It didn’t take Furball long to develop a new routine at our new home. As he got used to the area, he was spending more and more time outside. He’d lay around on the front porch or in the back yard. I put a dry food dispenser and water on the front porch, so he’d have it on the days he didn’t want to come in. It also didn’t take him long to bring his girlfriend home and show her where to find food. She was a tiny black and white feral cat we named Bandit. She’d take all of the food she could eat and hiss at the “providers” when we went outside.
Late in the spring I noticed Bandit and Furball on the porch with 2 additions. They brought their kittens home. A grey tiger and a black and white. They were as wild as their mother and weren’t going to be tamed. The family was there every day. The kittens would play, and everybody would hang out in the shade where it was cool. Furball was a good dad. He played with the kittens and made sure they didn’t wander close to the road.
Furball suddenly stopped coming home. He didn’t always come in the house, but I saw him every day. The kittens were weaned and came to the porch for food on their own. I saw them a few times a day, but no Furball or Bandit. I was going outside several times a day with a food container to shake. I’d call his name, whistle and no Furball. I searched the woods behind the house and couldn’t find him. I did the same routine for several weeks and still no Furball. I was beside myself, but there was nothing more I could do. I assumed we’d never see him again.
Jazzie was so miserable being kept inside all of the time I started letting her in the back yard when I was going to be out. The warm sun and grass made her happy. There were feral cats in the area, and I didn’t want her to tangle with them. She has no idea they could do her harm. Mocha, Jazzie and I spent lunch outside and we’d go out for a while after work. She was content spending time in the yard but longed to be playing in the woods and following Furball.
We were only in our new house a few months when we had carpet scheduled to be installed upstairs. Furball was out. Jazzie and Mocha were confined downstairs. It was noisy and the carpet layers were in and out the back door. Jazzie disappeared. I couldn’t find her anywhere. Greg came up to me and told me Jazzie got out somehow. Apparently, she saw the field across the street and made a run for it, unaware of road hazards. She was hit by a car and killed instantly. I was devastated. How could she have gotten out? I wanted to see her, but Greg didn’t let me. He buried her on the hill where she could look over the field and us. Our brilliant shooting star burned out all too quickly.
It wasn’t the farm, but it was ours. The yard was fenced so I didn’t have to worry about Mocha and there were woods at the back of the property for Furball to go off and do his cat things. He was a weary outside cat, so I didn’t have to worry about him getting near the road. Jazzy was too young and active to go out there so much to her dismay, she had to stay in.
Furball wasn’t happy about having to stay inside until he got used to his new home. I would have liked him to stay in longer, but he absolutely insisted he had to go out. I couldn’t stand the howling, pacing and scratching at the door any longer so I let him out the back door. He was cautious and happy to be out. He and Mocha hung out in the yard for a while. He jumped the fence and Mocha came in with me.
Now I had the other one to contend with. Jazzie couldn’t understand why Furball could go out and she couldn’t. She played with Mocha and “helped” me work during the day then bugged Furball at night when he came in. She wasn’t happy, but she dealt with her new-found situation.
Mocha seemed to have found a new friend. There was a yellow Lab that lived across the street. She’d go to the fence when she went out to look for her friend and they liked to bark at each other.
I guess between Greg’s guitars and Mocha’s barking, we were going to be the noisy neighbors …. Again.
The farm was owned by an older couple. They bought it when they were first married and work it all of their lives. When they retired from farming, they built a house up the street on a different part of the farm. The rented out the original house. The land was farmed by someone else. He was very nice, she was a witch. We didn’t know what she was like until after we moved in and the guys next door told us.
It was summer and our neighbors had picnics. They always had friends over. We put signs at the barn to try to keep people away. Apparently they couldn’t read. We constantly found people messing with our horses. We talked to our neighbors about it, but that didn’t work and better than the signs. Having the horses with us was getting to be a problem.
We were there about 7 or 8 months. The owner had been coming down more and more to do things. His visits were during the day when everybody was at work. This would have been fine, but he found reasons to knock on the door and talk. I had work to do and really couldn’t deal with the interruptions. The more he came down, the bitchier she got. Then she started knocking at the door to yell at me. To this day I have no idea what she was yelling about. It was getting to be too much. We could see where this was probably going and we decided to move the horses to a near by boarding stable.
The horses were moved to their new home. It was a relief not to have to worry about people being around them. The fence came down and was stored in the barn with the rest of our horse things. We were still paying the extra for the barn so there was no hurry to get our belongings out. One night we came home from dinner out. I don’t remember why we went to the barn. We found the doors screwed shut and a no trespassing sign on the door. We weren’t sure what was going on. We didn’t do anything wrong. Nobody said a word to us. The following day we removed everything from the barn.
