"In 2017 My True Love Gave To Me...
Hers is a story of being misunderstood more than anything. Unable to "fit in" on a farm up the road, Gold Puff was relocated to our property about a week before we moved in. We noticed a pile of cat food by the shed upon our final walk through, but it wasn't until we spent our first weekend cleaning with the kids that they found her (or she found them) near the large lean-to structure up a hill from the house. We assumed she was the previous owner's cat. The truth is, barn cats don't really have "owners", they have a home. When the residents leave the home, the cats often stick around, and they figure it out. It wasn't until about a week or two after we moved in that we started shedding light on the truth. One day after school, the kids school bus pulled up to the driveway where Gold Puff was waiting to greet them. One of the boy's on the bus told them Gold Puff used to be his cat, and she used to be a boy, but now she's a girl. A bit confused, but even more curious, Kai asked me, "Is that true, mommy?", to which I replied, "No, Kai. No one would pay to have a sex change for a cat". I just assumed she looked something like a cat he had, but was still convinced this had always been her home. Only days later, the same boy and his family came down the road to visit. His dad confirmed that Gold Puff did, indeed, used to be their cat. Though he never had a sex change formally, his son was referring to him being neutered. Gold Puff is just about the sweetest, friendliest cat I have ever met. She loves people, loves being pet, and loves snuggling her head into your arm as far as possible while sitting on your lap. I couldn't believe this was the same cat when our new neighbor said he had to bring Gold Puff here or his wife was threatening to have him/her put down because he/she was so mean to the other male cats. When the family was visiting there was obvious animosity, especially when they kept referring to her as "him". The reality became very obvious to Chris and I...the other cats were bullying her for being transgender. She obviously was far happier identifying as a girl, which came easily to us because Chris is terrible at gendering cats, and after "checking" her the first day, told us she was a girl, so that's what we always called her. Needless to say, she's found a good home with us, accepted by humans and animals alike.
At our previous home there were no less than 20 barn cats, and our kids named every one of them after Star Wars characters (Anakin, Luke, Scared Yoda and Not-Scared Yoda, etc). On a nice summer evening you could walk out the door at dusk and it was like a kitty mob coming towards you. If you started to take a walk down the road, it was easy to start feeling like the Pied Piper when you'd look back and realize they were all following you. Sure, some might find this a little creepy, but we loved it. Just over a month into our new place, I was starting to feel very at home. The kids got through their last 3 weeks at a new school with flying colors, the garden was planted, bedrooms were painted, we were mostly unpacked, I felt like we were ROCKING it! I was a little dismayed when Kai said to me one day, "Mommy, this just doesn't feel like home". Taken slightly aback, I thought, what did we miss? So I asked, "What would make it feel more like home?". His reply, "More cats." Duh, I couldn't have agreed more. As if the universe was also in complete agreement, on our way to town that same day just a mile down the road and around a turn, our neighbors had placed a sign that
read "FREE KITTENS". A litter had been born to their barn cat just 12 weeks earlier and those little sweethearts were ready to leave the nest. Most of them were a little skittish, but not Chlowy (Ani's spelling of what is generally spelled Chloe). She (gender according to Chris...you see where this is going)was super friendly and we knew she was coming home with us. Little Gray (appropriately named by Kai) was not so easy to catch, and took a day or so to warm up to us once we did get him home. Ani was so excited to have a girl cat she could name Chlowy. When we took them to the vet and found out they were both boys, she decided "I don't care, I'm raising her as a girl". And so continues the saga of our LGBT farm animal rescue. Little Gray...all boy. He is super chill, a natural rodent hunter, and let's you hold him like a baby. Chlowy hasn't quite figured out she has control of her claws, is a bit of a trouble maker, but is a very sweet girl...boy...whatever. It took a little while for Gold Puff to warm up to the idea of these two, but after giving Chlowy a warning across her nose to put her in her place, they have become besties. They climb trees all over the forest, hunt in the corn fields, and nap together in their kitty coop. Chris was adamant about only getting 2 more cats when we picked up the kittens, but I have a feeling this won't be quite enough to feel like home for long.