Hunter, the barn cat! Hunter is the farm's very first barn kitty. He is about 5 years old and is convinced he is a goat! He drinks from their trough, sleeps in their hay feeder, steals the newborn kid's heating barrels, drinks the goat's milk... he has quite the life!!!
We found Hunter as a "free kitten" on Craigslist, went to see him and absolutely fell in love. He was just an itty bitty 8 week old kitten who was born under his owner's front porch. We brought him home, set up an old dog crate in the barn with a litter box, food, water and his very own kitten bed. We tucked him in for his first night in the barn and when we came back out in the morning, he was GONE!!!
Now, I cried like a fat kid who dropped her ice cream cone after taking the first lick! Ugly CRY! After a "momentary" freak-out, I collected myself, wiped the mascara stained tears off my cheeks and tried to listen for him. Sure enough, I heard him! He had fallen between the plywood and metal siding of the barn and was meowing for help. We patched up the small hole he squeezed through at the top of the crate and he settled right in for his barn-cat-in-training days.
Hunter has always had the biggest heart in the barn and LOVES his scritches. Every morning, he greets me by doing his signature move... the stop-drop and roll. Works like a charm as he gets his belly rubbed before we're allowed to do anything else.
It's a wonder how he got to be such a good hunter as I can hear him purring from a mile away!!
One morning, everything changed! When he was about a year or two old, I came out to the barn to a less than chipper Hunter. He looked terrible and wasn't his usual happy camper. I was planning on bringing him to the vet but, luckily, our livestock vet was coming out that morning for routine vaccines and health certificates for fair season and happened to have a small-animal vet student following her that day.
He did a short exam in the barn and determined Hunter's bladder was extremely full and likely had a blockage. I finished up our appointment before running Hunter to our small-animal vet hospital. Sure enough, he was diagnosed with crystals in his bladder that were blocking urine from being able to pass through his urethra. A week in the hospital and 4 figures later, my "free" kitten is not so free anymore.
Having spent so much money on him, we tried to convert him to a house kitty to no avail. That lasted for about 2 hours. He quickly taught us that he doesn't wish to learn how to use the litter box and our inside kitty, Charlie, wasn't looking for a roommate.
So, back outside he went. Hunter enjoys making his rounds throughout the day. He loves torturing the house cat by coming up to the sliding door and rolling around on the deck just to show off his vast freedom. He gets a ton of satisfaction at ruffling Charlie's feathers. This technique has also recently worked on the house puppy.
Hunter's most talented skill would probably be his ability to find the perfect spot for a nap. I'm actually quite jealous of the life he has. In my next life, I want to be Hunter <3