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.
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.
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.
After 20 years of marriage I found myself on my own. This is the first time in my life I didn’t have a critter. Pets weren’t permitted in the townhouse I was renting and I really missed my cats I had to leave behind.
Furball showed up just when I needed him most. The grey and white cat that kept showing up at my back door every evening when I got home from work. He’d howl to get in and I told him to go away – I couldn’t have pets. Keeping the slider closed and closing the curtains didn’t discourage him. He’d be there every day, asking to come in. I couldn’t take it anymore. I opened the door to go out to introduce myself and he bolted in. Now I had a large, strange cat in my kitchen looking for food. I dig around in the refrigerator for leftovers to give him. I gave him some water. I sat on the floor as he ate his fill. When he was finished he came over, rubbed against my leg and played on the floor like he owned the place. We visited for awhile. He was a very nice cat. He had to belong to someone, but he was very thin like he’d been a stray for quite some time. He went to the door and meowed. I opened the door and he left. The following day on my way home from work I stopped and bought some cat food and bowls in case he came back. He was there when I got home. I opened the slider and he ran in like he belonged there. I filled his bowls and gave them a home in the kitchen. He ate, visited and left. And so our relationship began.