I acquired 2 freshly weaned kittens today for the sole purpose of raising some barn cats. Which is an odd choice of title to me since we don't have a barn. But we have small outbuildings. And those buildings have mice visiting. So I need cats and the only way to get people to understand you want mousing cats around here is to call them barn cats. So here I am... with future mousers. I've already started building up their little cat egos, whispering to them what mighty hunters they will be. --You know, I should probably record that and sell the dvd's to yuppy cat owners who could playback the kitten affirming self-help to their little darlings on their way home from kitty daycare.-- Or not.
Maybe I should just concentrate on keeping these itty bitty kitties alive. Did I mention they are tiny? I want them to grow up accustomed to our poultry so I started out putting them in the brooder cage in the chicken coop. Chickens could get used to kittens, kittens could get used to chickens, and guineas would learn that kittens aren't food. Good plan, right? Wrong.
That lasted for about 3 hours. I was going in to check on them about every half hour and as dark started settling in, I realized the chickens were not going in to roost. They were all hovering outside the door, afraid of the little fur balls in the cage. So I went in the coop and stood until a couple had worked up the courage to venture onto the roost- good to go I thought. But when I returned a little later, the kittens were not in the cage. Yikes! The little cuties had found the gap at the top of the cage door and flew the coop. Well sorta. I finally found them cowered down behind the feed barrels and re-homed them for the night in the dog kennel we use to quarantine new livestock. They have a nice doghouse with straw and plenty of cool water. And I am not going to worry about them anymore until the break of morning... when I will be trying to figure out a new way to integrate my birds and my kittens into peaceful coexistence.