Americans Emily Bott and her husband recently purchased an old farmhouse. When the couple looked around the house before buying it, they immediately noticed the “natives” there – cats, of which there were about 15. Turns out, all of those cats had been living on the farm all along.
“We asked our realtor if the cats were going to be left behind, and we were told that they would all be gone by the time we moved in,” Bott told The Dodo. “Once our offer on the house was accepted, my boyfriend took it upon himself to request that the cats stayed on the property. I was apprehensive at first only because I had never owned a cat before. However, at the time, I worked at the local humane society and knew, at the very least, I could get them all spayed/neutered and even rehome them if absolutely needed (spoiler: it was never needed).”
Since Emily herself used to work with animals, she was very fond of them. So when the couple got the house, they decided to take in the permanent residents of the farm as well.
The guys found dry food that the previous owners had left behind and fed the kitties. Emily discovered that many of them had ailments and were not spayed/neutered. The couple decided to take on these concerns in the future.
“In the beginning, there was only one cat that was friendly enough to approach, Valencia,” Bott said. “She’s our queen bee. I could tell there were a few others that were curious and interested in us, but it took months (and some years) for the others to trust us enough to approach them and event pet! I spent many nights sitting in my driveway throwing treats at them, feeding them catnip and engaging them with toys.”
Another problem was gaining the cats’ trust because it took them a long time to get used to new people. The guys often gave them treats, tried to play with them, pet them and show them that they wouldn’t be harmed. Over time, the gang of cats trusted the new owners of the house. Although many of the cats still don’t like petting, they got used to the guys and are grateful for the care.
“I would say living with so many barn cats has been a blessing,” Bott said. “Every time I step outside, I’m greeted by them immediately. There’s a couple that will follow me almost everywhere on the property, and all of them will flock to me if I shake the treat bag. I have a whole crew that walks me down the driveway to get my mail. Valencia will even run down the driveway once she spots my car on our street.”
Now the guys are renovating the house, and they periodically visit there. Each time, the cat gang runs to greet them as long-awaited guests. The couple plans to open a small shelter for the cats where they can fully enjoy life and live in comfort.