One of the first things Emily Bott and Dylan Loewke saw when they went to look at an ancient farmhouse was all the cats just hanging around in the front yard. The pair was obviously attracted by the 15 barn cats that appeared to be included with the property.
“We asked our realtor if the cats were going to be left behind, and we were told that they would all be gone by the time we moved in,” Bott told The Dodo. “Once our offer on the house was accepted, my boyfriend took it upon himself to request that the cats stayed on the property. I was apprehensive at first only because I had never owned a cat before.
However, at the time, I worked at the local humane society and knew, at the very least, I could get them all spayed/neutered and even rehome them if absolutely needed (spoiler: it was never needed).”
The cats had some dry food left out for them by the previous owners, but that was about all the attention they got. None of the cats had been spayed or neutered yet, and several of them had health problems. The couple immediately decided to ensure that all 15 of their new kitties received the attention they need. The next phase was gaining their trust after that.
Valencia was the only cat at first that was approachable and sociable, according to Bott. Our queen bee, she is. It took months (and sometimes years) for the other animals to gain enough trust in us to approach them and even pat them, but I could tell there were a few others that were curious and interested in humans. I entertained them with toys, fed them catnip, and spent a lot of evenings sitting in my driveway tossing food at them.
Finally, after putting in the work, the pack warmed up to their new parents. Even though not all of the cats are comfortable being handled, they still love and trust Bott and Loewke very much. Every cat has a name and a distinct personality, and the couple wouldn’t trade any of them for anything. Now, wherever Bott or Loewke go on the property, they’re almost guaranteed to be followed by at least a few cats.
Living with so many barn cats has been a gift, according to Bott. “I’m greeted by them right away every time I go outside. There are a few who will follow me practically anywhere on the property, and if I shake the treat bag, they will all come running. To get my mail, a large group of people lead me down the driveway. When she sees my automobile on our street, Valencia will even sprint down the driveway.
Since moving in, the couple has also adopted Tofey, another barn cat, who has gotten along well with the other members of the pack. They were motivated to rescue animals in need by their gorgeous pack of barn cats, and they hope to ultimately open their own animal refuge.
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