Technically speaking, we hired our first employee at Gold Shaw Farm on Sunday. His responsibilities will include pest control and general cuteness. We have dubbed him Pablo, Barn Cat.
Allison and have talked about getting a cat, but we didn’t intend to act on the idea anytime soon. But some friends of our were looking to relocate their cat, so we decided to hire the little guy.
We’re keeping Pablo, Barn Cat in the barn for two reasons. First, we have had a bit of a mouse problem. My hope is that having a vicious feline predator patrolling the grounds will help keep the local rodent population in check. I am also hoping that in the warmer months Pablo, Barn Cat will stalk the voles and field mice that might try to gird the bark of my trees. Second, he needs to live in the barn because I am crazy allergic to cats. I’m talking constant-itchy-red-eyes-and-violent-sneezing-attacks allergic. The wide open spaces of the barn and a limited physical contact policy should keep my gesundheits down to a minimum.
It took a bit of research to figure out the best way to relocate a barn cat. According to most of the internet experts, the best way to do it is to keep him in a large dog crate for 2-4 weeks in the barn. This gets the cat to accustomed to his new home base. We’re still in the early days of this acclimation, but I’ll keep you guys updated on how things go. If this works out, we’ll probably get a second barn cat to keep Pablo, Barn Cat company.
Now I know that some of you might say, “WTF? How are you going to leave a poor cat in a cold, unheated barn in the middle of a Vermont winter? Are you a monster?” Gentle reader, let me assure you that Pablo, Barn Cat has safe accommodations. We’re keeping his crate inside of one of the old horse stalls. Within the old horse stall, I built a little hut out of some rigid foam insulation that was previously used as a walk-in cooler. (The farm’s prior owners had built a walk-in cooler to store their CSA vegetables. We took the cooler apart last spring. Leftovers!) I haven’t done the math, but I’m pretty sure its R-value is fierce. Also, I have made the concession that if the temperature drops below zero, we will let Pablo, Barn Cat crash in the mudroom of the house.
To ensure proper exercise, Allison has been taking Pablo, Barn Cat on daily walks with a leash. It’s a little weird, but he seems to like it.