Technically, the cats at my farm are feral cats. They aren't exactly barn cats because most of them don't live in a barn - some of them may live in the hay loft, especially when they want to hide their kittens, but mostly they live elsewhere. Some live under my front porch, some live under my swimming pool room, and both of those groups can access the crawl space under one wing of my house - which is good in the winter time because there's a heat duct in the crawl space. Recently, I've realized that some of them are living rough out in the bushes and brush piles, as though the colony has split into lots of separate little family groups.
Two of my favorite kittens are now half-grown males. It's the time in their life when they might be driven away by the dominant male - and the dominant male has suddenly become a big black tyrant - a tough male with facial scars who appeared out of nowhere. Last year, the tomcat was a very sweet orange tiger, one who almost let me pet him and spent most of his time watching the farmyard from the roof of the boarder's lounge building. He seems to have disappeared and been replaced.
I want the little half-grown males to stick-around, so I captured them last night in a live trap and took them to the vet this morning. Their surgery was uneventful and all is well, I left them sleeping off their drugs in the open cat carrier, in a shady spot near the feeding station. I hope their testosterone will disappear asap so the black tom doesn't hurt them - or, at least, doesn't hurt them anymore. One of them, Tiger Boy, has already been pretty well beaten up. He had been gone for a couple days and then was hiding at the end of the driveway when I decided it was time for the trip to the vet. I have my fingers crossed for both of them, especially Chick Boy who is the little gray tiger in photographs earlier in this blog who grew up with the chickens. He greets me at the driveway gate every time I arrive at the farm - which is where I'm going to go now (Gotta spend some time with Gibby!)