barn cats, cats, former foster dogs, fostering, fostering dogs, Humane Society of Shenandoah County

Moles Plus Dogs Equal Cats

Our yard looks like a five-year-old was turned loose with one of those mini back-end loaders you see in public park sandboxes.

Only there are no children here, just moles.

And dogs attempting to find the moles.

In trying to address the worsening problem, I suggested we needed a barn cat. After all, we never had this problem in PA where Tonks, our fabulous orange barn cat, ran a tight ship. No mice, no moles, and very few birds in or around our barn and gardens.

So, I asked Melissa from the Humane Society of Shenandoah County if they might have a barn cat available. She said they always have barn cats. She would get back to me.

Not long after, she emailed to say they had barn cats for me. Plural.

Well, two would be good I thought and told Nick so. But then the email arrived with the specifics. It wasn’t two cats, it was four cats culled from a local retirement home that was closing. The rescue had thought they could adapt to indoor life, but they definitely could not. (I didn’t ask for specifics as to how they knew that.)

Four cats are a lot more than two cats, and Nick was alarmed at the news. I assured him, they wouldn’t be an issue. If they were like Tonks, he would hardly know they are here. Besides, with the size of our mole problem, an army of cats might be called for.

Melissa and another volunteer from the humane society came over last Thursday and installed three crates in the barn in a small room we use to sort the recycling. This seemed like an appropriate spot for our recycled cats. It’s temporary, though, as the cats will stay in the crates for two weeks so that they learn where ‘home’ is.

The crates have an upstairs (cleverly created using crate dividers, cardboard, and zipties) and downstairs, and are covered with blankets to create a cozy space where, hopefully, they will feel safe and adjust to their new surroundings.

The plan was to bring them over last Sunday, but Patricia (who was currently housing them in her shed) was unable to trap them. By Monday morning, they had managed to trap three of four, so they were transferred (very carefully) from trap to crates. I’m not a cat rescuer, at least not on the level of these women, so I mostly just watched the process, impressed at their well-crafted system.

Mama, Tom, and Jill are certainly not happy, but they seem to be adjusting (no longer turning over their litter box, food, and water bowls).

Ian is home for spring break, so he’s taken on the task of giving them proper names. All of our cats have been named after Harry Potter characters, so he’s polling his college friends to come up with good names. So far only Mama has a new name. She has been christened Bellatrix because she’s the cat most likely to hiss and yell at you if you mess with her (which basically means lifting up the blanket and aiming a camera at her).

The fourth cat, Jack, is still eluding being trapped. Reports this morning are that he tripped the trap but didn’t get caught inside. Clearly he’s a clever cat. Ian is leaning towards naming him Sirius.

The hound dogs are still here and still hoping for a family of their own. The enjoy being outside most, but are also very happy that I’m finally installed in my office so I spend my days in their company.

If you’d like to know more about these sweet pups, contact me, and if you’re interested in adopting one or both, visit

On Sunday, I had a very brief visit with Lily, a special mama dog I fostered back in the winter of 2015/16 who is being temporarily fostered by family friends. Not the best picture, but she was wiggly, and the visit was super quick. Still it was a treat to see this sweet girl and give her a few snuggles and a treat.

Until Each One Has a Home,


For information on me, my writing, and books, visit

If you’d like regular updates of all our foster dogs past and present, plus occasional dog care/training tips, and occasional foster cat updates (!) be sure to join the Facebook group, Another Good Dog.

And if you’d like to know where all these dogs come from and how you can help solve the crisis of too many unwanted dogs in our shelters, visit and subscribe to our blog where we share stories of our travels to shelters, rescues, and dog pounds.

If you can’t get enough foster dog stories, check out my book: Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs. Or its follow up that takes you to the shelters in the south One Hundred Dogs & Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues.

I love to hear from readers and dog-hearted people! Email me at

2 thoughts on “Moles Plus Dogs Equal Cats”

  1. Moles? Yikes! Here’s hoping the quartet make that situation a distant memory soon. Sweet Lily…what an adorable face. Can’t say enough how adorable the Hound Dogs are. Love that ‘come hither’ look in the dog bed.


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