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When one of our beloved farm cats, Hercules, inexplicably went blind and was unexpectedly retired, Jack casually mentioned that it was probably about time to get another kitten. Hercules’ sister, Snickers, is also showing her age, and Nova is already four. I never take his suggestion to get another cat lightly. He finds them incredibly presumptuous and annoying (I admit I think the same thing when they sneak inside and lick food off my plate or choose my pillow to sleep on) but they are extremely helpful in keeping the rodent population in check around the house, barn, and garden. In a word, they’re essential for our farm.

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Our resident cat whisperer.

That being said, I am not a fan of scary, mangy, one-eyed, unneutered tom cats who slink around in the dark corners of the barn and would just as soon bite a person as they would a rat. All our animals on the farm play a dual role of beloved pet and working animal. They’re regularly taken to the vet, treated when they’re sick, neutered/spayed (unless we want more of them…looking at you, Dolly and Daisy the cows), and they’re socialized so they’re pleasant when they’re picked up and pampered by the kids or visiting friends and relatives.

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During our most recent trip to Nebraska, we checked out a few kittens in the area and ended up picking a gorgeous white and gray tabby, who was a few months old. He’d passed the awkward, helpless tiny baby stage and was already showing he was an adventurous, healthy, and adept farm cat…he evaded a whole herd of little kids trying to catch him for about half an hour before he was finally caught.

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Life inside is so dull…

I have the hardest time naming animals. I’m not generally a fan of descriptive names like Fluffy or Tiger because I want it to really capture the personality of the animal and bring back some antiquated names that don’t quite fit the trend of children’s names. 😉 We’ve had a Magnus, Henrietta, Millicent, Aloysius, and Murphy. The new kitten? Mortimer. Apparently, we have a thing for ‘M’ names.

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It’s always fun to have a new kitten around. They’re so playful and mischevious and c-u-t-e. There was more than one argument every day that had to do with whose turn it was to hold the kitten. Or feed the kitten. Or dangle the yarn for the kitten to play with.

Maybe we should have gotten everyone their own kitten…🤔
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But, as it always does, it came time for Morty to go outside. He was starting to be a little too bold (seriously, at least try and sneak food, not jump on the table in the middle of a meal!), and was remembering how fun it was outside, and would constantly be slipping out the door. He took a trip to the vet for his first round of shots and deworming, and will go under the knife when he returns. Trust me, buddy. You’ll thank me. Eventually. Maybe. But I’m not having a tom around here.

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Claire comforted him when she got home and eventually, he forgave us for the torment of the vet’s office.
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Then, it was the great outdoors for him. We started him in the garage, where we have food and water for Snickers and Nova and a cat door for them to come and go. He met the older girls, neither of who were thoroughly disgusted by the kitten and hissed their disapproval but true to the nature of being a cat, he didn’t give one lick what anyone thought of him.
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He has been exploring everything in his new paradise, swatting at flies, proving he’s an adept climber, running after the kids when they go outside, and patroling the place like he owns it.

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Zoey’s being stalked by a tiger cub.

Of course, he hasn’t fully escaped all the love and attention the kids like to lavish upon their pets but hey, if they really hated it, they’d be able to outrun a toddler. Deep down, I think they like the occasional snuggle.

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Claire’s main chore on the farm is taking care of the cats, which is something she takes seriously. Before and after school and all weekend long, she’s probably got a cat on her lap or in the crook of her arms, or rubbing up against her ankles.

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Since he’s still basically a teenager, Mortimer still comes in at night to eat and drink and get practice using the litterbox (which he sometimes fails miserably…he apparently thought it was funny to go on top of the litterbox cover for the mere fact that he’s a cat and can do whatever he wants). But, when he’s neutered and full-grown, he’ll be a full-time outdoor cat, with a rather cozy setup in the heated garage. He really will have the best of both worlds.
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He prefers a big dog bowl of water to a dainty cat bowl.
Welcome to the farm, Mortimer! We’re excited to have you!
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Welcome to the farm!

True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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