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Horses & cats; let nature take its course?

02 May

Living in Texas has given us the opportunity to visit some big ranches. One thing that stood out to me was that with so many mares foaling, the mares are pretty much left to foal on their own. Ranchers ride out in the morning and do a head count making note of the new foals.

This operation is almost the opposite of the foaling experiences I have had. I was present for the birth of most of the foals we raised and the one we missed was still soaking wet when we found him.

Are we over managing the mares when we watch so closely? Is it better to ‘let nature take its course’?

I was reminded of this again today because of a litter of kittens.

The barn cat has been hanging out on our porch and has looked like it has swallowed a small mellon…so we were pretty sure kittens were on the way. The cat is very, very sweet but maybe not the smartest cat around. Walking down our outside stairs is dangerous for both cat and human as she insists on attempting to rub your legs on each step.

There are barn dogs around too and I have worried about her selecting a safe spot to have her kittens. Will she be smart enough not to have them on my doorstep?barn cat  with kittens in corner feeder

Thankfully she made great use of a corner feeder in an empty horse stall. It is close by and yet well protected from the dogs.

Again, I find myself wanting to take her food, water, secure the doors and take other precautions. I can already feel myself wanting to protect the kittens from potential harm. What is your take on the meaning of ‘let nature take its course’?

 
73 Comments

Posted by on May 2, 2014 in Life, Thought provoking, Video

 

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73 responses to “Horses & cats; let nature take its course?

  1. Just another day on the farm

    May 2, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    I let momma cat pick the place and I am good with her coming to eat and drink at the normal place, she does not want them to close, it might drawn in other critters to her babies.. but a pet and handle daily (because I like to rehome kittens if possible or if I am keeping one or two, I want them super friendly), once they start to waddle, I will close that stall down etc, momma can come and go but not the wee babies.. I do bring food and drink in then for them, once they are eight to ten weeks, then I allow momma to start their farm cat training, or they are rehomed at that time.

    Its a cross, do I think we over fuss, you bet, but do they need help and do you need to interact with the babies to create a great working with us bond.. for sure..

     
  2. Connie C

    May 2, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Follow your instinct.
    Mine is to protect & nurture. Id take care of the kittens, foals, chickens, calves, piggies, mice,…….All creatures, great and small.

     
    • Nancy Nash Powers

      May 2, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      I tend to agree with Connie C. When we are made aware of these situations, I believe there is a reason for it. And, I would step in and ensure they are ok and continue to thrive. That means doing whatever I have to do. For sure, I’d get that mama spayed as soon as those kittens are weaned. That is the very best thing anyone can do.

       
  3. Angie

    May 2, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    I do my best to help without getting in the way if I can help it. I always provide food and water within about 5 feet of mama cats. I keep barn doors closed tightly to keep the draft out and if its really chilly (I live in North Dakota so its winter in May!) I bring mama and her kitties to the garage with a heating pad so I can keep everyone warm and safe…but I’m also that person that gets all the males neutered, especially the adults that stick around long enough for me to catch them. It’s impossible not to feel responsible for the little fuzz balls.

     
  4. Charyl Murray

    May 2, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Leave alone but monitor carefully with web cams….when we have the knowledge and technology why not use them together for our horses……as far as dogs and cats go….there are far too many of them in shelters including kill shelters…..SPAY AND NEUTER ….. you want to care for one ADOPT.

     
  5. judy simmons

    May 2, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Where do you live in Texas?

     
    • Stacy

      May 2, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      We are renting in Bowie, Texas.

       
  6. C.C. Beaudette-Wellman

    May 2, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    I obviously would take the protect and nurture stand, but I can’t help myself! I feel that the animals in our care need our protection. If it was a wild animal, I would only get involved if a human had messed up a situation and then I would feel like a human needed to right the wrong. The motherly “little” voice inside you will tell you what you will feel right doing, don’t question yourself! Maybe spay the cat after this litter?

