I’m Hank, one of the two barn cats who live at Almosta Ranch. I think Chico mentioned I might be writing a post at some point and, well, I’m finally getting around to it. I’m not lazy exactly, but I do enjoy my leisure time.
I’ve been here at the ranch since the spring of 2014, six and a half years now. I wasn’t the first cat on the place, number three actually, if you don’t count the wildies who show up from time to time.
Fran and Tommy were adopted as a pair from the Happy Cat Sanctuary in Strathmore. For those of us less indoor-friendly cats, Happy Cat will rehome us on farms as long as we’ll be well fed and have a warm place to sleep in winter. Both Fran and Tommy were extremely shy, bordering on feral, so they were perfect candidates for the Barn Buddy program.
Since it’s a big barn, and there were a lot of mice, T decided to bring a third cat into the fold … me. I was never a feral, but my life experience had me feeling pretty leery of humans. I’d rather not get into the details. At the rescue they just called my “Grey”—you can probably see why from my photos—but T and Nollind thought I needed something more unique. They’d been watching the TV show Breaking Bad at the time and I reminded them of Hank, the short, burly DEA agent. So, Hank I became.
When I first arrived in my carrier, they turned me loose in the loft of the barn where Fran and Tommy were already locked up. It seemed a pretty good place to me—comfy places to sleep, lots of food, and plenty of hiding places if necessary. Fran didn’t agree and tried everything possible to get out of that loft, including climbing down inside the walls which only resulted in her having to be fished out, much to her terror.
I didn’t see much need to hide from the humans once I’d been around a week or so. They seemed harmless enough. And then I started to approach T when she’d sit still, letting her pet me, just once or twice before either running away or nipping at her when I got scared. Those first tentative forays into human touch quickly turned into my life’s passion.
Once we’d settled in and T was no longer worried about us running off into the prairie as soon as the door was opened, we were allowed to roam the entire barn and even had a small door to the outside. I’d landed in kitty paradise. Fran didn’t see it that way and chose to move outdoors into the hay shed, coming in only to eat.
Tommy and I became fast friends, always together. He was kind of like a little brother and I tried to show him the ropes of living with humans. By the end of the summer, I’d become completely comfortable with T and Nollind and all of the people who boarded their horses at Almosta Ranch, but Tommy remained much more shy. He did start to saunter over for a quick walk-by petting when T was giving me a rub down, but that was as close as he came to losing his fear.
Fran, well, she remained mostly feral and mostly outdoors, even through that first winter. Tommy and I had Meowi, this wonderful tropics-like place that gets turned on once the weather is cold, so T created a separate place for her. She wouldn’t use it, stayed outdoors, and froze the tips of her ears off in her defiance.
Our second summer on the farm, Tommy disappeared. He’d been wandering farther from the barn, sometimes at night. I tried to tell him he was playing with fire. He didn’t listen, he wanted to explore, and one day, he didn’t come home.
I missed him a lot for a while, but then Fran moved in. I’d thought she was a difficult, scrappy little thing but, turns out, she just really didn’t like Tommy and vice versa. That was five years ago, and in those years we’ve become about as close as two cats can be. She’s been playful, cuddly, willing to share her food, and too feral to hog any of the human attention I love so much. What more could a guy ask for in a companion?
Well … that she’d stayed too feral to hog any of the human attention I love so much. It’s taken time, but she is really getting comfortable with people now and loves to be petted at least as much, maybe more, than I do. It bugged me like crazy at first, but now I’m happy to hang out in Meowi while she gets some loving. I know they’ll come around and give me some too.
So that’s me, and Fran, in a nutshell. I’ll be here hanging out on the beach this winter as that warm (fake) sun shines down. I’ll check in again if I can tear myself away. Until then … Aloha!