Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

"The barn is open to you," I told two cats

Cats with Moon and One Star
Last week, two ferel cats arrived. They had been trapped by a ferel cat organization, spayed, neutered, and vaccinated. They arrived in carriers and the organization lent us a very large crate. We put the small carrier cages inside, with food, and made sure everything was secure.

We had cared for a colony of 25 out in Oregon, and gained experience working with them over the years, including letting them acclimate on their own terms. But these two cats were not born in our barn here, and I was really anxious to do the right thing by them, to get them comfortable with the surroundings. The next day, we created a roomy area, totally enclosed so they could not escape, so we could get them out of the crate. We really were vigilant on securing every little nook and possible escape hatch, even hauling in stone to line the edges. When Martyn finished it, I found couple things I worried about, and he added some more wood to those areas.

But I neglected to see one spot that had chicken wire, and it had not been nailed down-Martyn had instead pushed it back into some wall boards in what he felt was secure. If I had known that, I would have nailed it down. But I should have checked, and he should have known better.

The next morning, they were gone. I was crushed. And Martyn felt terrible too. I feared even though they had some time with us, and had food here, they would flee. I put out canned stinky food, and sprinkled flour all around the cans in hopes of seeing their prints. Three days or more went by, no prints, and no food was eaten.

I knew cats could find lots of hiding areas in the barn. In Oregon, we literally had cats living in the hay bales-finding areas they could hide in between the bales. Litters were hid there too.

On the day I found them gone, I went to my studio and painted these two pieces. I wanted to send my intention out to them again-that we are here to give them food and shelter. But I also know I had already done that on their arrival, and I had doubted myself after they fled. I blamed myself and beat myself up. But in my heart, I found a little light burning inside me, that encouraged me to think of my intention I had given them.

And then yesterday, paw prints in the flour! I was so excited.

And all the food was eaten, the cans had been licked clean. So I put out two more cans last night, and more flour. And this morning, more paw prints and both cans were licked clean. If the old barn cats out West are floating around me, seeing these guys getting canned food, they will be rolling their eyes!

I talk to them briefly each morning, and always say goodnight to them too. I am not sure when they will appear, maybe never, but they are there, they have food and I think it will be okay. I hardly even know what they look like except they are black with some white. We don't know how old they are but most likely young, around two. One is male and one is female and they assumed they might be siblings. I was able to touch the nose of the female the first day, but did not try to touch the male, he gave me clear indications he was not ready for that.

I am glad they stayed, and glad I found my inner light. That inner light is always burning, but sometimes I forget that, which leads to doubt. Whenever I doubt my intuition, suffering happens, and I am not the beacon I can be.

Cat Eyes in the Woods