     
  7. Jeanine

    May 2, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Uh, we have raised dogs, mainly show quality Boxers for nearly 15 years and we don’t let “nature take it’s course”. Nature kills a lot of babies, and sometimes even mommas. I guess if you have a huge quantity of animals loss is just natural and accepted. I don’t have a ton of animals so each baby and momma is important to me. A $2500+ baby is NOT the same as a free barn kitten that you will be trying to find a home for in 8 weeks. Enough bad stuff can happen when I am there, I only imagine if I wasn’t. I also give Oxytocin and calcium which are paramount for dog delivery. I know horses are just trying to get out one baby–as opposed to dogs trying to get out multiple, but at the same time horses have a lot bigger baby. If I breed my mare/s I will make every effort to be present for their birth. To me it’s common courtesy and responsibility to your animal that you bred. Not disrespecting the “ranch way” of doing things, but they are partially at fault for every foal or mare they lose if they weren’t there to at least try to help.

     
    • claudia

      May 2, 2014 at 7:56 pm

      So… what you are saying is your $2500+ babies deserve better care so they live so that you can sell them…….. more than Stacys “Free barn kitten that she will be trying to find a home for in 8 Weeks”? … I think you missed the question here… no one mentioned how much money they could sell the baby for… and did that make the babys life more important than one that was free…. ….. The question was do you step in to help a little life have a better chance of survival or do you let nature take its course and what happens happens….

       
    • Janette

      May 2, 2014 at 8:16 pm

      Dear Jeanine, I have to disagree with you. A life is life no matter the dollar value. Can we really put a dollar value on life?

       
  8. Carli

    May 2, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    I think if you can step in and help then why not? Everyone needs help every now and then, why not do the same for our animal friends? Shutting the stall and providing food and water is just added security. I don’t see the problem. 🙂 Best of luck.

     
  9. Joyce

    May 2, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    I’d let her take care of the kittens on her own and just keep an eye on them. Would definitely put food out for momma cat and for the kittens when they begin to eat. I think that too much intervention can be a bad thing but it’s our responsibility when we have animals to watch over them and intervene if we feel we have to.

     
  10. Patricia Andersen Nickel

    May 2, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    I would do the same…..I have seen the bad and good of birthing …but when it was Dog birthing we were Always there …lol 220 lb…English Mastiff ! We watched over those puppies sooo carefully ,because of her weight she could smother them . Thankfully she never did and was a fabulous mother! ….maybe it’s our Motherly instinct !
    Never had a foal being born….but saw a few Freinds horses , and I’d have to say I Would Be There For The Foaling. But I feel there are way to many unwanted foals and horses out there , people should not breed …just to have a foal. My heart just breaks for all those foals at Last Chance ..glad to hear your thinking of donating your saddled for them…great idea !

     
  11. Jamie

    May 2, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    …Seems like with horses things either turn to a catastrophe’ or they go fine, not a whole lot in between, although for red bag deliveries etc, TIME is of the essence and you must be there, for me I only have one or 2 horses and I cant afford to lose one. Some of these guys with 50 – 100 head, its just the cost of doing business and they write off the loss. its cheaper than hiring someone to watch them all. our farm cat once had a litter of kittens right on the TOP of a horse apple pile in a stall. REALLY CAT? the whole hay loft? cat beds and boxes and this is the best you can come up with ? I picked everyone up and moved them to a box…sheesh.

     
  12. Amy Brandt

    May 2, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    I Let nature run its course for the most part. But if I feel their is a REAL danger or threat I definitely step in. When it comes to cats. She will probably move them if you get to involved as she will feel as they are threatened. My cats do anyway. As for horses, I also will let nature take its course to a point…. I’m very watchful when my mare foaled but did not want to make her to uncomfortable by me always stepping in. I heard her foaling early in the morning, checked on her frequently but did not stay, as she would start looking to me and stop labor. She is one of a kind though. Use your better judgment, follow your heart and mind!

     
  13. peggy E

    May 2, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Call me an over manager! I will do everthing in my power to nurture and protect, that way if something does happen, I know I tried… and I will have no regrets!