It was time to start looking for a new place to live. Life was getting more and more uncomfortable and I wasn’t happy about being home alone all day. The cats were no longer allowed out and my trips outside with Mocha were limited until Greg got home from work. In the midst of all of this we lost electric one day. The neighbors didn’t have any either so I called to report it. They said they never received our payment so they shut it off. I told them I’d give them payment over the phone but they needed to turn it back on because we had no water. Try to explain to an electric company employee from the city what a well was and how a well pump worked. I also told them they shut our neighbor’s electric off too. Within a few hours someone from the electric company was knocking at the door. We’d have electric back! They came to investigate why the neighbors had no electric and why none of us had water. It turned out there was one meter for both houses. The boys had no idea because their electric was included in their rent. Greg and I had been paying for both sides of the house since we moved in. The electric company gave us a refund of everything we paid them since we’d been there and sent the owner a bill. The bill would stay in his name until he installed a separate meter. To add insult to injury, he got a hefty fine for not having separate electric for each unit.
This s**t really hit the fan after that. Fortunately we bought a house, gave our written notice and just had to wait for settlement and moving day. It couldn’t come soon enough! Koko and Wrangler moved to a boarding barn. Mocha, Furball and Jasmine, Greg and I moved to our new house.
Life at the farm was good. It was on a quiet back road so we didn’t have to worry about traffic. There was a covered front porch to lay on, a back deck to sun himself on, a huge yard to play in, fields and woods to hunt. He didn’t have to worry about getting into fights with other cats. I left the back door open so the cats could come and go as they pleased. From my office window I could watch them play in the yard. When it was time for serious hunting, Furball would give Jazzie a smack for following him and send her back home.
Furball turned into a “puppy cat”. He’d follow us all over the farm. If we went to the barn, he was there. Me yelling let’s go for a walk brought both cats running. Farm life suited him …. until the horses arrived. Along with the horses came new hazards. He just wasn’t sure about those huge things that smelled funny and insisted on sniffing him. If he wasn’t careful, they’d give him a little shove. Suddenly the area that used to be open had this fence around it. Now he had to duck under. And one day he wasn’t paying attention. As he walked under the electric fence, he put his tail up. The fence zapped his tail, he yelled and took off like a grey and white rocket. We didn’t see him for 3 days. When he finally came home, it took him awhile to go to the barn again. He was more careful about the fence.
Jazzie was growing like a weed, but certainly not settling down. The bigger she got, the more things she could get into. Climbing up the screen was easy if you used the window to push against. When a window was closed, she’d sit on the top frame of the bottom window. I still don’t know how she didn’t fall off!
It was time to be spayed. The surgery went well. We were to keep her quiet for at least a week. You’ve got to be kidding! That was going to be an impossible task unless she stayed in a crate for a week. She was still a little groggy when she got home. I opened the carrier door and she immediately jumped up on the (chest) freezer and smacked Furball. This was going to be a long week! We finally got the ok for her to resume her normal, hell raising activities.
Furball decided she was old enough to go hunting with him. Every morning I’d let them out and she followed him across the back yard to the hedgerow. My daytime company left me and if was certainly quiet! They’d pop in during the day for a snack and off they went again, showing up in time for dinner. After dinner they stayed around.
On nice evenings both of them would go for a walk with us. There was a small stream on the property that only had water after it rained. Jazzy was fascinated by the water. One evening we walked to the bottom of the property where there was a larger creek. The silly cat started playing in it. The next thing we knew she was on a rock in the middle. Whoever said cats don’t like water didn’t know her! On the way back to the house I lost sight of Jazzy. I found her swimming in a small pool in the stream.
Summer or winter, rain or snow Jazzy was out, enjoying all the things that life brought. The horses got used to her blasting thru the pasture and into the barn. At night she’d crash on somebody’s lap or curl up with Furball.
There was no more hiding the cat. Furball got permanent dishes, a litter box and toys. He was still an indoor/outdoor cat, but he was spending more and more time in. He’d sleep in the office while I was working. If he was in a night he’d sleep at my feet. It was nice to have the company.
Greg was afraid Furball would be discovered and I’d be kicked out. I kept telling him to relax. How would they find out? They never come around. And then the toilet broke. I had to call maintenance. This was going to be a problem. I could hide bowls, litter box and toys, but I couldn’t hide the cat. Some crazy in the area was catching cats and killing them. There was no way I was letting Furball out until they caught him. I greeted the maintenance man with “Hi, come on in. I have a cat and he’s not going out until they catch that loon that’s killing cats”. He said it was fine. Quite a few tenants had cats. That was a relief. Furball could stay and I wasn’t getting kicked out.
