Hello from Ardella

Ardella

Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2019
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5
Hello there! I have been a member of HA for several weeks but have not found the time to introduce myself and ask my questions, even though some are rather urgent.

I live in Pennsylvania about 30 miles away from Pittsburgh; my husband is a professor at one of the branches of the Pennsylvania state university system, and I taught English for quite a few years as an adjunct at various colleges and universities, and about 10 years ago went exclusively to freelance editing from my home. We have long wanted to move out into the country, having both lived in the country for a good share of our younger lives, so in summer of 2017 we moved into a house (built in 1860) on approximately one acre in the middle of a small working Black Angus farm. We wanted enough property so we could have a small market garden and perhaps keep a few animals.

It will be two years in July, and we're not even all moved in yet. The house, though its bones are solid, has needed and will continue to need much repairing and updating. In addition, we live a few hundred feet from the barn on the farm that surrounds us. The cats there quickly identified us for the cat people that we are. Before the farmer retired (last fall), he would drive down once a day or so (usually twice on the weekends) and throw out some Meow Mix for his 40 or so barn cats. That was the extent of his care. The cats were very unhealthy, many of them with sniffly noses, thin and brittle fur, bad eyes (many of the kittens died of infected eyes--we started noticing how few kittens there were because they would appear and then would disappear quickly). My husband debated whether to put one poor cat out of her misery because she had such a terribly swollen eye and was in pain. She lost that eye, but she lived and is such a sweet, lively thing. And, of course, at that point, we couldn't catch any of them to treat them.

The first winter we were here, the oldest cat, Oscar (he's 11 or 12), apparently spotted us for the cat people we are (we moved in with our own cats) and made friends with my husband. He would come and sit on our front porch in the bitterest of cold weather, refusing to leave: cold, sniffly, bad eyes, drooling from (I suppose) a mouth infection. My husband couldn't turn him down and would take food over to the barn for him and all the other hungry cats. I put brewer's yeast in it often, and soon their coats started to improve.

There's a lot I could tell you, but I'll make this long story short: Last June, the mom cats apparently got together one night and decided "Screw this; let's take our kittens over to the Crawfords" so we got up one morning and found a literal heap of kittens on our front porch, and more on the way, as we watched one of the cats carefully bringing them over.

To make a long story short, we're stuck with providing care to this cat colony. Some of them still live over at the barn, but quite a number live in our garage and quite another large number live in our side porch. We have fixed a dozen of them, and we're drowning financially because of the cost of feeding them, to say nothing of vet bills.
 
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