In our gradual transmogrification into Ma and Pa Clampett, Nancy and I have acquired our very own barn cat.
Here's the concept: this a feral cat that otherwise would have be euthanized. She has been spayed, given her shots, and given to us to care for. Nancy says she just paid $200 for a "free cat." I don't know how much of the $200 represents the cat itself, and how much is cat accouterments. As I write this, the cat is asleep in our utility room. We have to keep her there several weeks until she gets used to the joint, at which time we'll "release" her. Hopefully, by then she'll consider this her home and stick around.
She is not a pet. She won't come inside. We won't pet her. We won't roll balls of yarn across the floor for her to chase and tangle up in adorably like on the 12 Months of Adorable Kitten Calendar. We will provide her food, healthcare, a warm place to sleep, and in return, she will hunt mice, voles, and chipmunks for us. Basically, she's a hired killer.
Zoe does not yet suspect we have a cat in the house. In the fullness of time, we shall have to introduce them and get Zoe used to the idea. Bad news for Zoe, she will have to share the yard with chickens and a cat. Good news, Zoe will still be the only animal allowed inside.
Last night, Nancy and I peered through the utility room window at our newest resident. She is very pretty. She was awake, but resting on the pallet Nancy had made for her. Her food bowl was empty, showing she has a good appetite.
I wanted to go in and pet her, but Nancy reminded me it's not that kind of cat. Nevertheless, it did my heart good to see her there.