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Sarah is allergic to cats. So it came as something of a surprise when she rescued a very small kitten from the yard log pile and set about looking after it.

And even more surprising when she expressed an ardent desire to keep it once it was tame. She has named it – Woody –  which is even more of a problem because no animal ever named here has ever got away.

It began when she told me she’d heard a mewing in the log pile. I knew she hadn’t been drinking because it was 10 in the morning. So I followed her to check it out. And yes, something was mewing in the log pile and it wasn’t one of our farmyard ferals. Sarah then spent several hours trying to tempt it out with food, chasing it up and down the lane through the hedgerow, getting into the neighbour’s garden to coax it out of their bonfire, but it was clearly terrified.

So we resorted to putting up an old puppy cage in front of the log pile and stocking it with milk and cat food. That did the trick. It came out to feed but shot back into the protection of the logs the moment anyone appeared. We tried using a humane magpie trap (although what’s humane about that I don’t know). This didn’t work because the trap was too complicated. But finally the local Blue Cross came up with a special humane cat trap, and lo! Woody fell for it.

She currently lives in a large cage in the schoolroom above the barn. Sarah spends several hours in there every day feeding her and playing with her and she is gradually getting used to human contact (the kitten that is – not Sarah – she’s totally feral). She’s an undeniably pretty tortoiseshell and can’t be more than eight weeks old.

Next stop, Annathevet will be along to check her over and vaccinate her.  Once inoculated, Sarah thought that Woody might like to live in the hay barn with our ferals but I have a feeling they might not take to a rather more tame cat living with them – Marmalade and Clementine are pretty wild and would probably bully her. So once again, we have another stray – in the last five years Sarah has rescued a llama, seven sheep, two other cats, two ducks, a rabbit, and a tortoise. Folk in the village are starting to question whether stray animals actually accidentally end up on the farm, or whether Sarah’s reputation as an animal fosterer / soft touch / mug (delete as applicable) has spread so widely that visitors along the public footpath have just taken to dumping their unwanted pets on our land.  All of the aforementioned animals still live on the farm – only the llama left and that was because he was ten feet high and I hadn’t built a ten foot high fence. The tortoise lives in the conservatory, the rabbit lives very companionably with Geoffrey the cockerel and some of his hens, and the ducks live with some other ducks Sarah bought to keep them company. But Woody can’t live in the house (allergy), nor with our ferals (uncertain future). The only answer I can see at the moment is that I stay in the house with Woody and Sarah goes to live in the barn with the dogs.

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