Why won’t Lynkx be a house cat? He wants to go live in the barn. How do I know this? Because he hangs out by the barn door and looks pathetic. But Jackson would miss you – let’s face it, I’d miss you and your furry self hanging out with us. And it’s cold out there, dude.
But let’s back up a little bit and get some perspective. Lynkx used to be a barn cat. When he first came to us, we were living in Washington state, and he and his brother Morpheus came to our farm to be the official barn cats. We went through the routine of making sure they knew where they lived, and then we turned them loose inside the barn. They settled right in. They knew their job, and they were good at it. They would also come up to the house and stare through the slider at us, especially on the particularly chilly days – and up there, the cold and the rain made for some really cold moments.
When we moved back to Colorado, there was no way we were leaving them behind. So we found a house with a nice little barn, and we brought them with us. But it was chilly, and the cold here is different. It was also a spring with multiple snow storms, something with which they weren’t particularly familiar. So when we moved in, we kept them in the house – first of all, so they would know where they lived, and secondly, because we wanted them to stay warm.
It didn’t take long, though, before Lynkx especially was standing at the front door, gazing over at the barn. I’d stand next to him, and he’d look up at me like “I know that’s where I’m supposed to be.” So one day, I opened the door and let him out. He strolled right across the 100 yards to barn, slipped under the door, and settled himself in. He didn’t come back. Morpheus followed shortly thereafter. They were better at knowing where the barn was than we were with trusting them.
We were there for a few years, and then decided that we needed more space for our coaching business, so we found the place where we currently live. This barn is actually a huge indoor arena, different from the other barns the boys lived in. Plus we moved here in December, a VERY COLD month. We were concerned about the boys being able to find a place in the barn where they could hunker down. We didn’t have much out there, and has a high roof and gets really cold at night, since it’s metal. So once again, we left the boys in the house.
That was four years ago. Lynkx and Morpheus got used to being in the house, and as the days grew warmer, there was no inclination on their part to go any farther from the comforts of indoor living than the deck. So they did, indeed, become house cats, although we still let them outside when they asked, because they were savvy, and knew where home is.
Morpheus had a love/hate relationship with another of our cats, and over time, he got fed up with his self-imposed seclusion in the basement. He went outside one day, and never came back. I could feel when I opened the door for him that he was saying goodbye. I felt him for a long time in the neighborhood, and whenever I would check in with him he was very happy and loving life. He lived out his existence on his terms – and that’s the way he was. He always went his own way.
Lynkx, on the other hand, became more engrained in the house. He’d sleep on the bed at night, and go out occasionally during the day. Now that we’ve been here a few years, however, he seems to think it’s time that he resumed his duties as official barn cat. When he goes out now, he almost always goes down to the barn. He can’t get in; there’s no slipping under these doors. But he’s making it abundantly clear that it’s time to let him do his job.
This spring, in probably a few weeks, we’ll install a small cat door so he can slip in and out without the dogs being able to get in there with him. There are warm spots for him to sleep, a cat tree to hang out in, and we’ll leave food and drink for him there. He’ll still be welcome in the house any time he desires. But he’s told us it’s time someone was patrolling the barn, and that’s his job. His friend, Jackson, has struck up a relationship with brother Ry, so while he’ll miss Lynkx, it won’t be the end of the world. And who knows? Maybe Jackson will decide he’d like to go to the barn now and then, too. He’s trustworthy and has been working on his outdoor skills. We’ll listen, and let our hearts be open to what they want.
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