A Day in the Life of a Cat for Hire

WorkingCats

A Day in the Life of a Cat for Hire

 

Meet Tiger, a lean mean feline machine who patrols a ranch down near Calero Reservoir along with his cat buddies.

Tiger arrived at his home through Town Cats.  While in foster care, it was painfully apparent that Tiger was never going to be happy living the life of an inside pet.  This guy had been found living outside, he had introduced himself to his foster mother by bringing birds to her patio…this was a cat who’s heart and mind yearned for open space, for the hunt, for endless opportunities to climb and stalk…but who still sought out human company.  Humans were great for pets, for long naps on laps with the purr motor on overdrive, and for entertaining strolls around the property.  People were way cool, great company, good fun…Tiger just couldn’t bring himself to be inside constantly, not even for their company.  Inside was boring, it was stifling…it made him feel trapped.

So when the chance came to live the life of a Cat for Hire…patrolling for mice in the barn, stalking critters in the pasture, climbing all the way to the peak of the barn roof, having dozens of trees to climb and scratch and his own person with whom to stroll the ranch or just sit and enjoy a sunset…well, it couldn’t have been better.

Any place that has a supply of food, be it pet food, livestock food, you name it…it’s going to have rodents.  Some of the cottages at the ranch were infested with rodents until the cats came…and that just hasn’t been a problem anymore.  The cats are the guardians of the food stores.

The other interesting aspect to the life of a ranch cat is being on watch for intruders…it could be coyotes, a raccoon raiding the cat dish, and once it was a mountain lion…wild pigs might come through…and the first alert might be the cat’s reaction.  Tiger’s buddy Woody busted the mountain lion, freezing and staring off into the dark…right at the mountain lion up on the side of the hill studying the ranch…until the spotlights from the residents hit the big cat and he backed off.

So you see, not every cat succeeds as a working cat…you gotta have street smarts, gotta keep your wits about you…and gotta be able to count on your people for backup.  Especially, you gotta know when to stand your ground and when to beat feet.

Tiger’s best buddies at the ranch are Blue and Violet – they came together from the same foster home.  Blue’s a bit more of a lover than a fighter but he knows the very best “lookout” spots, and prefers to stay close to the barn and the cottages while Tiger heads out to the fields and pastures to hunt.  Violet, a stunningly beautiful Siamese, grew up feral and nearly lost her mind being confined.  She hid for the first month she was at the ranch, but with a consistent feeding routine, and with other cats showing affinity for the people, even she started appearing regularly, when she chooses to be seen.  Because Violet is a true huntress, when she chooses to not be seen, she disappears into the brush or down the fence line, and you will not see her…and neither will her prey.  Having grown up feral, her senses and athleticism are finely honed.  She can spend her entire day hunting, while Tiger comes back in for an occasional snack or visit with people and Blue sits in the hayloft surveying the property.

Tiger, Blue, and Violet are an important part of ranch life.  Their hunting prowess is natural “pest control.”  They also know and recognize “their” people.  Blue and Tiger have a morning and evening routine to make the rounds of the cottages and walk the ranch with their human friends, and even Violet has a regular spot from which she’ll sit to watch everyone coming home in the evening.

Like all cats, the working cats need a good diet, flea and tick control, and occasional trips to the vet.  Working cats burn more calories, are very active, and they are exposed to the elements so a healthy coat is very important. As for the vet, well… Truthfully, it’s easier with Tiger and Blue than with Violet, but it’s manageable.

 

Cindy Snow

Jan Stevenson
jsteve@towncats.org
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