Yesteryear’s Memories: Barn Cat

October 13, 2020

Many of the settlers in Southern Illinois at least had gardens, and many grew crops on a larger scale. Farms have chickens, livestock, stables, outbuildings, and barns. Silos were built to store grain. And where there is grain, there are a myriad of creatures who like to eat it. Rats and mice thrive on the things they find around silos and barns, but their place in the food chain is just below the ever-present cat.

We’ll call this guy Oscar, but he represents tens of thousands of cats who were a part of working homesteads across the area. Good old Oscar was important in keeping down the population of unwanted rodents around the corncrib or the threshing area, and he was happy to do the job. The family was happy to give Oscar clean fresh water and occasional treats from the house, but his main function and fun in life was hunting out the little four legged pests constantly trying to sneak their way into the family’s food supply. Not only were cats nice company, each with their own personality, but they worked just as hard as the settlers at their job.

Cows give milk and chickens give eggs, but they don’t deliver. Oscar loves to bring a freshly caught mouse to your feet. Who could ask for more?