     
  14. gmudget102

    May 2, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    This kind of goes back to your post about what is “natural” for the horses. You shaved your mini’s and blanketed your horses because you knew that you were taking them to a whole different climate. It’s not “natural” for the horse to be blanketed or shaved during the winter, or ever, but it’s also not “natural” for a horse to go from Ohio to Texas in two days. You have to do what you feel is best for your animals, you have to protect them. Horses in the wild give birth on their own, of course, but they aren’t bred with thousands of dollars put into the foals before birth. It wasn’t “natural” to use a segregate mare to raise Roxy’s foals, but that was safer for a horse that was still competing, you had her best interests in mind. I don’t know what I would do if I bred my mare, I would probably sit in the barn watching her for hours until she gave birth because I am pretty protective of her and I don’t know what I would do if anything were to go wrong, but God created animals with the ability to give birth out in the wild by themselves. God gave that little barn cat the instincts to go somewhere safe, out of the way of dogs, and horses to have her babies because she knows what is safe for them. I would love to see pictures of these kittens as they get bigger!

     
    • Stacy

      May 2, 2014 at 6:44 pm

      Just took a video!

       
  15. Lor

    May 2, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Please get kitty spayed! I volunteer at a shelter with over 700 homeless dogs and cats…! That being said, I would be monitoring the situation. Pregnancy and birth can lead to fatal complications.

     
    • Stacy

      May 2, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      We have always spayed and neutered all of ours. This one isn’t ours…
      Question for you; most shelters won’t adopt to barns, they want them to be house cats. Have you found that to be true in your area?

       
      • Kathleen

        May 2, 2014 at 7:07 pm

        There used to be a program in parts of Texas that rehomed feral strays as barn cats. We adopted a few when I lived in Mesquite and they turned into nice social cats. Great mousers as well.

         
      • Jamie

        May 4, 2014 at 8:46 am

        VERY true in our area, in fact I tried to adopt a Great Pyrenees recently to work with me and be a livestock guardian dog, the dog would also be allowed in the house, but NOT 24/7, I was turned down because he wouldnt be in 24/7….WHAT great pyrenees likes being inside all the time, no wonder they go crazy and act out. I need a dog to be out doing what im doing.

         
      • Sharon Hill

        May 7, 2014 at 4:28 pm

        There are shelters out there that adopt to barns. I think they are realizing some cats aren’t suitable for home life.

         
  16. Jessica

    May 2, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    “Let nature take it’s course” means, to me at least, that if an animal is seriously sick or injured sometimes it’s better to let them pass on. Letting nature take it’s course doesn’t translate to being neglectful. I think things are out of our control sometimes. But with foals and kittens that you are able to save, I say save them if you can. Shut the barn door, let the mama cat have extra food, etc. I bet the ranches you visited would be more hands on with the foals if they didn’t have so many. Sometimes large numbers limit what we want to do and force us to focus more on what we need to do.

     
  17. Lena Cannon

    May 2, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    I left all of my Quarter Horses and my Paints along when they were foaling. The only time I interfered was if the mare was in trouble. I kept a close eye on them but I didn’t interfere with the natural process unless I absolutely had too. They had their babies out in the field. That first day and a half gave the mama plenty of time to bond with her baby.

     
  18. Dawn Swiger

    May 2, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    I would get involved because we are part of the nature chain. If you feel it is in the best interest of the animal then I would say “yes” to getting involved. I know one farmer had to make sure to be there for the delivery of the foal because the sack would not break for each delivery.
    I do like CC’s comment about getting the cat spayed. 🙂

     
  19. Tanja Cornwell

    May 2, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    To allow nature to take its course is within reason in certain circumstances. I believe in that, but also observe and keep careful watch and take note of potential dangers and warning signs. I do believe God created everything with potential for healing, however, he also commanded us to have dominion over his creations, which has more meaning than “authority” (or bullying), it really means to be a good steward over his creation, and that includes care taking..! Research the Hebrew word in the scriptures, and the meaning will become clear. 🙂

     
  20. MJ

    May 2, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    When the momma cat had her first litter of kittens on the back of our old mare, we had to step in and take matters into our own hands. 🙂 We feel it’s best to monitor and only step in if needed.

     
    • Stacy

      May 2, 2014 at 6:42 pm

      Yikes! Photos would have been good…dangerous but good.

