The one where June’s friends do better

As you know, I have friends named Chris and Lilly, whom I met through this blog. I met them back before I was guarded about people I meet here. I’m sorry, but sometimes it gets weird here, y’all.

Anyway, it was back when I wasn’t guarded, circa 2011. I was newly separated, and perhaps open to new experiences, and they wrote me. “We live nearby and love your blog. We have a place in the country. If you aren’t scared to do so, come by because we have baby chicks.”

I was there before they even pressed Send. And honest to god, that is how we became friends, which if you think about it is dangerous. The whole thing is sort of weird, but we had no awkwardness for even a moment and they failed to kill me even though we were way out in the country and there were a million places to dispose of me.

So anyway they’re out there living my life, the life I’d have if I knew how to, for example, raise baby chicks. They now own two stores—a nursery and a feed store—and they have two kids who are wholesome-looking.

Many decades ago I had this coworker “friend” who turned out to be kind of a dink. But at the time I enjoyed her company and hung around her a lot. She was befreckled and wide-eyed and pretty and had straight hair. I had this artist boyfriend who was hot, and I always felt insecure around him because frankly he was better-looking than I was.

“Don’t you find my friend Dink to be really beautiful?” I asked insecurely. That was before I knew about anxious attachment.

“No,” he said, “not really. She looks too wholesome, like she should always be carrying a lamb and drinking a glass of milk.”

Too wholesome. Like I was Nancy Spungen, over there.

Anyway, Chris and Lilly’s kids look wholesome and for all I know they’ve literally held lambs and they certainly drink milk. They know way more about horses than I do and they are only somewhere between 2 and 15.

My point is this: The other day Lilly texted me. She was at work and heard some rustling in some hay. Or straw. Is there a difference? When I go to work, back when I went to work, I never encountered hay.

Or straw.

She went to investigate, and right there is the difference between Lilly and me. Well. That and she once got a pony for Christmas. I’d have run screaming for the hills had I heard RUSTLING in my work hay. My first instinct would be snake. Snake with an attitude. Nancy Spungen I am not.

But Lilly is no-nonsense, part of my no-nonsense friends collection. Collect all three!

She went over there and immediately texted me, because

it was a mom cat and three kittens.

KITTENS!!!

She and Chris kept me apprised, and it took many days of humane traps and photos of angry mom cat looking like she wanted to speak to the manager. She is straight-up feral and did not appreciate any of this.

Chris and Lilly just lost one of their barn cats, who was like 109, so I know they planned to keep one of the cats. The mom just never warmed up, so they gave her to a nearby shelter that deals with ferals and finds barn homes for them after they’ve been rehabilitated and learned the 12 steps or something.

“What about the kittens? Did they ever calm down?” I asked, riveted to any situation that involves cat things.

This was my answer.

Goddammit. Is that a …?

COME ON! That’s a Siamese kitten! How did they go out to their work hay and find

A

SIAMESE

STRAY

KITTEN?

Even the black one, your run-of-the-mill black kitten, is spectacular. Look how pretty its COAT is.

They finally caught the third one and it too is black and I really don’t know what will happen next, except they’ve named two of them (Midge Maisel and Betty Draper).

Also, Corona schmorona. I am dying to go meet them and possibly slip a Siamese into my purse when I go.

Enviously,
June

78 thoughts on “The one where June’s friends do better

  1. Kitties!!! There is nothing better than kitties except maybe puppies and baby goats and baby cows and baby horses. OK everything baby. You crack me up when you don’t know how old kids are. I was watching some show the other day and I thought of you. The lady was introduced to her boyfriend’s children and she asked the daughter who was about 8 if she wanted a glass of wine. The little girl asked how old she thought she was and the lady said I don’t know, 10? 22? 4? The little girl snorted took the glass of wine and walked off. I was OMG that is so totally June.
    Anyway, lovely post, Coot.

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  2. This post has reduced the tension in my neck and probable elevated blood pressure. Thanks so, so much. I needed this. Glad the Chris and Lilly clan is growing. Kit-tens !!!

