Sunday, September 6, 2009

Royal Ranch Royalty

Well, it is Sunday and I promised you an introduction to one of The Royal Ranch's crazy critters every Sunday until we run out, which is going to take a LONG time. I will normally switch it up a bit, last week I introduced you to Shade, my loving nurse cat. So I was going to start today off with a different type of animal, llama, dog, rabbit, turtle, whatever. But, I made a promise to my daughter that her cat Scratch would be the next Royalty. Promises are what got me into this kitty in the first place, to me a promise is to be kept and the kids know it!!!

Last summer, a friend/neighbor broke her foot and we took over her chores. I've got to tell you it was one of the hardest set of "chores" I have ever done. Our friend had only been to our place, to buy hay and what not, so upon arrival at her place I have never been so shocked. There were a minimum of 30 cats, a horse, two ducks and at least six dogs. It goes without saying what the grounds were like,so one of our first tasks was to clean out the shed that is attached to her house that the cats had taken over. We donned our masks, and thank goodness for Park County clean-up days, because we took three truckloads in and didn't spend a penny! But, I digress....

Isabella is my mini-me, we have called her that since she was born, she looks like me, but even worse, she acts like me-Ha! My little partner does everything with me and our friends chores were no different. As you can imagine, the two or three litters of kittens was absolutely enthralling to a nine year old animal lover. I think it was our second morning there, that Bella said she really wanted one of those kittens. Knowing that these kittens and generations above them were WILD barn cats and she could not catch them, I jokingly told her that if she caught one she could keep it. Of course, she made sure to get the promise out of me! I also hadn't figured on how hard the girl would work in the next few weeks, patiently sitting at the food bowl, letting the cats know they could trust her.

One day as I was feeding the horse I hear "Mommy, Mommy I caught one!" I turned around and here is my beautiful little girl with this screaming, hissing and spitting kitten in her hands. As all good parents do I broke her heart and started saying "No Way" over and over again, partially because I was in shock that the little duffer had caught one. She knows my weak spot, and through her tears, she says "but Mommy, you promised!?!" and I had, so off we head to The Royal Ranch with one really mad kitten.

Needless to say, I was not prepared for a new animal, let alone a wild one, to come into the house. You know, figuring out where to keep it until the other pets mellowed out after the initial invasion, kitten food, those sorts of minor necessities. Bella is of course declaring that he (luckily I am good at sexing young kittens) was going to live in her room, and she would do all of the care taking. His name was very obviously, said my little cat whisperer, Scratch.

So, I get Bell and her new po'd kitten safely tucked away in her room, while I madly dash around the house looking for a spare litter box and something to feed the little guy. The other animals in the house had seen us come in and needed quite a bit of "attention" at the time, so it was not quite an hour when I checked back in with Isabella and Scratch. I could not believe my eyes, they were quietly loving on one another in her bed!!! The smile on that girls face brought the tears, it was my turn to cry this time! By the way, this picture was taken the night of his arrival!

Although Tom is a big cat fan, we were both a little concerned about his reaction. I don't think I had ever mentioned the "deal" I had made with his little girl, because I didn't think it would happen. Tom arrived home after a long day at his shop, and calmly said "that's the one I was thinking about trying to catch"! Well, I guess I was outvoted, Scratch was now a permanent fixture here at The Royal Ranch.

Now, since I have given you such a wonderful story, I will jump on my bandwagon for just a moment. Spaying and neutering animals is extraordinarily important. Although the den of cats at our friends house was healthy, that is not typically the case when breeding is left to nature with domesticated animals. I found a group that would come to the farm and fix all of the cats. In one day, we trapped, operated on and gave shots to 22 cats! This was done by donation only (poor people only got $50 from me for Scratch after all of that hard work!) and it is what the group does on a daily basis. I've got to tell you, the people were very extreme when it came to cats, but to help all of those cats was really worth it. Once they realized that I knew each cat, and who's kitten was whose (I had even been able to tell them which were boys or girls by the look of them), they took my bossiness a little more seriously. The point is, is that there are all sorts of resources to get your animals spayed or neutered, no matter what your income is or is not. (If you have a hard time with this, let me know, I have contacts nationwide.)

Back to an absolutely adorable Scratch; he is the smallest cat we've ever had, people keep asking us if we have a new kitten. We can still tell he is a barn cat though, because he is much more leery of any imagined (and sometimes real) danger than some of our other cats, but he has settled in quite nicely. He learned how to take baths by watching the other cats and is now a neat freak; we have to let him smell our hands before we are allowed to touch him! The bond between my daughter and her angel is so adorable that it tugs at my heart strings.

PS I will not be posting tomorrow, so don't miss me too much, we have our first drop camp of the hunting season.

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