outside. :-(

July 29, 2010 at 5:50 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

sissyjane: that was the plan. she escaped outside before i could get her into the nest i was making for her.

anton: she was in a carrier, it was when i took her out she got free

July 29, 2010 at 5:52 AM  
Blogger Justine said...

I cant help it I have to put my two cents in here. It is better to adopt from a shelter... if you are thinking of adopting an animal but it sounds like Jenna didnt contribute to any breeding programs or puppy mills... she just bought a barn cat one that needed a home just like any other animal in a shelter... I am the biggest supporter of shelters out there but I just wanted to point out that sometimes if you buy a cat that needs a home for $20 bucks you are still saving a life... and its sounds like the cat will be fine she is chasing chickens and getting to know CAF... just my thoughts...

July 29, 2010 at 7:15 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

I don't mean to be a downer, but the idea of selling - or buying - a barn cat seems a little oxymoronic to me. Barn cats are not like housepets. Their sense of place is not tied to a person or a home environment. It's tied to a barn - a specific barn. Even a new housepet cat, one bonded to people, that took off into the wild blue yonder before ever setting foot in the new home, I wouldn't count on seeing again. Yours obviously hadn't bonded to people. I hope the trap works.

If it doesn't and you still want a barn cat, check with a farmer that's pulling up stakes. MOFGA or Rural Vermont might have leads. Also, some no-kill animal shelters have barn cats available. You'll probably be able to get one free. Then keep the cat confined and fed in that barn for a good week. I recommend a carrier for safe transport. And for the record my farming friend has a husky in his prime and numerous cats - both barn cats and indoor-outdoor housepet cats.

July 29, 2010 at 7:35 AM  
Blogger Miss Darla said...

To everyone who says "You Should Have..."

Hindsight is 20/20 eh? I'm sure she's said many of these things to herself already. Why not say something reassuring instead?

I'm sure Jenna already feels bad about what happened. Surely people don't need to make her feel worse.

July 29, 2010 at 8:41 AM  
Blogger chesapeake said...

I agree with Miss Darla.

I know absolutely nothing about cats, but I commend you for posting the good with the bad on your blog. It takes a strong woman to go public with life events that are less than perfect. Your honesty is refreshing. I think you are one of the bravest people I "know" for jumping into this endeavor and then writing all about it for the world to see and enjoy. I hope June Carter sticks around for you. I like her name. Best of luck, Jenna. You're awesome.

July 29, 2010 at 9:12 AM  
Blogger Lorri said...

June is a barn cat - they're different than house cats. If her mom is a good mouser, especially, I can see paying $20 without a problem - she'd have already started teaching her kittens how to hunt.

Gram had lots of barn cats when I was a kid. Only one of them let you within 20 feet of him, so I don't consider her behavior unusual.

July 29, 2010 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger Harpy 101 said...

The courage to be honest is so rare in our world! People who take refuge in righteousness have not learned to forgo judging others. To them, mistakes are crimes.

That's why your bravery is so precious-you stand up in the face of this rampant judgementalism and admit mistakes. Mistakes are not crimes. Cats get away. Stuff happens.

Jenna, you rock. Best of luck with June Carter. You have the magic touch with critters.

July 29, 2010 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

people, its not about the cost of the cat, its about the message. was this cat altered when "sold" for $20.00? doubt it. there are hundreds of thousands of cats killed here in the US due to overpopulation and there are experienced ferals/barn cats being given away at an alarming rate...cats that are free AND altered and UTD on shots ready and willing to mouse a barn.

purchasing this $20 cat is doing for cats what purchasing a $2 BigMac is doing for cattle. how can one believe in humane treatment of animals and a sustainable way of life when they turn around and contribute to the irresponsible breeding of cats. if this was an oops or barn litter the responsible thing would be to alter before it is placed.

Jenna, i beg of you, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE alter this kitten once caught. it can be done now. i'm not sure if you can afford this as it seems you are already seeking funds for the building of a barn on your farm and are still trying to fence in a field for your goat...but if you are not financially able to alter this kitten or provide for it medically please let me know and i will contact low cost spay and neuter clinics in your areas and pay for it myself.

good luck finding this kitten, an intact female stray will contribute to thousands more unwanted feral kittens in her lifetime and lord knows our rescues and shelters don't need the extra burden.