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  3. We had dozens and dozens of barn cats when I was a kid (literally – there would be 15-20 kittens a summer) and occasionally you’d get litter with Siamese markings out of a very ordinary mama.

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  4. Siameses are THE best. I love them so bad, I do.

    Like…how? The daddy? Wayward gene pool from Siam itself? Lol.

    Siamese!!

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  5. Those kittens are adorable June. Your friends are such kind people for taking care of momma cat and kittens.

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  6. I need some advice on this topic. I have a 16 year old female indoor cat, Lulu, and 2 weeks ago I got 2 new kittens. They were found under a porch and the vet estimated they were maybe 5 weeks old. I kept them in my bathroom for the first week then moved them to my room. They were so little (1 lb each) the vet recommended to keep them away from Lulu for a least a week since they were tiny and needed ‘confidence’. Long story short, I’m still hesitant to introduce them since Lulu hisses at them if she see’s them. Should I just bite the bullet, open the bedroom door and let them meet? I’ve introduced dogs to kittens but never an adult cat to kittens. Lulu is very sweet so maybe I’m making a bigger deal out of the introduction than I should. Thank you and I’m sorry to high jacking the comments but I know you guys, especially June, have some experience with this.

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    1. You older cat will hiss. That will happen. Have they had their shots? I’d wait till they got their shots to let them meet.

      >

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      1. Thanks so much! They don’t get their shots until next Thursday so I’ll wait until then. Thanks again!

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    2. Have you put some of their bedding where she can smell it? Maybe put some of hers where they can lie on it to get their scent mingled with hers and then give it back to her. If you have a kennel, put them in it so they’re safe in her presence…while you’re in the same room. She’s an old cat, and as an old lady I’d not be thrilled with little children either. Whatever you so, be sure there are places she can go to get away from them.

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    3. Hi Megan, I have a 12 year old male Maine Coon who never been around other cats since I adopted him at 7 weeks old. Two years ago I rescued a male kitten that I found in a horse pasture. I went through the steps (isolating kitten, Vet check and shots). The cats sniffed each other from under the door crack and played by sticking paws under there. The older one did hiss when I finally let kitten roam around but soon they were playing and sleeping near each other. Six months later, I was given two female siblings to foster (7 weeks old). I went through the same steps. The Maine Coon was a little horrified that the 6 month old and the younger kittens became a pack of swirling, hopping, running cats. But I think he was relieved that his “baby” could now raise the girls. The 3 youngest still groom each other, sleep together etc. But they love the Maine Coon and he bends down so they can reach his head to lick and groom him ( but only for 1 minute and then the big paw comes up as a threat and they rub against him and walk away). So yeah I kept them all 😍 Andvi learned the little ones are no threat to the older kitties. As long as your older cat doesn’t hurt them, all the kitties will gradually accept each other.

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      1. I should have mentioned I got Lulu and her brother when they were 6 weeks old but he was diagnosed with stomach cancer and I had to put him to sleep last fall. They were both raised with a rambunctious pit bull who passed away 4 years ago so she is used to being around other animals. I brought the kittens’ bedding out to the couch where she sleeps and she rolled all over it and has been sleeping on it. Hoping that’s a good sign. I’m going to wait until after they get their shots next week then I’ll introduce them. Most people I’ve talked to told me to just let them meet but I was skeptical of that advice so I really appreciate all of your input!

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    4. Hi Megan! Def wait to do introductions until after shots and negative test results for things like feline leukemia. Internal parasites like tapeworm, etc may also, um, emerge from your kittens & could be transmitted to your adult so isolate the kittens until you get an all clear on that too. Kitten food, water, & litter boxes should be kept separate since pathogens (like worms!) can spread that way too. But once you’re sure the kittens are healthy this is what worked for us when we had a tiny (2 pounds! Squeeeee!) kitten & a hissy but sweet adult cat to intro:

      * Swap spaces: let the kittens explore the adult cat space while adult is *not* in that space and let adult do same. This allows 1) kittens to learn the new territory without a scary or exciting new cat present 2) everyone gets to smell the other cat scents.

