Insight: A Farm Cat’s Tale

We adopted him from a nearby city animal shelter’s barn cat adoption program. They adopted him out to us because he was deemed “too bite-y” to be a house cat.

An expert mouser with some serious cattitude, he rotated his time between our shop, farm office and barn.

He viciously clawed my office chair one afternoon when I turned off his Netflix. He’d let you know when he was annoyed with you with his loud meow or his claws to the back of your leg. He also let you know when he wanted your affection when he’d sneak up behind you and bite you before flopping down by your feet expecting a belly rub.

He’d sprawl out on window ledges and sleep for hours until I’d come into the office. I swear he’d wait for me to look over at him once I was settled at my desk before he’d push a plant, pot or coffee mug off the ledge all while maintaining eye contact with me.

He tolerated our farm dog, Rosie, in her puppyhood. He followed us when we went on hikes through the cattle pastures — always letting us know of his presence by his continuous and loud complaints regarding our outings. More often than not, after hearing too many of his growling meows, one of us would give in and carry that fat cat back to the shop.

He had a special gift of getting right in your face when working on equipment and making his presence known during Zoom calls.

Mr. Gray disappeared about a year ago. We assumed a coyote got the old boy.

However, we recently received a call from the City of Wichita telling us that they had our cat. We didn’t have a missing cat.

They said they had a cat that was microchipped and registered to us.

Mr. Gray was back from the dead!

I made the hour-long drive down to Wichita to bail him out of cat jail.

After a year of adventures that landed him in the big house down in the city, Mr. Gray is back on the farm. He spent a few hours in the tractor with my husband before we released him back into the shop and office later that afternoon.

He left an offering for us a few hours later in the form of two mice he’d caught and put in his litter box.

He’s now returned to patrolling the farm, sneaking up behind me and nipping the back of my leg while I work at my desk, sharpening his claws on my office chair, and overseeing us while working on equipment — always from somewhere above us.

We don’t know what his time away from the farm was like, but Mr. Gray has definitely made sure that we know he’s back and that he hasn’t changed one bit.

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“Insight” is a weekly column published by Kansas Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization whose mission is to strengthen agriculture and the lives of Kansans through advocacy, education and service.

Kim Baldwin is a McPherson County farmer and rancher

Photo by Petrebels on Unsplash