       
  21. Nikki Schleppe

    May 2, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    When I was young our houses were left to themselves to foal, we didn’t lose many… one or two that I can remember. One in particular because the mare decided the mud was a good place, no one was around to intervene. I think though, knowing that mare, she wouldn’t have made a good mom and intervention would have been a big part of her foals life. On another note we had a cat who wanted to have her kittens behind the couch, as she washaving them moved her to what we thought was a comfortable place. She continued to abandon the new ones and go behind the couch to have the rest… in the end we let her do her thing, she was convinced that was the place and short of locking her up it wasn’t changing. Makes me think that mare would have been the same way. I think we need to ask ourselves what the harm is and what the consequences are… I think we intervene too much and sometimes nature knows what we’ve lost touch with over the years of micro managing life. As a mom we tend to over protect and cushion and sometimes we do more harm than good not letting our kids figure things out. I’d say if there’s no real imminent danger (she’s not paying with them in the freeway) let the kitty be the mom she’s gonna be.

     
  22. Carolyn E Williams

    May 2, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    The coyotes are bad where we live (Montgomery, Texas); so, with that said, we have some cats that really know what a “safe” place, so we take precaustions for the not so “street” smart cats, the other do fine on their own, in the feed room, the tact room, my office. The horses I watch very closely when getting ready to foal, want them in the mare foal pen stall when getting ready to foal. Some of the mares that have foals a couple of years straight I can pretty much predict when they are going to foal, and I put them in the mare foaling pen/paddock every night. The mare with first foal expireance I keep pretty much in sight (have stables apartment next to foaling stall) we will spend the night in the apartment, and can hear Everything going on. One year we had 17 cats killed by the coyotes, so I guess I am a little PROTECTIVE… Also worry about the young foals, keep them up at night; and always ware my side arm ❤

     
  23. Brad Thornton

    May 2, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    I always bring them in and put them in a safe place and monitor their progress for their safety and my sanity!!

     
  24. GimmeADream

    May 2, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Let nature take it’s course as much as possible. Watch without interference, if possible. If watching and all is normal, stay as far away as possible, to give the new mother her own space to get to know her newest addition.

     
  25. Marilyn J. Hatfield

    May 2, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    I’m too much of a Mother Hen too, Stacy. Our Golden Retriever had puppies in 2011. We had a whelping bed in our kitchen. The puppies were so frantic to get to the nipple, we had to intervene. We put the puppies in a laundry basket, allowed Ginger to lay comfortably in the whelping bed, then we literally poured the puppies out near her tummy. You never saw such frenetic scrambling – 10 puppies for 6 effective nipples! They pushed each other off and hung on like gangbusters upside or upside down, but they all survived!

     
  26. sarah

    May 2, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    I grew up with horses on one side of my family (all geldings) and cattle on the other side of the family. We never watched over the cattle giving birth just a head count every morning with feeding. If there was a cow having trouble we of course helped. Sometimes lost the cow and sometimes the calf and sometimes unfortunately even both if not found in time. The heifers were always in the field closest to the house for more sipervision. But I always thought horses were different and needed to be watvhed more carefully. But I follow so many horse farms and ranches where they do it the same as we raised our cattle and I was a little shocked. Basically because most mares are not like cows. I’ve never seen a cow attack another’s calf but have heard of mares being nasty towards other’s foals. As for the kittens I have always stepped in! At the race track I helped my uncle(groom and trainer) at when I was a kid a cat had her kittens in a horse’s stall. The horse never stepped on any of them and was probably the safest place to keep them at first. But at home I always worried about raccoons, opossums, birds taking advantage of the kittens. I would move them to safer places but the mom would just move them again. I used to want to be an equine vet when I was a kid and wished I had chosen that path all those years ago. Always loved helping animals and still do.

     
  27. brett

    May 2, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    I had a mare sent here a month ago to foal and breed.. she was 11 months and 4 days since the last breeding, she didn’t wax but I set the alarm for 2 am this morning.. went out and had a foot out.. then a head well long story short the other leg was bent back and I fought like hell trying to straighten things out, had the vet on the way, finally I was pushing it in and he was fighting to get the leg up, we did get it and the colt on the ground, he isn’t doing great but still alive and getting up for short periods… don’t know if he will live or not at this point but… the mare will be fine… she sure as hell wouldn’t of been if I had not gotten up and checked.. oops I better go… time for his bottle… and this isn’t my colt..

