Oh Reuben, Reuben, Reuben. You have truly won over our hearts.
The animal shelter strongly recommended we keep Reuben caged in his environment for as much as 30 days after bringing him home. Seemed a little extreme to us, but we didn’t exactly have any other ideas about how to make sure he knows this is his home now.
We’ve had him for just over a week. So far he has been vaccinated, neutered, microchipped, and had his ear tipped, and he has recovered well. If you didn’t know, ear tipping is done to feral cats that have been neutered so visibly animal control or other rescue volunteers can know at a glance if the cat is ok to leave alone or if it needs to be caught/neutered/released. In addition to the ear tipping, we added a bright red collar with no tags on it so that he can maintain silence in his hunting. Hopefully all of these things will help to ensure his safety and possibly his return to us should he ever wander off too far.
As the week progressed, Reuben was just increasingly more and more lovable each time we would go to him at his cage in the barn. After a few days we decided to let him wander around the yard for 30-40 minutes at a time a couple times a day, with supervision only.
These little supervised wandering expeditions were going beautifully and Reuben was getting accustomed to the animals he shares space with. He did make a few attempts to have fresh chicken, but since they were all in the run, they were well protected having wire cloth between them and the cat. Plus, they have become quite brutal hens since the departure of our rooster. Pecking order has ensued and it is by no means a pretty thing to witness.
It took Reuben a few attempts to realize he could not get through the wire. And boy are we glad we put the 1/2-inch wire on the bottom, otherwise, I think he’d reach a claw in through the bigger cloth and strangle a chicken!
The dog really wants to play. He’s played with our indoor cats many times, but they are declawed. Reuben has all of his razor sharp claws intact and has no problem letting the dog see them. This relationship is slowly improving and I think within a couple of weeks these two will be good friends. Levi is a wonderful protector of little ones and I think Reuben will soon come to appreciate that.
As the week further progressed, we would allow Reuben more and more free time outside. If we were outside, so was he. He was just in pure bliss…curious about the fence, but never wandering beyond it. He was even good about being put back in his crate, despite knowing how wonderful the yard was. He was just always happy.
Here is a picture with a good representation of all the animals in our yard. A dog, a cat, couple of goats, handful of chickens. Our bucks were both inside of their little shed and not visible in this picture. Also, the chickens and goats are slowly eating away at the grass. Hurry up so we can fence in that garden space, warmer temperatures are almost here, and we don’t want to dig up sod if we don’t have to! (You know what I mean when I say “we”…ahem…not pregnant me…)
The garlic, onions, and potatoes I overwintered are fenced in right there by where the cat is hanging out (had to goat-proof it!). The milk jug green houses are somewhat of a success. I have a bunch in another location that are doing beautifully. These in the garden got a little too much rain and flooded…then the goats ate the duct tape that was sealing them shut…then they realized the jugs open up and there are tender shoots of fresh greens growing inside. So these are pretty much just holding compost and dirt until I’m ready to dump them into the garden.
We have a few fence posts in, have a handful more to dig in and then we can permanently fence in the garden. I’m anxious to get my bigger greenhouses out here to harden off some plants and get some tomatoes and peppers started. Not sure how much ground digging we will get to before the baby arrives. I’m literally in the countdown now with less than a month to go.
This weekend we decided to build Reuben’s barn access. Since we intend for him to use the barn as his home, we need to allow him the freedom to come and go from the barn at all times, even when we have the goats locked up at night. At the same time, we did not want the access to be accessible to something such as a small dog, rodents, snakes, or other unwanted critters.
We decided to order a cat door designed for interior use because we needed the slim profile to install it into plywood. We installed the door about 5-6 feet high and added jumping ledges for him on both the inside and the outside of the barn.
The exterior ledge is large enough that Reuben can hang out on it comfortably if he wants to. It has become one of his favorite hang out spots, too!
On the interior, he has a larger shelf that holds his food and bed. We are in the process of adding a little lip along the edge so that his stuff doesn’t fall off the shelf and become goat goodies.
After we completed these little ledges and shelves for him, we decided to test him on his freedom. We left him outside when we were done working yesterday. He hung around for a few hours and then he wandered off into the woods. He showed up again right around our dinner time and he visited us at the front door.
He followed my husband around the yard for a couple of minutes but then got distracted by the wood pile. So we sat down and had dinner and by then Reuben was nowhere to be found. By 8 pm when we were locking up the barn animals, we still couldn’t find him. At 10 pm my husband went looking for him again, but he couldn’t find him. We were all kind of bummed about that and prayed for his safety and return.
In the morning, my boys were anxious to get outside by 7 am to check on the critters and look for Reuben. And sure enough, there he was, hanging around the yard. They loved on him and Reuben found his food bowl, ate to his heart’s content, and then passed out in his new little bed on the interior barn shelf.
A couple hours later I checked on him, and he was still sleeping in his bed. A little later my husband went out, and he was still sleeping on his bed. I guess someone had an active night!
We are so very happy that he hung around, knows this is his herd now, and seems to know that he is loved here. He sure has melted our hearts.
Thanks for stopping by today!