Photo of Smudge the barn cat by Terry Berns
Shelter Me Inc, a nonprofit animal rescue group, established a barn cat program in March 2008 to prevent seven cats from being euthanized at a local animal control office. (You can view a video about those first seven cats by clicking here.) Since then, Shelter Me has placed 135 'unadoptable' cats in barn homes--working largely with other animal rescue groups. The most recent cat we placed, a black male named Raven came from the Medfield Shelter.We wrote about him in a previous column. He was pulling out his fur from stress. A couple barn owners who came to us seeking cats turned us down after we told them about him. He did sound pretty pathetic but the cats who end up in barns often have quite a few things wrong about them (so to speak). Usually, they don't like to be petted and they can't stand living inside.
Shelter Me Inc
Just after we placed Raven, a volunteer at Medfield Shelter told us about another cat that needs a barn home. He has a pretty unusual story. After placing over a hundred unadoptable cats in barns, we thought we had heard everything but truth really is stranger than fiction. (Or as the legendary New Yorker editor William Shawn famously remarked, "Truth is not always stranger than fiction but sometimes it arranges itself more artfully.)
The cat's name is Rory. He had been living outside for months when the shelter volunteer (who recently contacted us for help) trapped him and brought him in. He was not happy living in the shelter; so much so that he actually managed to escape. He returned to his old street, several miles away, to the backyard of the home whose owners had been feeding him. The volunteer begged the homeowners to let him stay but they insisted that he had to go because their indoor cats go crazy watching him outside. That was three weeks ago. He is back in the shelter, very unhappy (to say the least), yowling and scratching at screens.
We try not to sugarcoat these stories so as not to mislead barn owners. But people who care for horses are not usually intimidated by the antics of an unhappy cat. If a barn owner is reading this and would like to provide a home for Rory, please email [email protected]