We have four barn kittens.
Kittens who turned a year old a few weeks ago.
They are all vaccinated and have been neutered and spayed.
We have a quartet of siblings.
Three brothers and a sister.
We have had them since they were 8 weeks old.
We know the ramifications of having outside barn cats.
There are numerous obstacles for them to overcome if they choose to wander.
People who think they are strays and pick them up (because they are all very well socialized and love hugs).
And the worst obstacle to overcome...
My parents called last week saying that they had seen a coyote in the cemetery to the north of our house.
Just sitting on a hill watching the cars go by.
We made sure all of the cats were inside the house for the next few nights.
The cats went back outside on Friday.
To sun in the yard, to catch mice, to sit in trees.
That was the last time we saw Jumper.
Then Saturday afternoon was the last time anyone saw Firecracker.
Popcorn and Cali were kept inside.
Either someone else was feeding our cats and they preferred their brand of cat food to ours or the dreaded coyote had gotten them.
We looked high and low for those two cats on Saturday and Sunday.
I think I stepped on more poison ivy than my sandaled feet should have.
We went out at night with a high-beam flashlight.
We saw glowing eyes in the distance.
Belonging to a rabbit.
We found large poops in the side yard.
Unmistakably verified by my "not quite scat expert" eye as coyote doody.
Large amounts of hair in the poo.
Was it Jumper hair?
Before we closed up the house last night Cali came in and Popcorn was in the barn.
Lo and behold, Firecracker decided to show up!
Where have you been you scoundrel?!
He was all talk, but as we have yet to master the art of catverse, I have no idea where he had been.
A storm blew up.
Wind and sideways rain pummeled the house and the farm.
Anything left outside was to be soaked and cold and torn apart by the monsoon.
Then Chad heard it.
From the front porch window came Jumper's unmistakable little baby cry..."mew, mew".
He's a big cat, 12 pounds, but has the smallest and quietest meow.
HE WAS HOME!
Wet and very hungry.
He had been gone for two days and ate as such.
He's not allowed outside for some time.
He has never been a great mouser.
Maybe he should be an inside cat.
He sure seems to enjoy lounging with his brother today.
We call these two "the twins"...they can be hard to tell apart and they seem to be quite adventurous.
If only we knew the whole story...
They aren't talking.