Wild Rose Country Home
Acreage Living Confessions- Part 1: I'm a Cat Mom
(Rap with me...Fresh Prince style)
This is a story
all about how
my life got flipped
turned upside down
and I'd like to take a minute
just sit right there
I'll tell you
how I became consumed
head to toe
in cat hair
Hey everybody, as you may or may not know, my husband and I moved to an acreage last summer. There have been huge learning curves to acreage living, and one of those things we have learned is -you need a resident "mouser".
I have always been a loyal dog-person so, I thought I'd tell you all about how this dog lady became a cat mom and how it changed my whole outlook on cat life.
How did I fall into this serendipitous event, you ask...let's read on.
In October, I was lounging in my bed around 9 PM one night and all of a sudden I saw a mouse run right across our bedroom floor. I screamed of course. Somehow, I was astonished and admittedly slightly naive because I honestly didn’t think that this new home would come with mice too! Duh…Jenn, you live on an acreage now, girl... what did you think would happen? It scurried down the hall and that was the last I saw of Gus-Gus...let's go with that name.
So, Ken (my saviour of a husband) went to the store the next day and got trapping supplies and put them around the house. We had no idea where this mouse came in from because there were no obvious entry points in our room that we could think of besides air vents and a gas fireplace. Guess where they come in from? Floor vents and fireplaces lol. I'm embarassingly shaking my head in shame. We suspected it might be the fireplace, but weren’t really sure. In any case, we placed traps around hoping to catch it. Then, Ken left for a few days on business and I was alone in the house with a possible mouse, eeeeeekkkkkkk.
A couple of days later I was in the living room and I saw a much fatter mouse run from the kitchen into the living room behind the couch. I jumped up and I freaked out again! I called Ken immediately to tell him that this chunky one must indeed be a second mouse! He graciously decided to come to my rescue again and come home early because obviously there were more than one mouse in the house. Another, "duh" moment...I know, I know. There's always more than one. I guess I had forgotten everything from my glorious mobile home days in rural Saskatchewan from 2003-2007. Another story for another day. In any case, we knew this could be a problem. He went to Home Depot and he got more supplies, different supplies, poisonous supplies ;), to try and fight the unwelcome squatters.
This time we (when I say "we" I mean Ken lol) placed traps all around our house in all kinds of different areas. I think we placed about 8 to 12 traps in all different ares. No mouse was getting out alive. When we woke up the next morning we had upwards of 10 dead mice in the traps!! That’s when I said OK, we need a garage cat or some kind of outdoor cat that can control the mice problem that we’re having. Ken talked to some neighbours and they all said, "get a mouser!" I was like, "what's a mouser?" lol. #acreagelearning
While we tried to figure out where to get a mouser cat, we had mouse traps slamming shut daily with mice. Where the frick were they coming in?!?
Story time: I had grown up with severe cat allergies, and had always opted for dogs as pets after I got married. When I had been tested the induced hive that came up for the cat spot on my arm was very large compared to the hive that came up for the dog exposure. I just figured that I would never get a cat because of this allergy and anytime I had been in other peoples homes with cats, I would have an asthma attack or have severe itchy eyes.
Needless to say I was very apprehensive of even getting a mouser that would be living in our garage and outside our home. But, I did my research and figured that it could be a viable option. I was told you have some sort of covered shelter and a heated mat for refuge from the extreme -45 cold days. So, I got those. I bought a heated water bowl and an Apple AirTag to track the cat outside as well. I had done everything possible to welcome a working mouser cat.
I called the SPCA the next day and found out that they have a working cat program taking in strays. They also neuter or spay them to help control the cat population problem.
On October 30 we had a scheduled meeting to go and get our working cats that had been brought in by animal control. Teah and Archer (my daughter and grandson) were visiting for Halloween so they came with us to the SPCA to pick up the cats. Yup, CATS. Did I mention that the other thing about mousers is that it better to get them in twos so they keep each other warm outside.