     
  28. Stephanie Holden

    May 2, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Being a nurse for years and always thinking of how to save a life, unless it truly can’t be……I mother everything,our mare when she foaled (I was in the stall the moment the first hoof showed itself), The cats I have had (have always been at the births and stayed to watch for any problems). I don’t know how to not mother them all……particularly since I was a labor and delivery nurse. Lol

     
  29. Country Granny

    May 2, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    We watch but don’t help unless absolutely needed. Many times I’ve seen things I thought showed the animal to be ignorant but later I’d become aware of a good reason for the choices they made. I have to fight the tendency to micro-manage but this only produces offspring and pets that expect things to be figured out and done for them, instead of the more desired “independent’ type to do and think for themselves & thus learn from mistakes. When I had chickens I would move the sitting hen out from the layer pen and give her own safe pen. There’s too many predators here and I wanted a good hatch but the rearing was left to mama. Every person has their own way of doing things for their own people and animals in their life. I don’t look down on others that don’t share my point of view as it’s just a difference of opinion and not necessarily of how much we love/care.

     
  30. patnewmex

    May 2, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Since we are part of nature, yes, let ‘nature’ take her course. It’s different that this is a barn cat, not a feral cat. Really the situation depends on a lot of the circumstances. Baby birds fallen out of the nest? They usually do not survive under care of humans, even if they are brought to a rescue. Their chances of survival is so low. What is your time worth? Are you enabling or endangering the life of the babies? Lots to think about. If you ‘help’ a baby chick/duck/goose out of the egg, it usually means death for the chick. They must make their own way out of the shell, unaccompanied. I know little of horses, unfortunately.

     
  31. Heather

    May 2, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    So the sentence ” let nature take its course” When we are selectively breeding our horses for many different reasons such as, time of year for foaling and possibly for size, raising them with good feed, not roaming free, and sometimes keeping them in a confined stall to safely foal out, you certainly cannot call it such. There for I believe it is very important for us to keep a proper eye on our mares as they near foaling.

     
  32. Maria

    May 2, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    As a veterinarian, my opinion would be to ensure she has access to good quality kitten food and water (as the kittens will start eating it as they get weaned and mom can use the extra calories while she is nursing), and then spay and neuter mom and kittens when safe to do so. Keep watch as pregnancy and kitten rearing doesn’t always go as it should, but try not to interfere if things are going well. Also, make sure the kittens are well socialized in a safe manner! Also, vaccines and dewormer are an excellent idea.

     
  33. johanna

    May 2, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    it depends on the animal species.
    cats do great on their own for the most part, better than what we do for them, unless it is an exotic variety like persians. barn cats do extremely well on their own and furthermore kittens grow up learning to search for food right away: ie-they learn how to earn their keep well by becoming excellent rodent ”controllers” ;). plus, their wild food sources–rats, mice, birds, etc are better food sources for them than what we feed them in conventional pet foods. (supplementing pet foods are fine, of course, but a good part of their diet being rodents is great.
    the other part of (cat) intervention that is beneficial is vaccines–Rabies in particular, and judicial spay/neuter unless you want to be over-run by cats!

    dogs are a bit more domesticated than cats, and do well with some help, especially the highly bred strains.. (someone mentioned English Mastiff–they would be better helped by humans than not; some breeds, like English Bulldogs, CAN’T do without humans). some of the wilder, feistier breeds and mutts do great without people, in the right environment.

     
  34. Karen

    May 2, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Help her out anyway you can. If something happens to any of the kittens or the mother, you will never forgive yourself.

     
  35. Terri Jones

    May 2, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    My mare foaled about 6 years ago. I wasn’t there for the birth {only missed it by a few minutes}. But we are glad we kept close watch on them because we found out my mare’s milk hadn’t dropped so the foal had to be bottle fed for a few days. Then after about 4 to 5 days the foal developed Sepsis and almost died,…happened very quickly. But thankfully all was well in the end and he is now a 6 year old gelding TW. And quite spoiled. I always say keep a close watch on any animal that might need assistance when it comes to babies. I do that with the chicks and turkeys we have as well as the kittens. That is how I have ended up with 2 cats living in my house now. Momma died and I raised the babies. Never ending cycle.