July 29, 2010 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

good grief

July 29, 2010 at 10:10 AM  
Blogger Misha said...

I was driving one day when a small ball of fluff got hit by a car in front of us and then bolted off towards the ditch. It turned out to be a very young kitten. We paid for his vet care and took him home, but he was feral; probably outside from birth. NOT the cat you wanted inside. He was literally climbing the curtains, shredding furniture and tormenting the english mastiff we had at the time. 175 pounds vs 3 pounds. It was hilarious, but not fair to the dog...or the kitten to be cooped up inside. We had to find him a farm home.

June Carter will be a fine barn cat for you. Once she's bigger then the mice :)

July 29, 2010 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger hlbrack said...

I could give a rats ass what you paid for the kitten, Jenna! I'm not sure why so many people are hung up on the price point of little June. Seems silly to me. These people asked $20 for her and you paid it. End of story. I truly hope June Carter finds her way back to you, and that CAF becomes her home! She doesn't know how lucky she is! I don't know much about catching cats, but I do know that the cats I've had in the past go absolutely bonkers for Tuna fish. Maybe give it a try? Best of luck!

July 29, 2010 at 10:59 AM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

doesn't know how lucky she is? an 8 week old kitten away from her litter mates for the first time and now lost in a rain storm on a property with known predators with no means of protecting herself?

she'll be lucky if she gets caught and spends a lifetime eating up rats and mice...but right now she's walking on thin ice.

July 29, 2010 at 11:07 AM  
Blogger E said...

Kudos to you for your honesty on the blog and for letting the comments run wild.

Lessons for all to be learned!
May we learn and then move on.

PS good luck with June.

July 29, 2010 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger hlbrack said...

@Meredith: I believe you misunderstood my statement. I meant that June Carter is "lucky" to have the chance to call CAF her home. She's not lucky to be in her current predicament, obviously. Hopefully she'll make her way back safely.

July 29, 2010 at 12:18 PM  
Blogger mikesgirl said...

I am truly amazed by some of these posts.
You got a cat for your barn, it escaped, if it's still hanging around it'll catch mice.
If it doesn't come back you'll have to get another barn cat.
No need for hysteria people!

Good luck Jenna - I really admire you for taking on a farm on your own!

July 29, 2010 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger Conviently Crazy said...

Hi Jenna! Good Luck catching your kitten. I'm sure she'll be fine. Cats and kittens are very good at getting themselves out of scrapes. Since you have no dirth of advice I won't offer any. Since she's around I'm sure you'll catch her soon. :) I wish you plenty of luck on the cat trapping and if you ever need any advice on raising kittens don't hesitate to ask. (I've personally raised close to 40 rescues for adoption and volunteer at our local rescue.) Happy Hunting. ;)

Danielle

July 29, 2010 at 12:46 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I considered not posting about this at all, because it was clearly a dumb accident and my fault the kitten ran away. I looked like a moron, impulsive, and apparently an idiot for spending 20 bucks....But I share these stupid blunders because, honestly, i feel guilty if i don't.

You guys are taking part in watching a girl try to start a farm. I write about a lot of good things, idylic things...but also about the rough things.

Good and bad things happen here. I make a lot of mistakes. Animals die. Animals are trapped and shot. Animals get sick. Animals are eaten. This is a farm, and not a habitat, eco-project, naturalist escape or a petting zoo.

My opinions are becoming more grounded and practical everyday. I feel differently about animals now then I did in Idaho. I still feel animals are to be treated with respect, raised on grass, and cared for: but they are property and food too. If a ewew broke her leg falling off a ledge I would not call the vet: I'd call the butcher.

I recently posted on a UK newspaper about making jam and people railed at me. over jam! I guess it's part of making yourself and life public like this, or part of it anyway.

What I'm saying is, I posted about the cat because it happened. You are free to comment and suggest whatever you want. I just ask you refrain from too much judgement. I'm just a person. Five years ago I was a web designer in a city with no clue what a pullet even was and now I'm writing books about raising chickens... life happens fast.

Afterall, this isn't a how-to guide, or expert's webpage, or even a suggestion: it's my life. I share it because I think others have like minds and goals and maybe something I do or say can help them or insprire them, or show them it's not impossible.