      * Footsies under the door: this is prob already happening! Let everyone play footsies under a closed door & usually the hissing turns into happy play.

      * Baby gate mediation: With a person *inside* the kitten rooom, open the door to the kitten room but block access with a baby gate. Kitties can touch noses, etc through the gate lattice but the barrier keeps things mellow. If anyone tries to go over the gate, you can stack 2 gates in a doorway for a good barrier. Just watch the kittens as they may climb the gate & could get hurt. That’s why we always did this with someone inside the kitten room. Person on kitten room duty is there to entertain, snuggle & keep kittens from scaling Mount Baby Gate. We did this technique *a lot* and it really helped acclimate our adult cat. She had total control & could observe the kitten interlopers from afar or a-near according to her mood.

      When you finally let everyone be together, you may want to have an adjustment time where you do not leave the kittens and adult cat alone together. Slow steps may be unnecessary for many cats but we did this with a happy kitten but hissy adult situation & the end result was harmony. They adore each other now, snuggle together, bathe each other, happily share stuff, etc. I hope your new crew are just as happy together!

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      1. And June thank you for sharing this sweet story. It reminded me that there are still good people out there – like Chris and Lilly – who do good, selfless things (kittens are cute but they’re unexpected work, expensive, etc and helping a feral mom is a whole freaking skill set! Your friends are wonderful!). My heart really needed this to remind me that our world is broken but good people exist & that means something. Thank you for your lovely blog.

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  7. “…in my work hay.” Ha!
    The kittens and even the children are adorable.
    OK, I have a question (sorry, I haven’t read the comments yet; perhaps it’s been answered): So if C&L found a barn cat in their barn, why are they going to give it to a shelter that will find a whole different barn for it??

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    1. Because they don’t have the expertise to help it adjust. Don’t be judgy. They just took on 4 cats they weren’t expecting.

      And, as the comments say, they are keeping it, for now at least, as the shelter is closed.

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  8. When C&L’s adorable children aren’t holding lambs, kittens are extremely cuddly and cute. Your story of taking kittens to the car dealership reminds me of the time I took a basket of kittens with me on a drive to Florida to visit family. (Can I say kittens one more time?)

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  9. Those children – wow so adorable! And the kittens! I had a wonderful and beautiful Siamese – she lived 16 and a half years – 8 of them as a diabetic on 2 insulin shots a day – yet she was a delight! She purred sooooo loud and had those gorgeous eyes – and her fur would darken in winter…. and she kneaded me all the time. She was total elegance and I loved her so much. But now I have Mr. Peaches – a feral rescue orange tabby – who is the delight of my life. He is loving and talks to me all day and clings to me most of the time… and he is sure not elegant. Just saying – they are all wonderful and have such uniqueness! But that little Siamese could steal my heart in an instant…

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  10. I think you should explore a love connection with Tom McKernan (Dad of Dan from Saved By The Barn.)

    He could provide many animals for entertainment, but there is a staff to take care of them all!

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  11. Sorry about the two posts. I thought my first one disappeared. I think my avatar looks like a corona virus.

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  12. I almost cried when I saw the photo of the Mama cat, she looks like my scaredy-cat, Trudy. She’s been with us nine years and is still afraid of us on occasion, but she owns the place, as they do. Those kittens are so cute, makes me want one, but I’ve acquired another stray cat, Sgt. Stripes. The best cats we ever had were brought to us by their mama, but she wasn’t feral, just a sweet kitty abandon because she was pregnant. I bet those kittens aren’t given many opportunities to walk on their own four feet. Look at all those sweet faces, kids and kittens.

    Chris and Lily’s children are beautiful. I can’t believe how much they have grown, must be that country living and all that milk. What a great way to grow up, on a farm.

    Extraordinary post!
    Tee

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    1. She almost looks like she could be the Secretarial Mgr. from Madmen. Great but don’t cross her!

