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Column: The Kitten Caboodle

Jarde.1 / 3
Tux and Cedo.2 / 3
Tux and Cedo take a break on the 4-wheeler.3 / 3

After the death of my dear, sweet lovable pooch, Molly, in May, the farm became a rather dreary place to visit.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught myself before saying, “Wanna go for a walk, Molly?”, or how often I’ve looked at the spot her pet pillow once occupied, expecting to see her watching me.

I’m sure it’s been just as, if not more, difficult for my parents, who were her caretakers to the end.

We can all agree Molly — the dog who killed snakes, ran like a deer and trained herself to become a house dog in her older age — is irreplaceable.

And so, because we needed something new to love, something furry to pat on the head, a pet to talk to and make us laugh, we now have a trio of cats. Actually, it’s a momma cat and two of her kittens.

We’re certain the momma was at one time a house cat in the city of Worthington, booted or escaped from her home and left to fend for herself on the city’s streets. A good samaritan discovered her one day in the backyard flower garden and christened her the name, “Jarde.” This same woman eventually opened her door to the very pregnant tabby, and with a level of trust built up over time, the cat went inside the apartment and eventually birthed six adorable kittens.

Eight weeks later, to the day, Jarde and the twins of the litter — Tux and Cedo — were captured in a pet carrier and driven out to the Buntjer farm.

We are no longer petless.

The cats have worked their way into our hearts and migrated from the barn to the garage. They nap in the lawn chair, curl up inside a cardboard peach crate and rest on a nest of old clothes inside a storage cabinet. They’ve made themselves at home and, as cats often do, they think they own the place.

Jarde, who absolutely refused to be held by her previous caretaker, is comfortable enough to be picked up now. She expects to have the top of her head scratched, and actually grins when she gets her wish. I’ve even heard her purr.

The kittens, meanwhile, prefer to run and jump and play rather than be cuddled by the Buntjer grandkids. The other day, they were playing with a dead mouse in the garage.

It’s a sign our new pets are doing what we’d hoped — being hunters of unwanted and unwelcome critters around the farm yard.

Now, if only they could get rid of the snakes.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at The Farm Bleat

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