We've had a mouse problem near the hay storage and composting area since last fall, so I'd been starting to think about getting a cat for the field. On Saturday, one of my friends tried to talk me into taking one of her kittens, but I really didn't think I was ready to get another cat (we have two that have been housepets their whole lives).
I guess it really was time to get a barn cat. I was at my friend's house (the same one tempting me with the kitten on Saturday), and she mentioned that a skinny calico had shown up and started begging for food. I'm a sucker for calicos/torties (my two pet cats are one of each), and I knew that I was doomed. She opened up the door, and there the cat was, crying. She's actually a tortie and white, not a calico. She was hungry enough to come take some food from me, and it was easy to catch her. It was NOT easy to hold on to her, however, and I got a couple of good scratches on my hand. It's been too long since I've had to handle a stray cat, and I've lost my touch. On the third try, I got her by the scruff and she couldn't scratch me anymore. I had to transport her home in a pillowcase since I hadn't come prepared with a carrier or other box (it was a Pampered Chef party! I didn't expect to bring an animal home from it).
She's not going to be a pet. I'm giving her a chance to live a life that's better than wandering without a home, but it will still be a more dangerous life than she would have as a housepet. On the other hand, it's probably the only chance she'll ever be given. My friend certainly didn't want to support another cat. I'll provide food and water, and as long as I can catch her I'll give her vaccinations.
Right now, she's in the brooder house (empty of poultry, of course) until I can settle her in at the farm. I need to make a few changes to the poultry set up first, so that they'll be safe from her. There's a pile of hay under a shade tarp thing that she can perch on to get out of the rain, at least until there's shelter that's more permanent. Of course it remains to be seen if she chooses to stick around our farm. She may decide that she'd rather move on and try her luck elsewhere.