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  13. The photo of the Mama cat almost makes me cry. She looks like my scaredy-cat, Trudy. She’s been with us nine years and still is afraid of us on occasion, but she owns the place, as cats do. Those kittens are adorable, makes me want one, but I’ve acquired another stray cat, Sgt. Stripes. So glad Mama cat is going to be part of their family in the barn.

    Chris and Lily’s children are beautiful. They have grown so much, must be that country living and all that milk. What a great way to grow up. I bet those kittens don’t walk on their own four feet very often because they are being held by the kids.

    Lovely, lovely post.
    Tee

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  14. Hi June,
    I got behind again. I have been sort of obsessed with the news and press conferences. Thank you for your rule. I know that this all begins with me, and even though I have done a lot of work, I still have A LOT more to do.

    Those kittens are adorable! Totally worth going out.

    Lovely post(s), lovely June!

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  15. I love black kitties, we have 2. They are Hey, Jude and Sgt. Pepper, both 12 years old. Also love Siamese, we lost ours last summer. He was cross eyed and talked up a storm. It’s very quiet around here. But, boy, have the 2 black kitties come out of their shells since his demise. He was a little thing but definitely the alpha male.
    Edsel would love to mother those sweet kittens.

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  16. Those kittens are too cute. You take the Siamese and I’ll take a little black house panther. Dying of the cute!

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  17. Those pictures make me want to be a kid again. My grandpa had a farm and I loved being there in the summer.

    Am I the only one who thinks Edsel should get to meet these new kittens?

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  18. Chris and Lilly’s children are so beautiful – they just look so healthy and happy and natural. They are fortunate to grow up on a farm like that.

    Those kittens, I would take all of them. So cute!

    A day in the country will do you good, Jooon!

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  19. KITTENS!!! Remember that time you brought a pregnant cat inside and she had kittens on your bed while you showered? I have pictures. Of the kittens. Not of you showering.

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    1. Do I remember. It was October 7, 2002. I had Margaret Brown, the mom, and then Wheatley, Garland, Ivy, Burt (Marvin named Burt)…

      Oh my god. What were the other names? *WHAT WERE THEY*? I begged Marvin to let me keep Ivy, as she used to sit on my shoulder, and he said no. Ass. Marvin had spoken.

      Forest! One was named Forest.

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  20. Could Chris and Lilly possibly have a better life? Farm in the country, 2 gorgeous kids, and now kittens? I think not.
    Enjoy your trip to the country. And kitnap one of those kittens.

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  21. Your conversation with the artsy boyfriend and your description of your dink co-worker is like something from Seinfeld or Sex in the City maybe. Hilarious. TV worthy.

    Enough about the kittens (insert sneeze and eye rub and an inhaler puff), those kids are TOO cute. My soft spot is reserved for little ones afterall.

    Love that the ferrel wants to speak to the management.

    Just discovered yesterday that a HUGE raccoon is living under my deck. One (the same one?) had babies under the deck 2 years ago. We had humanely relocated the mother to a nearby forest preserve BEFORE realizing there were 4 TINY babies under there. We brought them to a rescue. Not planning to relocate her this time out of fear that there are babies again but if they pop my blow up pool on my deck that is serving as my happy place we are maybe gonna rethink our hospitality.

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  22. Wow – that mama cat was PISSED!! She definitely wanted to speak to the manager. I love the way those kids had dirty and skinned-up legs – it gives me hope for the future.

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  23. Thanks for bringing us all some happy feelings this morning. Thank you for still not blogging and taking the time to link and post such beautiful photos.

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  24. Those knees! The children have been crawling around in the barn for sure. I reread the Christmas pony post and laughed at your and Chris’s reaction.

    When a stray mother cat brought me her four kittens from the woods they all looked different. Orange long hair female, gray long hair male, flame point Siamese female, and tan short hair male. That’s when I learned litters can have multiple fathers. Snow Pea’s father was a Siamese gentleman with a crook in his tail, and I only saw him few times. That was in 2002, and Gingersnap (the first one) is the only one still alive.

