Wednesday, December 04, 2013
It seems we have a squatter. The Frenchman and I noticed, about the same time this week, that a stray cat has taken shelter in one of our outbuildings. With big gaping holes in the roof for snow to fall through and no door, it's not the greatest place, but I guess it's better than anything else it's been able to find.
After I'd seen it's little footy prints in the snow and glimpsed it coming and going for a couple of days, I accepted the likelihood that it's here to stay, for the winter at least. It's pretty illusive, so we don't know if it's a girl or a boy cat, but The Frenchman has already named him Barney. It's possible that the cat (pictured above) that I saw loitering in our field this past summer is the same fellow.
It's been cold out and is expected to get a lot colder so, at The Frenchman's suggestion, I created a quick and dirty shelter for it. I nestled a small box inside a larger one and packed pink insulation in the gaps. After I taped the edges down, I put an old, clean towel on the floor of the inner box for it to curl up on.
When I took my masterpiece outside, I discovered where Barney has been sleeping. There's an old cabinet stored in the shed that's missing a door. It's up off the floor and someone (the previous owners?) had placed an old quilt inside. Pretty cozy, really. The quilt, however is filthy. I left it alone, for the time being until I see which bed he chooses. I'll replace that foul old quilt with something clean, if it opts for its original nesting area, which its likely to do.
I also discovered that it has been defecating in the middle of the floor. Nasty. I cleaned that up and I'm hopeful he'll use the covered litter box I've placed there for it instead. It's welcome to stay, but it's going to have to develop some manners.
The last thing I did was leave a bit of kibble out for it. I don't want to attract mice, but a little food will help keep it warm. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to leave water out for it without having it freeze. I have to trust that it's been managing without our help, so far, so any little bit of kindness we show it will be a bonus.
I do have a concern that it will scrap with our Luna, but if it is the same cat I saw earlier in the year, then they'll have encountered each other before. Luna's keeping indoors for the most part, anyway, now that winter has arrived.
Willow tracks Barney's movements outside like a hound dog and barks wildly anytime she spots the cat, so he may decide not to stick around. We'll just have to wait and see what happens.