Once upon a time (Feb 2014) there was a young male cat that would streak from the loft of our hay barn into the woods. My dogs being dogs would give chase and cats being cats, the dogs would never come close to catching up with him. Feburary in Kansas is brutally cold and after watching the replay of this scenario several times, I decided to leave food in the hay barn and a bit of carpet atop the bales of hay.
Lo and behold, the food would disappear and from time to time I would catch a glimpse of young white and gray cat amongst the bales and we settled into a routine of exchanging, “meows,” when I would bring in the food offerings.
Within 2 weeks, he was coming up to greet me, always careful to stay well above the dogs. Although he remained skittish and suspicious of the dogs, his hunger overcame his fear. I started to call him. “Romeo,” for the litany of serenades he would call from atop the hay bales.
Well, Romeo survived the winter and as the hay bales inventory grew smaller and closer to the barn floor he became emboldened, exploring and expanding his territory. From time to time, I would find him sleeping on the hay stashed in the aisle of the horse barn always calling from atop his perch but still skittish when picked up or confined in anyway. He became extremely affectionate, seeming to crave a good scratch behind the ears and even made friends with the dogs.
It seemed that Romeo had decided to adopt us and despite the objections the older cats, (both strays) he became a regular fixture around the barn aisle.
A young, un-neutered male cat is want to stray. So, I made arrangements to have our young swain neutered at the local clinic. HOPE Inc. http://kansashopeinc.com/ is a local organization that is dedicated to the overpopulation of local strays by offering spaying and neutering at low cost. It is sponsored by my dear friends Don and Sherry Brown at Kansas Country Store http://www.kansascountry.com/ my local feed dealer. They do great work for the community so if you are in the giving mood, dig deep, it’s a great cause!
Naturally, the week before his scheduled appointment, Romeo disappeared. I called around to all the neighbors and checked all the buildings, looking high and low in the ditches along the roadside. No Romeo!
Almost a month went by and I had given up hope of ever seeing our young lothario again. Until, one day I went to feed the chickens and heard a litany of meows and squawks.
Romeo was back and this time, he had taken up residence atop the chicken coop much to the chagrin of the flock.
Another appointment was swiftly scheduled and surgery and vaccinations complete. Romeo is an official barn cat!
From feral stray to enjoying the perks of civilization, Romeo is a testament to the joy of adopting a stray. If you have room in your heart this holiday season, consider adopting a stray cat or dog. It does your heart good!
According to dosomething.org, estimates of up to 70 million stray cats are in the U.S. along. Only 10 % of stray cats received into shelters around the U.S. are spayed or neutered.