I'm just a girl.

July 29, 2010 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger Mimi said...

Poor Jenna, I know you're worried and disappointed. Good that she was spotted nearby, the havahart should work. As for the spaying--that is a good idea. We lived on a farm and people were always dropping cats and kittens and we tried to get the females spayed but it's an expense. We found a vet who was sympathetic and gave us a discount. But, it's hard to keep ahead of. It's almost a losing battle because half the time, people dropped off pregnant cats. We always fed the barn kitties no matter what, though. And, tried to place the kittens with nice families. Anyway, good luck. I'm hoping for you to have good results.

July 29, 2010 at 1:05 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

sorry for the outburst.

July 29, 2010 at 1:24 PM  
Blogger Conviently Crazy said...

:) I love that you share this stuff with us and I hope you won't stop Jenna. You are awesome and I think you are very brave!!! I hope I can be just as brave when we decide to finally get our own farm. Don't let it get you down. :) Good luck, lady.

July 29, 2010 at 1:29 PM  
Blogger The MO Farmers Daughter said...

I don,t understand all of the comments at all,People are just going wild over this,it is no big deal.Just put out food.I was suprised about the cost,usually if you have to pay its because the animal has allready been spayed or neutered and the price of the animal pays the vet bill.I would get Johnny Cash and get him fixed,and some wet food.Let us know.Don,t get too stressed.Good luck with the film.Have a great day.Carol

July 29, 2010 at 1:42 PM  
Blogger SouthernHeart said...

You're entitled to an outburst, Jenna. I live on a tree farm and have, for now, ten hens. The rooster was shot by my macho logger tree farmer after he attacked him for the third time. That rooster was one mean bird.

Anyway, I had two farm cats named Biscuit and Triscuit. We bought them for about $10 each and gave them all their shots plus had them spayed. They lived on the farm here and were spoiled with great cat food, plus they caught their share of "game". They lived for two years before succumbing to feline leukemia (yes, they'd had their shots). We'd like to look for another pair of kittens one of these days. It was nice having them around the farm. They followed us when we took walks just like puppies would!

July 29, 2010 at 2:37 PM  
Blogger jules said...

When my DH caught a wild kitten one day, sneaking in the dog door to eat dog food, he put her in a dog crate with food, water, and a litter pan. He put her in the kitchen (I know you cannot do this) and every day, while he spent time in the kitchen, he'd put new food, water and clean the box, and he'd talk to her. He didn't try to pet her or anything. She was wild, staring at him from the corner. After a while, she started peeking at him and getting closer to the door, then meowing at him. It took some time, but finally she warmed up to him and he could let her out of the kennel. Just an idea when (notice I say WHEN) you catch her and put her in the mud room. I thought if you just let her loose in there, she'd hide and then you couldn't establish some rapport. Good luck! I love love love her name!

July 29, 2010 at 3:33 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

AW! I read the post and then read the comments. Just wanted to say "You are fine! Don't fret the small stuff." You are learning and what I love most about your "voice" is the honesty that rings through even in the written word. Kitty will be fine and I say "CHEERS" to many more mousers and to your many more years of being "just a girl on a farm".

Kinda curious about what all the uproar was about on the jam topic. Love me some good jam.

July 29, 2010 at 3:52 PM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

don't sell yourself short.

you are a homeowner and farmer and soley responsible for the many living creatures on your property. they live or die because of your actions, as your farm will succeed or fail because of your decisions...you aren't "just a girl".

July 29, 2010 at 4:28 PM  
Blogger goatgirl said...

Same thing happened to me only with a full grown cat. I didn't see him for two weeks and then one night he came back.
Silly judgmental people. I think it is important to report the good and the bad of farming. I love your humaness.

July 29, 2010 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 29, 2010 at 5:28 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

Any news on June Carter? Have you seen her today.

When we moved to our current location, Cleo our little calico, disappeared for about 3 days. Cleo at that time was about 5. I figured she was a gonner. We have alot of eagles, hawks,coyotes and wolves. But we were out checking fences one evening, about a mile from the house, and there she was! Now when she goes mousing, she always comes home. No worries.
And Jenna, please do not take to heart of what others may say. People have a tendency to judge.

