I intended for the new kittens to make their home in the barn. That's always been home base for our cats, and it's where I keep food and water handy for them. I even locked Grady and Buttons in a cage in there the first two nights, so they wouldn't run off.
These cats love people, so if they hear voices, they go running toward them. Grady has strayed twice to different neighbors' yards lured by the sound of their conversation, but was soon found. But ever since they first arrived, the place that draws them most frequently is Cliff's shop; there's always a human stirring around out there, and a bowl of water sitting out for Titan where they can quench their thirst. Cliff has never had a lot of use for cats: He likes them if they're in the barn catching mice, but he doesn't want to touch them, and the less he sees of them, the happier he is.
Within the kittens' first week here, when Cliff unlocked the shop in the morning they were beating him to the door, running in before he could set foot inside. I apologized profusely; he didn't have much to say about the situation except, "I just hope they don't poop in here." (He didn't say "poop" exactly, but you get the idea.)
I glanced toward his big Oliver 1855 tractor and saw the tins of oil-dry beneath it, put there to catch the drips that are inevitable with any older machine... even one that's been restored. "If they start pooping in the shop, I have a feeling those Oil-Dri pans is where they'll do it."
Did you know that Oil-Dri is the same material as cat litter?
What if we got some cat litter and a regular litter box and put it next to those trays? I really doubted that would work, since they were already used to using the trays, but they must have tried it and liked the deeper litter in box, because somebody is using it. I hope they both learn to prefer it, because that's a container I can handle. Besides, real cat litter has deodorizer in it; believe me, these boys need deodorizer in their box!
I'd like to tell you that Cliff has been won over by the cuteness of the kittens, but he's silent on the subject. He doesn't grumble, and remarks sometimes that he enjoys watching them play. Of course, the oldest grandson is the true owner of the shop these days, and he has little to say about the cats either. His wife thinks they're cute, but she's allergic. Boy, did these cats come to the wrong place!
Nevertheless, Cora loves them and plays with them all the time. Yesterday Cliff saw her run over Grady with her Barbie jeep, not deliberately, but because he's always underfoot and in the way. There went one of his nine lives, but he was playing with his buddy ten minutes later as though nothing had happened. I notice he doesn't get underfoot so much now.
Last night I tried to explain to Cliff why the kittens prefer his chair: "It's what cats do," I told him. "They think they own everything. I'm sorry they've taken over your man-cave."
Meanwhile, I've set the DVR to record "The Story of Cats" on PBS.