I had no idea what we were going to get because the cats had just come in a few days prior via animal control, and I had this expectation that they would be the most ratchet, scraggly, homely looking cats in the world. Like this:
Haha...when they brought out Frankenstein and Igor (named that simply because it was Halloween season), they were pretty cute looking cats, not gonna lie! Uh-oh...
Here's Frankenstein's mug shot...an 11 month old short hair gray domestic kitty:
Two handsome males.
A regular domestic cat from the SPCA was $200 and I paid $30 each for my cats because they were considered a working cats. At first glance, the cats did not look like an outdoor working cats at all but I took them anyways.
The instructions for introducing a new outdoor cat into your life were simple: you should contain him for the first week or two in the garage, feed him, and give him love so that he gets used to you. The cat needs to know where his food source was coming from so that when you let him outside, he will always come back to your house for food. The first night, one of them killed a mouse! Yes, success! However, there was some cat fighting going on between the boys. Not good :(
After a week, we tried to introduce the cats to the outside and neither was having it at all. In fact they hated it. Granted, it was really cold,-35, but they didn’t even want to step one paw outside. We tried several different ways of getting them outside: standing with them, walking them on leash, pulling them on a leash, dragging them by the neck on a leash (kidding ;)) and they would just claw on the door to come back in like they were being tortured outside. These cats definitely hated the outdoors which was very confused because I thought I was getting working cats, but more and more I started realizing that we got domestic cats. Whatever we got, they were doing their jobs thankfully since we hadn’t seen any mice.
Well, cats can't live forever in a dimly lit garage, so after ten days I slowly let the cats in to the main part of the house. One room at a time so they wouldn't get the run of the mill. I wanted to see how they would act together in the house opposed to the garage.
Igor would relax and try to sleep next to me all day long but be little possessive. Frankenstein was more of a scaredy cat hiding and trying to get away from Igor. Luckily, my allergies were really good, though! I had the odd sniffle and sometimes would sneeze, but otherwise it was actually far less allergic than I had been with dogs in the past. That was a good surprise. I started off taking reactine at first and now I’m not on anything.
The cat fights got more intense. When they would cross paths they would fight. It started to take a toll on me.I started feeling the "animal purchase regret" that many of you may understand, asking myself, "what did I get myself into?" I realized that having two cats in my home was not going be viable for me. I had to think of a plan B.
I asked my daughter Teah, if she would want Igor to live with them since she bonded with him very closely that week she stayed with us around Halloween. Luckily, she agreed, and we brought Igor to Teah‘s house at the end of November. I think he looks pretty content, don't you?
It was really really hard for me to get used to having a pet around again. I was adamant about not getting a pet for a long time because we travel frequently and I have chronic illness. Caring for the cat was like having a newborn baby. You have to get up early to feed him, he needed playtime, he needed sleep time and cuddles. Frankenstein also known as Frankie now, was not a cuddly cat at first, so I felt like the pay off of having a cat wasn't balanced enough. I was scared that I made the wrong decision, again lol.
Once Igor was rehomed, Frankie had his own space and became a really cuddly and friendly cat. Don’t get me wrong, he definitely had his wild side, still. He has lots of moments where he’s gallopping around the house doing zoomies, scratching up furniture and trying to climb our window screens, but for the majority of the time he’s been a really good cat.
Luckily, at Christmas we found an amazing neighbor who loves and rescues cats to help us out when we go on vacation. She was so amazing to Frankie! She brought him gifts and treated him like a king while we were away at Christmas. Although, he definitely didn't want us to go- he packed himself right into Ken's suitcase!
Frankie has his own hashtag #fridayswithfrankinstein on Instagram.
I've really bonded with this kitty, now. I've allowed myself to enjoy the love. He loves to sleep on my chest and it's like having a 15lb weighted blanket on me. It has helped with my anxiety and he's become a sweet little companion in my life.
Our Christmas Card 😂