     
  36. Janette

    May 2, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    It’s like most things, it’s all about finding a healthy balance.
    It depends what the animals are comfortable with, eg: if you were to bring the ranch horses into the barn the stress could do more harm than good.
    Ps, do you have good homes for the kittens?

     
    • Stacy

      May 2, 2014 at 8:15 pm

      This is all happening at the barn where we are staying so they are not mine. They were wanting more cats though. Did you know that many of the rescues won’t adopt to barns? I guess the mice around here will be in trouble shortly!

       
      • Janette

        May 2, 2014 at 9:00 pm

        Excellent!! So pleased to hear the baby’s are a welcome addition.
        It’s a shame the shelters don’t give the cats a chance at life in a barn. My neutered barn/stable cat has the best life. He has the best of both world’s. He has his freedom in a safe environment and parasite free.
        Claudia summed it up perfectly.” We get by with a little help from your friends.”

         
  37. Kendall

    May 2, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Spay & Neuter and you wont have that problem.

     
  38. Cyn Hanrahan McCollum

    May 2, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Understanding I’m opening myself up to major flaming, I will first ask is this your cat in your barn? Or is it a barn cat on a ranch were you are staying at the moment? Not yours? Not your business.
    Barn cats are semi feral, have great instincts still intact that natural selection leaves in. It would be great if the owner wormed and vaccinated them, but if not, still none of your business. Spay and neuter? Very expensive, and to be honest, natural selection, predators and sheer dumbness take care of excessive populations. Water in the barn, yes. Food on regular basis, but scheduled and portioned to not interfere with their job: Varmint control. While the litter are neonates, food and water in the same stall with her. But once they are up on their feet and weaning, they are on the barn schedule so they stay barn cats. Everyone I know who has them has acquired them from another barn. Most spay and neuter, but they have one or two or three and are not full time farmer/ranchers. They provide vaccines and worming, food and water, and mom provides rodents and teaches them their job. Some get kicked. Some get stepped on. Some get carried off by predators.

     
    • Stacy

      May 2, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      Not my cat. You are correct, it is where we are boarding. I guess I should have made this clear…thanks for asking.

       
      • Cyn Hanrahan McCollum

        May 3, 2014 at 8:06 am

        Ask the barn owner. You have a good heart.

         
  39. Sharon Hill

    May 2, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    When I was in school my cat had kittens in our basement. When the first one came out I ran upstairs to tell everyone and she followed me dragging the kitten behind her still attached. She didn’t want me to leave her. So every animal and situation is different. How you feel about your animals is different. Obviously herd horses don’t have the connection with people as stalled mares. The lengths some farms go to for foaling is swinging onto the other side of the pendulum. Me? I would always be there. Hovering if nothing else. LOL

     
  40. Janet Sproles

    May 2, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Nature bears watching!!

     
  41. Linda Myers

    May 2, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    When God gave man dominion over the animals, He also gave the responsibility of good stewardship.

     
  42. Paige Macfarland

    May 2, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    I think horses wait to birth at night when no one or thing is around. All animals have their way . I don’t think they want to be watched. We may represent mountain lions moving in for the fresh kill. Even though they accept us being there, do they really like it? This is my thought.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

     
  43. Barbara Schreier

    May 2, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Please, please take care of mama cat and her babies. Find homes for the babies, making sure they get spayed/neutered and spay mama cat. Too many kittens makes for crowded animal shelters and unnecessary euthanasia.

     
  44. Linda Stotzer (OH)

    May 2, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    I think if mama cat is handling it, then I would just make things as easy as I could so she can do her job. I would try to make it so dogs and other critters couldn’t get to her. Bring food close so she can do what she needs to do.

