Audrey Pavia
June 8, 2010

Urban barn cat

Photo by Audrey Pavia

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Foxy enjoying her new life as an urban barn cat.

When Foxy was born some eight years ago in an apartment in Brooklyn, no one could have imagined she’d end up spending her senior years on an urban farm in California. Funny how things work out sometimes.
Foxy belonged to my mother-in-law and father-in-law, who lived in a tiny one-room studio apartment in Greenwich Village, New York City. Foxy had lived with a few other people before she found her way there, including with my brother-in-law in a relatively spacious two-bedroom in the Village until he talked his mother and stepfather into taking her. Seems Foxy was quite the handful.
A big, fluffy beauty, Foxy would scratch the flesh off anyone who dared to reach out to pet her. Everyone but my father-in-law, however. She came to love him and would tolerate no one else.
Foxy’s life was probably not ideal in that small apartment, living with two heavy smokers who didn’t always get along. I spoke to an animal communicator about Foxy when she first came to live with us, and was told she didn’t like her former home.

“There was a lot of smoke and they were always slamming doors,” the communicator said, according to Foxy. She sure got that right.
So when my mother-in-law passed away two years ago from cancer, with her husband following behind her only two weeks later, Foxy had no where to go. Because of her cantankerous nature, family members talked about sending her to the city shelter, where I knew she would most likely be euthanized. My husband and I couldn’t handle any more loss of life in such a short time. We opted to bring her back to California.
Foxy had never been outdoors in her life, and given her previous living conditions, I figured she would be content staying in our very nice garage. It has windows and insulation, and is about the size of Foxy’s former apartment. I couldn’t see her living in the house with us given her bad rep and the fact that we had four cats already.
She seemed okay being confined to the garage for the first couple of weeks, but then decided she needed to explore the world. She began dashing out the door at every opportunity, and became more impossible to catch, despite the fact that she had come to trust me and would let me to pick her up now and then. It was clear Foxy had her own ideas about how she wanted to live her life. No garage cat was she. She wanted to be an urban farm cat.
These days, Foxy spends her time roaming around our half acre, harassing lizards, stalking birds she can’t catch (the big bell on her collar scares them off every time) and rolling around in the dirt. In the late afternoon, we lure her into the garage for her dinner, where we keep her confined to protect her from coyotes that prowl through the night.
Whenever I look at her, I think about the grumpy New York City apartment cat who has since become a friendly, happy urban barn cat. She has become a fixture on our little farm, and I can’t imagine life without her.

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