Is it chicken or cat?

In recent days, a new animal has appeared on the farm.

I noticed this new animal when I was doing evening chores and happened to notice a flash of black fur out of the corner of my eye when collecting eggs from one of the coops. I froze. What was that?

Now, to reflect on a couple of years ago, the last time I saw a flash of black fur was in overgrown grass late at night. Apparently, I had startled a rather large skunk that had been lumbering near one of the chicken coops hoping for a stray egg to munch on.

Back to the current situation and fearing a sudden blast of stink juice, I retreated slowly away from the coop as the mystery creature then darted from behind some stray boards nearby, and it was then I realized it was a small black kitten.

If you have gathered through past articles, you know that anything that needs care is going to tug at me immediately, and I instantly changed my position of retreat to one of a cooing, pandering cat lady holding a basket full of chicken eggs and cajoling “Here kitty, kitty. It’s OK kitty.”

I really think a film crew would find great comedy in following the daily antics on the farm.

The kitten, of course, did not come to my pleadings and instantly retreated into a darker recess of the pole barn, so I went about the remainder of the chores for the night and figured it belonged to someone and would be gone the next day.

The next day brought high temperatures, and I picked up my almost daily gifts from local establishments of lettuce and spent brewing grain and drove the car down to the chicken yard to feed the bounty to the feathered crew.

As I dumped a 5-gallon bucket of spent mash into the yard, I noticed one begging creature that was not a chicken. It was the kitten.

The kitten walked toward the mash with the rest of the chickens and started to hungrily gobble up the grain, acting like it was just one of the flock. The chickens didn’t seem to mind, either. One rooster actually stepped back so the tiny kitten could get a big gulp of mash.

This was a daily occurrence for the next few days, prompting me to identify it as a “catken” (part chicken, part cat). I wasn’t sure where it slept at night until that discovery one morning when I needed to do the evening chores in the morning.

As I reached into nesting boxes to collect eggs from the night before, my hand touched soft fur. The catken was sleeping in one of the nesting boxes.

I figured at that point, the catken was going to stay. The kitten is now known as Cooper for its desire to stay with the chickens, and I hope he will be a good mouser.

He also has warmed up a bit to me and allowed me to pet him when he’s sleeping in his nesting box. I still can’t get over how funny it is to watch him amongst the flock.

You just never know what’s going to happen next on the farm.

Until next time…

Stephanie Strothmann owns Purple Shamrock Farm LLC in rural Seymour. Read her blog at whattheclucker.blogspot.com. Send comments to [email protected]