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      1. Thanks, Florence. Their names were Gingersnap, Huckleberry, Snow Pea, and Butterbean. My friend loves to cook so we came up with food-related names. There are entire books out there with cat names, complete with pages devoted to various themes, but we came up with them ourselves.

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  25. Thanks for the news about good things today. Kittens are good. And can I just say I love how the little girl is all covered with scratches and bug bites and bruises (not in a call CPS way) because, um, somehow that still happens to me every summer?

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  26. Oh my heart with the Siamese! My previous wonderful, beautiful girl, Lucia, was a long-haired Siamese. Her eyes, so incredibly blue. She was affectionate, lovey, and had the funniest little non-meow meow. Keep that girl in the house. What a cutie.

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  27. Edit: We still have momma cat as the rehoming program we were going to take her to has shut down because of Covid. We will have her spayed and she’ll stay on our farm.

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    1. We had a similar situation and the feral momma finally got the hang of things. Having a safe place to retreat and a steady supply of food, she now has lived on our suburban deck for about 8 years, which is a long time for a feral. We can’t get anywhere near her, but she loves her little bed, her heated house for winter and treats at 10pm every night. It’s awesome! Best wishes!

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    2. Mama cat looks just like my cat, Trudy. She was so afraid of us when we discovered her sleeping under a pine tree in our yard. She’s still extremely shy and afraid of a lot of things and most people and we have had her nine years. A friend that works with cat rescue said that is one of the characteristics of that breed of cats, she told me the specific breed, but can’t remember for the life of me. Trudy finally warmed up to us and now beats us to our bed at night. Give that Mama cat time.

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  28. Black cats hold a special place in my heart but that Siamese is sublime. I want a Snowshoe Ragdoll in the worst way. Kittens and a ride in the country! What could be better?!

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  29. Lovely post, pretty June – and gorgeous book picture at the top! That’s magazine-shot level of photography!

    I just realized how little I know about cats…looking at the photos thinking how many fathers did Momma cat see to get that variety of fur? Guess I have to stick to dogs – plus I pretty much have to mainline Clairitin to be around cats so there’s that.

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  30. That first picture of the kittens made me gasp out loud. THEY ARE SO PRETTY!!!! And now my dream of living in the country has fanned back into life.

    Chris and Lilly: How do you find time to do all the farm things, animal things, parent things AND run two businesses? HOW???

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  31. That Siamese is chock full of attitude! He/she is meant to be part of your household. Yes, I’m a kitten enabler. Why do you ask?

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  32. Well, this is a post of total cuteness! Go have a fun day in the country sun. The UV rays will take care of any germiness.
    Lovely post, June!

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    1. Also, why do we all have the Cross Purple Monster avatar? He wants to speak to the manager, too.
      Bah!

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      1. Hahahahaha! Oh my god! I came over here to look and it’s a SEA of Grimace! This is fabulous. I hope it keeps up all day.

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          1. Mine was made just for me, by an artist, because I am incredibly fancy. Not find-a-purebred-in-your-work-hay fancy, but fancy.

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      2. Fuzzy kiddenses! I am positive that Chris and Lilly are so much better than you and their kids are so wholesome and full of milk, that not one of them could possibly have a Coronavirus germ in them. Go hug kiddens. That also cures whatever ails you.

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  33. Those kittens (heart eyes emoji)

    Also, have you linked to their store before? I know you have. I’m a local and I always forget and want to visit. After you know (waves hands dramatically in air) all this is over.

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  34. Those children are beautiful and wholesome. Maybe there’s a Siamese feral running around there too. Good luck prying them away from the kids. Aunt Kathy

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  35. LOOK AT THE FACES ON THOSE KITTENS!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake anyone up with my yelling but those are some adorable kittens. Want.

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  36. Collect all three ! Will she ship ? They are so cute ! My goal is to someday be mom to a black cat.

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