Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Barn Cat

I never write about our barn cat and she's a bit irritated about that.  After all, with the exception of Flash, we've had her the longest of any of our animals.

When we were in Southern California, and built Aspen Meadows, we almost immediately had a rodent problem in the barn.  We got a kitten which lasted two weeks before the dog got her (not Kersey of course), then two more who quickly succumbed to feline leukemia.  We swore off of rescue kittens at that point and set traps for the rats.  We were regularly catching big rats and some mice when we learned that our neighbor's feral cat had kittens.  We offered to take two, a brother and sister.  I named them after two dressage movements, Passage and Volte.  I wanted to name them Piaffe and Passage but the kids vetoed Piaffe (pronounced PEE-off).  So we named Passage's brother Volte (Volte-A) instead.  Passage (Puh-sahj) was a great hunter and kept the barn rodent free.  Volte caught a couple lizards but mostly he liked to purr in your lap or sleep.  After a few years he started leaving for days at a time, returning sleek, groomed and well-fed.  One day he didn't return at all and we assume he moved on to the cushy life of being someone's house cat.  Passage didn't care, she was aloof, skittish and independent.   She was happy in the barn and didn't appear to miss her brother one bit.  She ran off every other cat that ventured onto the property.

We brought her with us to Oak Creek Ranch.  Initially, we kept her in the feed room in the barn where she had her den (cat carrier) and summer bed (by the window).  After a few weeks, we let her explore the entire barn and eventually just go where she wanted.  We crossed our fingers that she would survive on our new ranch with its frequent visits by wildlife.

Passage is now 12 or 13.  She has become an extremely affectionate cat since the move, meowing for attention in the barn and following us around the property.  She doesn't curl up in your lap, purring, for hours but she happily weaves in-and-out of your legs, with an occasional jump up onto your lap for just a minute or two.

She continues to be an awesome huntress.  We never find rodents (except the dead "gifts" she leaves by the tack room door) in the barn.  She is particularly skilled at nabbing gophers and will spend hours watching a hole in the ground, before pouncing on the gopher foolish enough to stick his head out.  We've also seen her dragging off squirrels and rabbits -- which are bigger than she is and makes for quite a sight.


  1. Oh I love her. Hug B

  2. Glad Passage got her moment in the spotlight with today's post. It's impressive that at her advancing age she's still on top of her game with the mousing (and ratting, gophering, etc.). I can see that Brett doesn't need to build her a climbing gym because the fence posts suffice.

  3. She's beautiful and useful- what a great combination

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  5. She is a pretty girl. Seems like it's always the female cats that make the best hunters.

  6. She is just gorgeous. My female cats were always the better hunters.


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