     
  45. Annie Gass

    May 2, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    To be still alive after the death of your father or other loved one, or your Roxy, or some creature you feel responsible for, is a painful thing, and for many a guilty one. What right do we have to be alive when someone whose life was perhaps as important to us as our own is dead? What could/should we have done?
    For me, it has helped to remember that death, illness, and injury are all parts of The Plan. ALL living things will die, and most will suffer for some portion of their lives. To set ourselves as stewards who feel we must prevent ALL possible suffering and death at all costs is to overstep the will of the Creator, as well as our own limits.
    For myself, I try to use my gifts of knowledge and judgement, first, to avoid CAUSING suffering and death. Then I prioritize to use the resources I have been given to mitigate suffering and/or to enable recovery, hopefully resulting in a stronger, healthier individual than if it had not suffered in the first place. Tiny example: I will not help a newborn foal to stand until I am CERTAIN it will never stand without my help. Then I might help it to stand and nurse. Or I might give it a bottle of sugar-water, milk, or colostrum to see if the additional energy will give it the needed boost. I might call the vet to soft–splint weak or crooked legs that we hope will recover. Or I might ask him to put it to sleep. My decision will be influenced by whether I will be able to get to work on Monday if I stay awake all weekend so this foal can nurse once an hour, because if I lose my job my children won’t eat.
    But your question is really: if we CAN help, must we? Should we? I think the answer might lie in this: Who are we serving? The creature? The Creator? The opinion of others? Our own pride and will? We who are given the ability to reason must take the responsibility of doing so. We must prioritize.

     
  46. Casey Whitaker

    May 2, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    I keep my mares UTD on shots and feed them Mare and Foal feed with extra hay (I dont have hundreds of acres for my horses to roam). But some things cant be avoided, if I get a still born foal then there is nothing much I can do, if the foal cant get up I let mama take care of it. There are alot of things that us humans cant help and should not push on. Some babies just aren’t meant to be. If the kittens are in the feeder off the ground, and out of harms way then best thing would be to leave them and let her take care of them…

     
  47. claudia

    May 2, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    Wow,…. you have a lot of philosophical answers here to what seems like a simple question…. The way I feel is…. We get by with a little help from our friends! So yes I am a nurturer.. I would help mom every way I could. And dont forget the old saying… It takes a village to raise a child. lol My 2 barn cats have heated water, heated kitty cave in the barn in the winter… all their shots and they are friendly and well taken care of. It bothers me to go to friends barns that spend thousands showing their horses but wont spend a penny to care for their barn cats…

     
  48. Tama eller

    May 2, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Protect them and keep them safe. Interfere when you have to.Nature can be cruel, and uneccessary injuries ,illness, or death can occur if we do not watch over them. We have domesticated them, so we are now their guardians!

     
  49. Bernadette d

    May 2, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    I would choose to of course look after the mother so then she can look after her babies. Once they are old enough to find homes for , keep mom and have her desexed . Then enjoy the company of your new four legged friend

     
  50. Julia

    May 3, 2014 at 12:21 am

    I’m one of those people who will step in and help if I can because I can’t just stand back and let nature take its course. It’s just not who I am. But I fully respect others who feel it is better to let nature take its course (like the ranchers you describe). I don’t think either of us are right or wrong, we just do things differently based on what we believe, how we were raised, whether we watched too many Disney movies (just kidding about that last one). Just like I eat a lot of meat and a friend of mine gags just thinking of eating meat, we just do it differently, but neither of us do it wrong.

     
  51. Lesia Lowe

    May 3, 2014 at 1:13 am

    I say call your mom and bring rollie pollie a friend or several friends….. or better yet i will holla for you…….MOMMMM….. Mrs. Sherri?…..Stacy needs a favor! ! HELP!!!!!!!!

     
    • Stacy

      May 4, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      LOL! I would send my mom a zoo full if I wasn’t careful…I considered making it ‘Westfall Horsemanship East Headquarters’

       
      • Lesia Lowe

        May 4, 2014 at 5:35 pm

        hee hee….. poor MOM…. she might need to make a TEXAS visit soon then!!!!

         
  52. kerro

    May 3, 2014 at 2:08 am

    I have a hard time letting nature take its course. Overall you could say I have a hard time of letting go. Death is not an easy thing for me to accept, especially when there’s a new bundle of joy on the way. I feel like a mother to her newborn whenever I lay eyes on a new addition. I get a very strong urge to protect it. Even when it came to my younger cousins and siblings. I was always the protector. Though most people don’t feel inclined to protect everything. However for some reason I feel inclined to protect everyone that I can.

