When Emily Bott and Dylan Loewke visited the old farmhouse, the first thing they noticed was all the cats lounging in the front garden. The property appeared to be accompanied by 15 barn cats, which definitely piqued the couple’s interest.
“We asked the estate agent if the cats were going to stay and were told they would all leave once we moved in.” Bott told The Dodo. “Once our offer for the house was accepted, my friend took the liberty of asking the cats to stay in the house. At first I was worried, as I had never had a cat before. However, I was working for the local humane society at the time, so I figured I could at least neuter or rehom them if absolutely necessary (spoiler alert: I didn’t have to).”
The previous owners fed the cats dry food, but that’s all they did. Many cats had health issues and some had not yet been neutered. The couple immediately took responsibility for ensuring that the 15 new cats received the care they needed. On top of that, the next step was to gain their trust.
“We only had one cat, Valencia, who was friendly and approachable at first.” Bothe said. She was our queen. We discovered that other people were curious and interested, but it took them months (even years) to trust us, approach us and get closer to us! There were certainly a number of people who were curious and interested in us. I’ve spent many nights sitting in the driveway throwing things at them, feeding them, wrapping them in toys.”
Eventually, after much effort, the group managed to get used to their new parents. Not all cats are used to being handled, but they love and trust Bot and Rourke very much. Now, it’s almost certain that wherever Bot and Rourke go on the property, they’ll be accompanied by at least two or three cats.
“What I’m trying to say is it’s a blessing to live with so many cats in the barn,” Bott says. Every time I go out, they immediately greet me.” A couple follows me almost everywhere on the estate and accompanies me when I brandish a bag of treats. It even happened to me that a group of them followed me near the entrance to the domain to collect the mail. Valencia even runs down the street when she sees my car in the driveway. Since moving in, the couple have taken in another alley cat, Tofey, who gets along well with other people. Eventually, they hope to start their own animal shelter to help cats in need.