I could curl your hair with some of the stories about when we first were on the land 20 years ago, and stories even from last summer. It is all a learning curve, no matter how long you have been at it.

You really inspire me to try new things. Instead of thinking about them, I am actually doing them. Thank you for being brave enough to share your live with all of us.

July 29, 2010 at 5:28 PM  
Blogger sheepkelpie said...

I only offer this advice- when doing something new and untried, ask for advice from people who have been there, and done that- it will save you, and the animals a whole lot of grief.

July 29, 2010 at 5:56 PM  
OpenID lyadann said...

Oh, poor kitten! Sounds from your update like she'll do ok though.

Couple of practical details, if she turns up and you can get close enough - you do want to get her spayed as soon as she's old enough, it's cheapest to spay a female before she's gone into heat and most expensive if she turns up pregnant; keep her collared (with her rabies tag, vet contact, and your contact) or get her chipped; use one of the 'goo on the back of her neck' flea treatments (monthly) and dewormer (~6 months).

If there's a next time, you might want to consider getting a pair of cats vs an individual, especially if they're very young. Cats are quite social and even feral cats tend to live in "colonies". They do much better when they have company.

Good luck!

July 29, 2010 at 7:34 PM  
Blogger Lori Johnson said...

I love the name you picked. keep us posted.

July 29, 2010 at 10:53 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...

Boy Jenna, you are creating an uproar worldwide. Who knew jam and kittens were such controversial topics.

Please give us an update on June Carter if she makes another appearance.

Cats have been part of my life for over 50 years, and they have all but one, been strays. If you have one cat, more will come. Right now I have 3 cats, and a stray that hangs out in the yard.

I have never trapped a cat. My method is to leave out smelly food in the same place every day. Eventually the cat will hang out close to the area where the food is located. I talk to them every day making eye contact, when I put out the food. Eventually they will eat when I sit in the area. When they are not running from me, I start moving the bowl closer to the door, a few feet every few days. After about a month, I can get them in the door.

If you can't catch June Carter, but she is still hanging around, you may want to try this method.

July 29, 2010 at 11:17 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

UPDATE: June Carter is alive and well, she hangs out around the barn and has been eating catfood and drinking milk I leave out for her. She's made it two nights now and seems to think this is home. fingers are crossed. so far she hasn't fallen for the traps...

Last night a giatn gray cat with long hair was sitting in the pasture under the apple tree. Sitting like a statue on the hill watching the farm. I don't know if it's a neighbor's cat, a local stray, or just a fan of kittens and food left out.... but wow, tell the world you want a cat and cats come!

July 30, 2010 at 6:02 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

You're right Jenna, ask the world for a cat and you will get one. When we bought the farm, a feral barn cat came with it. I fed it every day, but I could never get close enough even to tell if it was male or female. One day it simply stopped showing up. Then the mice came back. I said out loud, "I need another barn cat." About a month later, this tiny orange kitten showed up behind the barn; another feral. It took me two months of feeding every day, and just waiting for the right moment to reach out, but now Sully is as friendly as can be. He's been neutered and vaccinated, and is my companion as I do the chores. He sleeps with the sheep and keeps the mice away from the feed. Barn cats are worth their weight in gold.

July 30, 2010 at 7:24 AM  
Blogger fawny said...

Sorry about your cat but I wanted to tell you that we named our dog Johnny Cash (we call him Cash). Funny that you named yours June Carter.

July 30, 2010 at 9:00 AM  
Blogger ecogrrl said...

Glad to hear she's sticking around! Just a thought: I would definitely get her spayed when you trap her, just because it'll save you and her some grief (nothing like a yowling tomcat and litters upon litters of kittens...) Female cats can go into heat well before they're a year old.

Hooray, June!

July 30, 2010 at 11:14 AM  
Blogger girlandcat5 said...

Jenna,
I am so glad that June seems to be sticking around the farm : ) Despite the negative response of a few, please believe that the majority of us love hearing about CAF, and that includes the not so great aspects. You made a mistake, you are human. Once June is able to be caught, you will have her spayed end of drama. As for the people having a fit about spending $20 on a cat, big deal. I have had cats all of my life some free, some adopted (ASPCA charges $40 for kittens here), and Little PunkRock Girl I bought for $80 at a pet store when I was in high school and she has been my best friend for almost fifteen years. I realize that there are too many unwanted cats but June was already here and also needed a home. You guys will be fine, and if for whatever reason things don't work out the way you hoped, you will have learned a lesson for the next time. Thank You for sharing CAF will us. -Heather

July 30, 2010 at 12:54 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

Jenna, just a gentle FYI...

