Barn Cats

At first they were just kittens
That happened upon this farm;
Two very little furry things
We found out in the barn.

Though it was so very easy,
To tell one cat from the other,
The hardest thing to figure was:
Why wasn’t there a mother?

You see these kittens were very young,
Hardly two months old, if that.
And it seemed to us they were too small,
To be far from their momma cat.

But here they were, oh sure some shy
But brave enough to chance,
Showing that they were fine cats
By rubbin’ against my pants.

And after I discovered them,
Or they discovered me,
I shouted out, loud toward the house,
"Come quick, and look and see!"

My son, just now some six years old
With his mother right in tow,
Came running from the farm house near,
So that he would also know.

By now these kittens they were purring,
And I think that they were sleeping,
When my boy and his mom came running up
To see the secret I was keeping.

And when he saw these kittens purring,
And lying by the doors
My son, whose name is Andrew, said,
"This one’s mine, that’s yours.

You see, my boy had just decided,
These cats had found a home.
And there wasn’t any other need
For them to further roam.

"It’s not easy taking on some critter,
It’s more than you could wish!"
"It’s serious taking care of pets!" I said,
As I went and got tuna fish.

Well, those cats they ate so very quickly
All that I had brought,
And if I could read their minds, they said,
"We’ve found the home we sought!"

It took no time to realize,
These cats were ours to keep,
So I built a cozy wooden box
Where they could rest and sleeep.

It seemed just right and proper
That a farm should have some cats,
To prowl about and guard the barns
From squirrels, mice and bats.

"They’ll be barn cats!" I proudly stated,
"Out here they’ll sleep and stay."
"They’ll be happy livin’ in these barns,
They wouldn’t have it another way."

Now every cat should have a name.
(Or at least cats that come to stay.)
So the black one we called Midnight;
Called Smokey, the one that’s gray.

In the barns these cat’s had found a home,
They explored them every day
Checking out every nook and cranny
And sleeeping up in the hay.

But before you know it these cats became
An oh familiar sight,
On our back porch just before
A stormy, summer’s night.

And every morning there they’d be
Outside the kitchen door,
Waiting for some canned cat food,
One bowl, and then some more.

When summer days turned into fall
And the fall to winter’s snow,
The nights turned long and bitter cold;
And strong north winds did blow.

I started worrying about those cats
Out in the barns all night.
Wondering if they’d be warm enough
Hoping they’d be all right.

Apparently, these cats of ours
Were thinking the same as me,
And they’d already figured out
The house was the place to be.

Then came a stormy, winter night,
With temperatures down low;
The wind a-blowing like a gale,
And piling up the snow.

Just before I went to bed,
Turned off the final light,
I looked outside the kitchen door
And saw a sorry sight.

The cats were looking up at me
They were hoping I’d decide
To let them in the house this night
I gave in and said, "Come inside."

I think that you can probably guess
What’s happened ever since,
The cat’s come in whenever they want
There’s no one to convince.

They found the spots they like the best,
On a sofa, bed or chairs
They chase each other ‘round the house,
And up and down the stairs.

The cats still leave the house each day,
And sometimes spend the night,
Sleeping high, up in the hay
Beyond our reach or sight.

They pretty much go in and out
And do just as they please
Chasing mice in tall grass fields
Or climbing in the trees.

It’s only just now been twelve months,
Since two cats showed up here;
Just four seasons have come and gone,
Since those kittens did appear.

Still, it’s hard to remember the day
When these kittens caused a fuss,
They’ve become a part of our family,
Like they were always here with us.

© 2003 Skimmer

Skimmer Poems © Robert Hartnett 2005
Robert Hartnett
(518) 296-8841