Barn Cat

I don’t write about cats here, but not because I don’t like them, but because for many years I haven’t had any in my life. I grew up with cats, and loved them, but as a teen I developed severe allergies to house cats. Happily, though, I’ve been getting cat-time at the stable where Tonka lives. There are two. One is shy. She does her mousing job but stays clear of people. The other is everything that people love (or hate) about cats. He’s insouciant and arrogant. He was adopted from the animal shelter; he was probably given up because he can go from purring to claws out in attack mode in the blink of an eye. We all adore him. Last week he went straight up a white pine tree. One-hundred and ten feet up. A tree guy was called to get the cat down. See photos from that rescue here.

He’s not allowed to go into the boarders’ tack room. He’s especially not supposed to be on the table. He ignores our opinions about such things.

Version 2

He arrived from the animal shelter with the name Dirk, that none of us like, so we call him Fat Cat.

There are barn cats, and then there are felines that are indoor, indulged pets. Babying animals isn’t a new phenomena. Here’s a flapper carrying her beloved kitty. Note the collar – zoom in and you’ll see that it’s as fancy as the fox wrap that the woman is wearing. My guess is that this cat enjoyed her life. House cats can be just as happy as barn cats, even without a 110-foot tree to scale.

Lindy, taken last summer 1931

Lindy, taken last summer



  1. He’s not fat, he just has a heavy fur coat! :) Did something scare him to climb so high up the tree? My cats never climbed pine trees, I suppose because of the pitch. They would climb high in other trees however. He’s a pretty cat. Thanks for the pictures.

  2. Wow, he’s a big guy, like my Sam (whom I believe has some Maine Coon in there somewhere). My four are all the ‘indoor pampered pets’ but only because I can’t let them outside (too close to a street with too much traffic). I’d love to be in a physical location where they could go outside if they wanted.

    All my adult life, I’ve had cats, and I’m now at the point where I have to be very careful about encountering homeless cats, as my brain says I don’t have the space to take on more (even though my heart says I could do it).

  3. Glad to see that Fat Cat is black. Because of our silly superstitions, black animals (and especially cats) have a 50% lower adoption rate. A long haired barn cat may need some help with grooming so he doesn’t get matted. It will be interesting to see if the Jekyll and Hyde behavior subsides as he acclimates to his new home. You may be clicker training him yet!

    • So far he’s doing amazingly well taking care of his coat and not getting into burrs. The owners have gotten tangles off of him.

  4. Very handsome fella. We had a climber come get our orange tabby out of a tree. They did it for a donation, which I gratefully gave, as we watched our cat 80 feet up in a tree in a very deep ravine for 3-4 days and he would howl at us when we went in and out of the house. No amount of coaxing brought home down. So, I am thankful there was someone to help. Cats are interesting creatures. We also adopted my mother in laws cat when she passed. She had been an indoor cat (claws intact) and begged to go out. She follows us like a dog, visits the goats and chickens like they are life long friends and has slimmed down to boot. The farm is definitely a small community of interesting creatures. Hard to be bored with so many personalities. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I, like Mary, had a BIG cat called Sam (originally Samson) who looks identical to Fat Cat Dirk.
    Sam weighed 14lbs exactly. He did not look fat as in overweight but just big all over (long and tall as well) Like your Fat Cat he was also arrogant but beautiful.

  6. I wonder how much that rescue cost! A cat (don’t know whose) climbed a huge pine tree outside where I was living once. It was a freezing cold night and meowing pitifully. I knew it would be pointless to call the fire dept. because even if they came out they could never get their equipment any where near where it was. Fortunately, I had purchased fish for dinner and broke a piece off and poached in milk and placed it at the foot of the tree. It did come down–awkwardly. Cats don’t like to come down backwards, but if they go head first, their nails don’t hold to the bark. Hence…getting stuck in trees. Fat Cat’s exploit was a doozy tho!

  7. I’ve never seen a cat skeleton in a tree; I suspect getting “stuck” is one more way they demonstrate that they are the masters and we are their servants!

  8. What a beautiful cat! LOVE the color. I love cats with attitude. My daughter thinks there might be some Norwegian Forest Cat in there.

    (The usual coat color names pop – smoke, ash, etc… he’s definitely NOT a Dirk. A cat I just brought home, a FEMALE cat, came with name Vader…shaking head…who’s naming these cats?) (Oh, and she’s Rose now.)

    I had a cat that, in the early years before I got smart, I allowed outside. He liked to climb trees from time to time and from time to time would get ‘stuck’. Then he would sit there and yell. The kids in the neighborhood would come get me, “Tinker’s stuck!” And I would go and talk him down, branch to branch, “You can make it! Over here! Down!” And about 10 feet from the ground he would just jump into my arms. He was my ‘heart’ cat. I had him for 20 years and I still miss him.

  9. I have a rescue in house only cat ( he does not go on tables or counters) I also have 3 rescue barn cats!
    they are awsome, I have not had a winter mouse problem since they arrived 3 years ago, and they do not expect much for pay a little head rub now and again and some food every day in the winter!! They are beautiful and friendly!

    Will always have barn cats!!! :)

  10. Terry, like you, I really like cats, but am so, so allergic to them. So I can’t own them, but I’ve enjoyed many at barns. I hope his liver is okay after three days without food or water.

    • Can’t look inside of him – but on the outside Fat Cat is back to normal and has reclaimed his position as The Most Important Animal in the Universe.

  11. I’ve had to climb a tree to get one of my cats down. (The tree had a dog-leg bend and he couldn’t get past it.) But it wasn’t very high and the cat liked to sit on my shoulder so I just went up the ladder, up the tree (my tree climbiing childhood paid off!), the cat loaded up and then down we went.

    I’m glad Fat Cat is down and safe.