It's not advisable to give cow milk to cats as they're typically lactose intolerant, and the milk just makes them sick because they can't digest it. I'm not sure how they do with milk from other critters [goat, etc.]. There's special cat milk that's safe to give them. You didn't specify WHAT type of milk you were giving June, but I thought I'd point this out. She's so young that a bad bout of diarrhea might be very harmful for her.

As for paying $20...I have no issues with that, and I actually commend the person selling the kittens for charging for them. Many times, animal abusers will scoop up free kittens because they don't have to pay for them. Charging SOMETHING usually steers any potential abusers away and only attracts people who actually want a pet.

July 30, 2010 at 1:46 PM  
Blogger jill said...

Hi Jenna, I'm another Jill. I'm a vet tech, and honestly, I think you probably got a healthier kitten by paying $20 for your barn cat than if you'd gotten one from a shelter. Shelters perform a wonderful service, but many kittens that come out of them wind up with upper respiratory infections or worse. Since June Carter insists on doing things her on her own, she may weather the outdoors better than a shelter kitten. And I agree with the other Jill, cow's milk may cause diarrhea and fluid loss can be dangerous for such a little thing. If you don't use kitten replacement milk, then kitten food and water would be just fine. If she's old enough to leave her mom then she's okay without milk at all. And by the way, we ALWAYS suggest that people charge a few bucks for any kittens or puppies they have, because that tends to weed out the folks that want bait for their fighting dogs. Sorry, gentlefolk, but that's the way it is.

And I'll be the first to tell you cats can move like greased lightning. When you started the story, I was pretty sure she was hiding away somewhere on the premises & was relieved to get your update! Keep us posted!

July 30, 2010 at 10:29 PM  
OpenID greenearthgoodies said...

Jenna, I appreciate you sharing your story...the good and the bad experiences give you the humility and honesty that keeps me coming back to your blog.

I have so much respect for you and your zest for farming; it's certainly not sunshine and cupcakes. Please keep telling us the good, the bad, the ugly...so that those of us who one day dream of homesteading aren't so abruptly halted by the realities.

Don't know why everyone is being so hard on you, what happened was clearly an accident and would've certainly happened to me, but this chick does not pass any judgment on you. I really, really admire you.

Please keep sharing all the stories. They are life.

Thank you and a big hug,
Jenn @ GEG

July 31, 2010 at 10:12 AM  
Blogger MistySeptember said...

Glad June Carter is sticking around so far. Cats are tricky little things and that kitten was obviously not socialized. You live you learn.

I'd like to weigh in on the spay neuter thing as well. Which I am sure you are tired of hearing, but maybe someone else may benefit from seeing so many people talk about. We live on a dairy farm and people drop cats off all the time, sometimes literally throwing them out car windows. We had one skittish calico move to my porch instead of the barn. Before we could really catch her we had 4 litters of kittens (that is somewhere around 20 cats). Some we could catch some we could not, we found homes for as many as we could. I've spent hundreds of dollars in the last two years spaying and neutering kittens and finally the mom who is now friendlier. There are discount spay and neuter clinics but NONE where I live. I didn't ask for these cats, I didn't bring them to my home and I certainly can't afford to get them fixed, but I do. I let them in and out of the house, but I also have two strictly indoor cats, a dog and two small kids so all the cats are up to date on shots b/c I don't need stuff spreading.

Cats here are a dime a dozen and you can't even give them away. I know at least 5 people right now trying to get rid of kittens.

But a well fed barn cat (I can't stand when people around here tell me not to feed the barn cats so much so they hunt more) with a warm bale of hay to curl in at night will serve you well. Hopefully soon June Carter will be leaving you headless presents like my cats do :)

July 31, 2010 at 1:29 PM  
Blogger Allisone said...

WOW
Really? People are mighty up in your face about the kitten. That stinks, and I am sorry you have to endure it just because you choose to share your stories with us.

August 2, 2010 at 9:25 AM  

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