Tiger came to us as a wild little kitten, catching my son's heart. He worked with her over several months until she was tame and very lovable. Who knew this little ball of fur would become a most revered guard animal.
How this came to be we are not sure. One day two of the New Hampshire Red roosters started following Tiger around. After that, they never left her sight. In order to feed Tiger, we had to put her and her food between the door and screen door. Otherwise, the roosters would eat the cat food faster than she could.
Shortly thereafter, Tiger sent the neighboring farm dogs running home with their tails between their legs. That is when the entire chicken coop became her domain. She would enter the chicken coop each morning when I feed. The hens would circle around her and she would observe every one of them, even the chicks, as if she was the Queen of the Coop! Never once did I see her hiss or harm any of the birds.
It became a daily event to see my mom walking to the mailbox with Tiger and two roosters in tow. Now, we did have a miniature donkey for protection but he just did not seem to be the threat that Tiger was. Even though the turkeys were much larger than she was and they tended to stay with Pepper, our donkey, Tiger would come to their aid also.
Tiger tolerated our dog. They seemed to have a mutual respect for one another and kept their distance from each other. Of course, our dog could care less about the roosters or other animals. I am sure in his mind he was King of the Farm and those other animals just were not allowed to venture into his areas.
I have always had roosters with my hens for protection. But when I started losing hens to predators, I knew I needed help. I felt Pepper, our miniature donkey, would be the answer. While he got along with most of the animals, he tended to let them loose instead of watching over them. I guess he felt freedom was more important than safety.
Tiger served as our guard animal for four years and the day she died was a sad day for our entire family. We have never had another cat like her nor do we think we ever will. Some animals just know their place within a family and she will always be remembered as a special part of ours.
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