Barn Cleaning

The barn door slowly creaked open on a warm and sunny November day. I peered inside, squinting my
eyes against the darkness. Beams of light pierced through the darkness amongst the rafters. It was the
first barn I’d ever been in, and it was filled with over 70 cats.

As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I noticed an object in the corner.“Oh wow,” I exclaimed, “It’s a hay
thing!”

“Hay bale,” Greg the senior volunteer corrected. “We need to winterize the barn for the cats with this.”

Sarah came in at that point, looking as stunningly authoritative and confident as ever. “You have to
make little beds for the cats,” she explained. “Make sure you compress the hay enough so that the cat
has plenty of insulation.”

At this point the feral cats which made the barn their home began to emerge from the shadows of
the barn. Black cats, fluffy cats, orange cats, all peering out at us curiously. I attempted to engage in a
staring contest with one, but Greg advised against it: “Some cats take it very seriously.”

The other volunteers were moving hay into hiding spots for the cats as Greg and I secured litter boxes
full of hay into the wall with a power drill. The cats began to appear more and more as the volunteers
started to fill their food dishes. Although the barn appeared completely empty when we’d first arrived,
the number of cats congregating around the food displayed how truly adept they are at hiding.

Either way, it was pretty impressive.

We took shelving units we built earlier and stacked them on top of each other, providing little cat trees
for them to climb on during the winter months. The room we were in had a heating system which would
provide a warm haven during the chilly Michigan winter months.

We secured the homes for the kitties, proud of what we accomplished.

“Hey,” I told Greg, “Is it okay if I run through the corn field?”

“Sure,” he replied amicably.

Stepping out of the big barn in the autumn sunshine, I ran over to the fields, recently plowed. Inky
Tinkerton, the resident manx cat, ran alongside me to play in the unseasonably warm weather. It had
been another great experience of volunteering at the Mid-Michigan Cat Rescue, and I couldn’t have

asked for any better way to embrace the warm fall day.

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