Fluffy Jo is our fantastic, beautiful barn cat. It all started one night in early May, 2017 while we still lived in Colorado, when Connie got a desperate text from her daughter Sarah. It said that our grandchildren had discovered some young kittens under a house, and our oldest granddaughter had brought one home and asked Sarah if they could adopt him, a cute black and white male she had already named Fluffy. Sarah understandably had qualms about trying to maintain some semblance of order in an apartment with five kids, a big dog, an iguana and a kitten, (I mean, really!) and texted her mom an S.O.S. So, Connie to the rescue!
She came home with our new kitty, assigning him the more unique and respectable name Fluffy Jo. The next day I took a snap of Connie with a big grin as Fluffy Jo clung to her shoulder.
He stayed alone in the garden shed at night, and we let him out to roam the gardens in the daytime. When he was only about two months old he killed a bird. That wasn't good, but we wanted a cat with the killer instinct, and Fluffimus Maximus sure had that.
Prior to all this, Connie and I had attempted to get a barn cat to help keep the mice and other vermin out of her large Colorado Springs garden shed, but it didn't work out. My brother Chuck and sister-in-law Audrey, who own five acres near Topeka, had about fourteen semi-domesticated cats. Connie picked out a pretty longhair female, and we transported the unhappy feline back to Colorado Springs in a carrier. Unfortunately the cat was totally feral, never killed a mouse and actually became a pest herself before finally running off.
In late June it was time for Connie to move to our Oklahoma homestead and start fixing it up. We put Fluffy Jo into a car carrier and he rode with Connie in her pickup truck. Over the next few months our kitten grew into a big, strong tomcat. Now when Connie goes out to tend our goats, Jo always goes with her. He seems fascinated by the goats, and often keeps watch over them. He's bagged a ton of insects, a couple of mice, some mouse-size moles and a few really unfortunate frogs. Recently I helped Connie build a house for him, a pretty fancy set-up with a steel roof and insulation.
I don't know if he'll sleep in his new kitty house this winter, or if he even knows that he's a lucky cat, but Connie and I really love Fluffy Jo.
Postscript, May 18, 2018: Today our sweet kitty Fluffy Jo passed away. He fell victim to cytauxzoonosis, a tick-borne disease that only affects cats. He was only about 14 months old, but he had some amazing adventures in his short life. We loved him so much. It's a sad, sad day at Rancho Romero.