How many extra pets are there?

At some point shortly after I moved to the ranch, my husband kindly requested that we impose a four animal cap on indoor pets. At that time we had my two elderly domestic dogs and two young feral domestic cats, which I agreed was sufficient.

Within the first two years, however, my oldest dog died and I started joking about the opening of the indoor pet quota. It was really just a joke – we had recently added a baby human to the mix, and another pet was the last thing on my mind.

However, as the honeymoon period of our wedding began to wind down, it became apparent that the ranch man actually thought that four house pets was too much. In fact, he thought three was too many. As it was two. And an.

Zero indoor pets was, it turned out, his ideal number of indoor pets – which kind of hit a nerve with us because I love indoor pets (except when it comes to vacuuming up all the trash they’re dragging…but I’m digressing.)

In the years that followed, the vacancy was temporarily filled with all sorts of creatures, including, but not limited to: baby lambs, chicks, and even a few hens for a night.

Necessary offenses

Truth be told, I regularly breached the cap using temporary status as an excuse. For example, if you’re an avid reader of this column, you know that I let our mommy cat give birth twice in our bathroom when the weather turned bad towards the end of her pregnancy…and then let it hang. the little family out for a few weeks. “Just until the babies start moving,” I said. The kids clapped and the ranch man rolled his eyes.

Newborn kittens aren’t a big deal – at first. Mom Cat is another story. Although she is half their size, to this day she regularly ferries the two male house cats, so during her stays indoors, the house often felt a bit like a combat zone. Plus, the ranch man lived in fear of going into the bathroom after dark and stepping on one of those little baby cats crawling on silent little paws.


The newborn kittens weren’t the worst either. A few autumns ago, after several days of snow and sleet in early October, a hen emerged from the tall grass near the chicken coop with four newborn chicks. She was a wreck and several of the babies were already showing signs of hypothermia. Did I really have no choice but to pick up these chicks and drop them in our laundry room in a box with a heating pad?

The chicks and kittens and Mama Cat have long since returned outside. Mama Cat is neutered now, and we no longer keep a rooster, but the ranch man still reminisces about the night he went to drop off his muddy clothes in the aforementioned laundry room, and I warned him, “Stop! Close the door! We don’t want cats coming in and hurting the chicks!

“Barn cats in the bathroom, chickens in the laundry room…” he said shaking his head, “Are there any doors it’s safe to open?”

The two original house cats remain with us, although they are now docile old men. Instead of two older house dogs, we have two young ones, plus our old Pyreneans who sometimes come too. In other words, the detritus dragged inside has not diminished.

Meanwhile, as the weather gets colder, two of our friendliest barn cats regularly sneak in whenever they can get away with it. In other words, the four animal cap continues to be far more ambitious than real.

Is this how my husband envisioned his life when he proposed nine years ago? You would have to ask him to be absolutely sure, but I think the answer is yes. I had a live chicken inside when we started dating, after all. Plus, it adds a pinch of spice to our otherwise very peaceful marriage – a good recipe for a happy life.


All agricultural news in your inbox!

Comments are closed.