It’s a lot easier to swipe the good food in the barn than go out and hunt for it. Well, that was the opinion until the trap snapped shut.
From a dozen cats several months ago, the ranch population is down to three. Two yellow ones get daily feeding in the haymow, and don’t come down. Fortunately, there are no rodents in the loft.
One gray momma cat, we’ll call Grey, lost her kittens to vermin, or a mean tom, uncertain which. However, pussycat has survived. A little skittish, she’s the lone ranch barnyard worker now.
To help keep her home, Grey gets feed and water daily. She’s still seems to be doing her job keeping mice and rat problems controlled.
However, Grey’s food bowl attracts visitors. Mr. Opossum wasn’t a bit shy coming in for the free high quality eating regularly. That trap was his demise.
Then, feral black and white tom, right or wrong blamed for reducing feline populations, found the cat food bowl.
There was a bit uncertainty, at first, if it was black and white tom, or black and white Mr. Polecat? Trap shut again, verifying Tom the culprit and his end as well.
Well, the skunk is still showing bright stripe. Seems a bit more cautious than predecessor thieves. Fortunately, no stinky evidence yet. Don’t know if that’ll be the case when the vermin carelessly steps into that wire box with spring-shut door?
Reflections arise from past malicious barnyard intruders. When there are no cats, of course rats and mice encroach, seemingly with little repel from bait or trap.
Raccoons have also been frequent visitors through time. Those masked-eyed ringtails haven’t shown of recent. One year, a ’coon family moved in, and it took major effort to get them gone.
Of course, cottontails are likeable guests, and were scampering all around just a few weeks ago. Once in a blue moon, a squirrel will wander in.
Coyotes are howling all night and every morning nearby, even though they aren’t often in sight.
Reminds us of Genesis 1:25: “God maketh the creatures of the earth after its kind, every creeping thing of the ground after its kind; God seeth that it is good. The Creator’s wisdom and power are to be admired as much in an ant as in an elephant.”
Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.