It was late October and Greg moved in. Furball wasn’t sure he liked that arrangement, but tolerated it. My office moved to the living room and the spare room became the guitar room. Furball claimed the sofa for his. When Greg had his surgery and was home for 6 weeks he spent days laying on Furball’s sofa, watching TV. This just wouldn’t do. Furball started going out during the day. Apparently the spoiled house cat didn’t like spending that much time outside anymore. The only way Furball was getting “his” sofa back was to curl up with Greg, so he did. To his surprise Greg was ok. He was getting pets and scratches that he usually didn’t get during the day since I was busy working. This became a daily routine and Greg became Furball’s buddy.
We stumbled across a farm for rent. It would be cheaper since we could have the horses with us and would have to pay board. It was half of a huge farmhouse, the downstairs of the barn and about 17 acres. We could fence as much as we wanted. Animals were welcome and I could get a dog if I wanted. It was closer to my Mom and Greg’s kids. It seemed like a very good move. I gave my notice and started packing to move. Furball was definitely ours and he was going with us.
Right before we moved I thought about getting a kitten for company for Furball. He was used to having outside cat friends. When Greg’s daughter was visiting for the weekend we went to a local shelter and let he pick out a kitten. Jasmine came home with us. We were a two cat family still living in a place where we weren’t supposed to have any cats. Furball immediately “adopted” Jasmine and they were buddies.
One morning I heard meowing and looked out the back door. There he was, asking to come in for breakfast. He ate, stayed for a bit and left. His after work visits continued, but leaving after he ate stopped. He started staying longer and longer, following me around as I’d do what needed to be done. He’d lie on the bed as I changed out of my work clothes, sit in the kitchen while I cooked dinner. He eventually meowed to go back out. If he was going to come every day, several times a day he needed a name. Anyone that knows me can tell you I’m very bad at naming pets. For lack of anything creative and because of what he was leaving all over the house, it became Furball.
My manager at work asked me several times if I wanted to work from home. After the third time I started to feel it was no longer a request so I said yes. It took Furball no time to figure out I wasn’t leaving anymore in the mornings. He’d come in for breakfast and stay almost all day. The complex had a no pet policy and it looks live I’ve been adopted.
In early fall of 2010 the feral cat that lived in the woods behind our house started bringing her 2 kittens to our front porch while ate the dry food that we always had out for Furball. When he passed away I left it there for the feral momma cat since she was used to it being there. They weren’t very old, but they were wild and unapproachable. I watched from the window as they played. Once in awhile when I was outside I could see them playing at the edge of the woods. One of us saw them every day for a month or so. They got used to seeing us. We could go in and out of the house, but couldn’t get near them. One day we went out. The kittens were playing on the porch, but no momma cat. That was strange. She usually wasn’t far. For several days we saw the kittens, but momma cat was no where to be found. I was sure they were too young to be weaned, but she dumped them on our porch and left. It was getting chilly so I made sure they had a box with a towel, food and water. They were getting friendlier, but I still couldn’t pet them. It was getting cold. The little grey and white kept trying to run in the house when we opened the door. Apparently she felt the heat from the house. The tiger and white scooted for my truck when I came home and climbed into the engine compartment. Winter was coming and they were too young to survive. They were cold and loosing weight. Greg said we should bring them inside and we could find homes for them when they were a bit older. It wasn’t an effort to catch them.
They were too tiny to be loose with Mouse and Dakota so we put them in a spare room with food, water, litter box and toys. I checked on them multiple times a day and it took no time for them to become very friendly. After what seemed like forever, they were finally big enough and comfortable in the house to introduce them to the other furry family members and let them have the run of the house. Mouse seemed to really enjoy cat company. Dakota was a bit rough so we had to keep any eye on him. They’d get turned around in the house and call. I’d say something and they’d come flying from another part of the house. I’ve been adopted as “momma cat”.
After Jasmine died I didn’t want another cat. My heart was broken and I really had no interest. Thanksgiving weekend in 2007 Greg convinced me to go to the shelter and just look. What I saw was a tiny, mouse grey kitten all alone in a cage. They took her out an handed her to me. She was brought in as a stray and they estimated her to be about 7 weeks old. Although a little timid and frightened, she seemed to be a nice kitten.
Furball was good with kittens and he seemed to like having company again. Watching her play she looked like a little field mouse. That little kitten turned out to be hell on four little paws. She was always beating on Furball until he smacked her hard enough to send her tumbling across the floor. She was put in her place and was much more mellow with him. We’d try to play with her and she’d viciously attack us with biting, clawing and growling. After only two days she’d worn out her welcome. If the shelter was still open the miserable kitten would have gone back that night. I don’t remember what Greg was doing, but it has nothing to do with Mouse. She ran over and tore into his arm. As as reaction he pulled back and smacked her (probably harder than he should have). She got up, shook her head and suddenly became a very nice kitten. Attacking people stopped. She got very cuddly and lovable. She’d sit in you lap and sleep. She was still hell on paws. We’d catch her sitting on top of the living room curtain rods and walking across clothes on hangers in the closet. Mouse was going to be an interesting kitten to have around.