    My grandma Sherry has barn cats and I love nothing more than seeing and naming the new additions. Whenever there are new kittens, we normally wait for the mama cats (Acer & Rylee) to bring out their kittens. Normally they have them hidden from the tom cats or other potential predators. I’d suggest leaving them be for a while. Make sure the mama has food and water, she’ll appreciate that a lot. If they’re going to be barn cats I’d suggest making them friendly ones. It’s not fun getting bit by a hiding and scared barn cat when you’re maneuvering in the barn. Tango was a mean, mean, little tike (we have no idea what happened to him). Then again his momma wouldn’t let us anywhere near him. So yeah. xD;

     
  53. Wendy Anne Bowers

    May 3, 2014 at 5:49 am

    It’s pretty straight forward to me: the smaller your operation, the more you stand to lose. Especially if you are into breeding your own show/work stock. The more hands on the sooner, the better.

     
  54. Diana Pieters

    May 3, 2014 at 6:53 am

    My humble opinion is that our animals are domesticated and thuss no longer used to the real nature. As we have choosen to “have and to hold” our home pets (dogs, cats and yes, horses too) we are the ones to look after their wellbeing. We can let have nature her course but still watch over incase nature needs a little hand or two. I have mares giving birth without any help but I needed to help out several others or I would have lost one or both…..Nature is very hard and don’t say thats just right cause only the fit ones need to survive….when a foal wasn’t mend to be thats perfectly true, cause when its not healthy it will show but loosing a foal cause the sac was very thick and he just died because of that??? Is not our intent when we breed horses. Do we? I think in the same way of our cats and dogs.

     
  55. Kathleen

    May 3, 2014 at 7:48 am

    Raising domestic animals means taking care of them, so that they are more dependent on human care. We have taken them out of the wild & put them into our circumstances/environments for our convenience so of course we must provide the care of food, shelter, & addressing health issues because we have made an emotional as well as a financial investment in them & we desire to prolong their life to our benefit as well as theirs.

     
  56. Ilene Roberts

    May 3, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    I will use our chicken experiences as the basis for my opinion. We live in the city and decided to get a couple chickens. Well… a couple turned into a dozen. In the beginning because we had no mama hen we provided a heat lamp for our babies, once they were old enough to be outside we took away the heat lamp.
    Even in dead of winter here, we do not provide heat for them… the reason being, if the power goes out, then what? They’re used to having extra heat provided and then it’s gone. Chickens temps are higher than humans, and they’re wrapped in a down comforter to boot. When you look at the heat that one chicken puts out, in an insulated coop that is 4′ by 4′ square, those girls are pumping out a good deal of heat!
    My other fear of having a heat lamp is fire. A woman we know had 2 coops burn down in the night killing all her chickens both times.

    I think that even though animals are domesticated, their instincts still kick in and they are somewhat self sufficient. Especially if they were raised that way. The range mares, if left to their own devices, their fillies will learn the way and will be fine dropping their babies just as their mother dropped them.

    I think that mama cat of Stacy’s knew that she needed to find a safe out of the way place that was secure and hidden. That was instinct. I think she should be left on her own and as one woman above said, interact with the babies to socialize them as the mother allows and then just let her be. They’re pretty good at their jobs when people let them be.

     
  57. Cindy Loader

    May 4, 2014 at 12:08 am

    I have seen too many people try to treat their animals like people. Animals that live in natural areas, like horses on pasture, are healthier than those that live in small pens with blankets and grain. Fewer vet bills and no colic situations. If you watch horses in pasture, the ones without blankets on are far more lively. We have a mustang that would pull blankets off horses that were visiting our pasture. He knew what was best for them.
    When we start taking over, they rely on us to continue. Just like a wild animal that has been living in captivity. It is very hard for them to survive back in the wild.
    Have you heard the saying “We are killing our horses with Kindness?” I believe that happens.
    I find it very hard to visit barns where horses live in little pens. It would be like us living our lives in our bedroom with little escapes when someone decided to let us out to see the sunshine.

     

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