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Robin The Barn Kitten

Updated on September 11, 2014

Robin (The Barn Kitten) Arrives

This is a story lens about our cute kitten Robin who just appeared out of the blue on the last day of Spring 2012.

We had just started to feed our horses one morning at around 6:30 am and as we were putting out the grain I turned to my left and saw this poor little worm ridden kitten looking at me as if to say, where's my breakfast?

My wife turned around from the stall she was cleaning and exclaimed "what a cute little kitty" and the rest as they say was history. We checked around and none of the neighbours would admit to having lost a kitten. So at about 6 to 8 weeks old it seems this kitten had found us and decided we would be good foster parents.

Robin staring to grow
Robin staring to grow

What Do You Do When a Feral Kitten Arrives?

We had no prior knowledge of keeping kittens or cats for that matter, although we had both had cats at home many years earlier. Strangely Shauna my wife had taken to looking at cute kitten websites and had recently downloaded a cute kitten picture as a laptop wallpaper - Be careful what you wish for!

Our next question was the obvious one what do you feed a starving young stray kitten? I gave him a saucer of milk and some bread soaked in it. I was lucky because apparently a large proportion of kittens are lactose intolerant, but this little fellow apparently was not, but still did not appear too impressed.

He survived and ate the milk and bread. Next I did some research and discovered that feral kittens carry round worms often being totally infested, fleas, of which I found two that I picked off with my guitar players long finger nails, and I later discovered ear mites. So it was off to the Feed store for a wormer, food a collar and leash, so we could safely walk him, whilst we were waiting to check him in to the local vet for the necessary shots etc.

The right things to do would be:-

1. Make him a soft bed to lay on an old towel is fine.

2. Set up a kiittie litter - clumping or non-clumping personal preference

3. Get kitten food, which is properly balanced to support his growth

4. Worm, Treat for fleas and get the recommended shots from your vet.

5. Arrange to get your new pet spayed (female) or neutered (male) - at about 6 months of age or as per vet suggestion

6. Love and enjoy!

One of Robin's Favourite Perches - To Watch the Horses
One of Robin's Favourite Perches - To Watch the Horses

How Did It Go For Robin?

Initially it appeared to go well, but unfortunately my research only revealed so much about kitten care. We waited to give him the wormer I had bought at the feed store until he seemed adapted to the dry food we had bought at the suggestion of the store. As soon as we gave him the wormer he developed really runny diarrhea, which alarmed us, we thought he was allergic to the food or the water (we have a dug well), which has never affected the horses. He seemed really sick for 2 or 3 days.

I called the vet to arrange for his shots and asked the technicians what they thought, but they did not think it would be the food or the wormer. So we bought a different kitten food to try, to no avail. A week later he had gradually improved (it took 4 days) we saw the vet. The vet said this was the usual reaction of a kitten with a full load of round worms. We wish the product had given an indication of this result. It was a good job Robin is our Barn kitten, though he never once soiled the floor! He is so neat and tidy he always uses his litter box or buries it in a pile of crusher dust we have to maintain our driveways.

The First Requirement to Make The Kitten Healthy

D-Worm Liquid for Kittens, Cats,  and Dogs, 8 oz
D-Worm Liquid for Kittens, Cats, and Dogs, 8 oz

For a really young kitten they are unlikely to have tapeworms, but they are probably full of roundworms often inherited from Mum. Worming needs to be repeated monthly, for outdoor cats. Take veterinary advice if keeping indoors, and in any event just to ensure you cater for any locally known issues affecting cats.

 

YouTube Video on How To Tell The Sex of a Kitten

This is not as easy as you may think both I and my friend Kirk were wrong with our initial sexing of our new kittens! I had thought that Robin was a female, but he is quite definitely male as was confirmed by this video and later our vet.

Telling What Sex a Kitten is

Who Has a Heart Poll?

Robin Continues to Grow
Robin Continues to Grow

What Would You Have Done With a Feral Kitten?

See results

Photographic Credits

All photographs courtesy of the author and/or my wife Shauna La Pierre taken on my Canon Digital Rebel XSi.

Kitten Care From Amazon

Bayer Advantage II Kitten Flea Treatment for Kittens, 2 - 5 lb, 4 doses
Bayer Advantage II Kitten Flea Treatment for Kittens, 2 - 5 lb, 4 doses

All cats carry fleas and it is vital to control them, young kittens can get so anaemic they can actually die from an uncontrolled flea overload. Cat fleas can and will also bite you!

 

Young Kittens Need To Be De-flead

For the first few weeks of their life kittens inherit their Mothers immunity to disease and worms etc. However pretty soon after leaving Mum they lose this (around weeks 8 to 12 I believe).

This means that any young feral kitten like Robin quickly gets a load of fleas and worms. They soon need to be given a treatment like this:->

Since writing this lens I have discovered a product called Advantix that will do both the de-flea and worming. It is worth looking for this once a kitten is over 3 months old and separated from Mum. It can not be used earlier as Mum may try to lick it off and it is toxic to the cat. It has to be applied on their neck where they can not reach it.


Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Babycat Instinctive Loaf in Sauce Canned Kitten Food, 3 oz.
Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Babycat Instinctive Loaf in Sauce Canned Kitten Food, 3 oz.

It is extremely important to feed a new kitten a balanced diet. They are strict carnivores so properly balanced food is important. Left to their own devices cats eat insects, mice, snakes, and birds, which is OK if you live on a farm and can afford the vet bills. Not so much if you are house or apartment bound.

 

Feeding A Small Kitten

The correct diet is really important for cats as they are totally carnivore and can not tolerate sugars, many cats are also lactose intolerant so they should not be fed cows milk.

Kibble is a balanced cat food but a young kitten needs special kitten food and should not be fed the same food as an adult cat. Just like human babies they should be wened over once they are large enough.

Safely Walking A Kitten

Just like Dogs Kittens and Cats need exercise and because a kitten has lowered immunity it is extremely important that it does not escape until it has had its first jabs and been neutered, which is done about 6th months of age.

PetSafe Come With Me Kitty Harness and Bungee Leash, Small, Black
PetSafe Come With Me Kitty Harness and Bungee Leash, Small, Black

If you want to take a young kitten out you should have a leash. Kittens lose their inherited immunity over the first few weeks of life. Feral kittens often die in the period between this and building their own immunity. The leash prevents the kitten getting in trouble until he/she has had all the necessary medications.

 
Cat Dancer 301 Cat Charmer Interactive Cat Toy
Cat Dancer 301 Cat Charmer Interactive Cat Toy

What kitten could ignore one of these, a great addition to any kitten home.

 

Amusing A Kitten

One of the fun things about owning a kitten is that they love to play. I have not found a cat yet that did not love this particular toy.

Once Your Kitten Is Old Enough

If you want to allow your pet it's freedom once it has grown to a safe age then a good cat flap is essential, so here is a selection from Amazon.

I suggest that one that can be locked shut in either direction as well as both at once be acquired as you can then lock the cat in or out. There are definitely times when you might need to.

Most flaps are a security risk if placed in outside doors.


PetSafe Interior 2-Way Locking Cat Door, White
PetSafe Interior 2-Way Locking Cat Door, White

The 2 way locking allows only open or closed. This means that the cat can either come and go or be locked in or out as you prefer. These doors are not as flexible.

 

If Your Kitten Turns Tubby

There are cat flaps that provide security and also allow for the larger bodied kitty. Robin is still svelte enough at 2 not to need one of these, but if your cat does then they make them large enough for even portly pussies.

Perfect Pet Tubby Kat Cat Pet Door with 4 Way Lock, 7.5" x 10.5" Unbreakable LEXAN Flap
Perfect Pet Tubby Kat Cat Pet Door with 4 Way Lock, 7.5" x 10.5" Unbreakable LEXAN Flap

This door as the name implies is designed for the more portly cat. It has the 4 way locking system.

 

The Type Of Flap We Use

Our cat Robin is kept in our stable and he sleeps in the tack room so we only needed a light cat flap. This is the one we chose and it has the 4 way locking system. This system lets you lock him in or out while still letting him go the other way, as well as locked in both ways and fully open.

Cat Flap Door with 4 Way Lock Pet Door
Cat Flap Door with 4 Way Lock Pet Door

This is another cat flap with 4 way locking and very similar to the one we use.

 

Solving The Problem Of Other Cats Using The Flap

All of the flaps mentioned so far have the issue that any cat potentially all of the local ferals could get in and out too.


One of the advantages of having your pet micro chipped is that these can also be detected by modern cat flaps!

SureFlap Microchip Cat Door- White
SureFlap Microchip Cat Door- White

I added this one as it is a smart cat door. It will allow only cats with a recognised micro chip to come and go. Clever Huh?

 

Squid Angel Blessed

Robin As He Grew - Pictures of Robin As He Grew To Date

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Robin watching over his horsesRobin returning to the barn after a hard days work (play!).Robin enjoys the early evening sunshine.Robin stretching before returning to the barn.
Robin watching over his horses
Robin watching over his horses
Robin returning to the barn after a hard days work (play!).
Robin returning to the barn after a hard days work (play!).
Robin enjoys the early evening sunshine.
Robin enjoys the early evening sunshine.
Robin stretching before returning to the barn.
Robin stretching before returning to the barn.

A place for you to share kitten related comments or plain cat love!

Kitten Lover Comments

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  • Dressage Husband profile image
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    Stephen J Parkin 3 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @Anthony Altorenna: I am sorry to hear that she died, but glad that she had a home she chose for 15 happy years. They certainly bring us much joy!

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    Anthony Altorenna 3 years ago from Connecticut

    Our cat was a stray that showed up at the door about 15 years ago, and she never left. She was a wonderful pet who just passed away last week, and we miss her very much.

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    Stephen J Parkin 3 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @tonyleather: Tony, He has been neutered and we do have a farm that is plenty large enough for him to roam free. He is not particularly expensive to keep and he has the life of a feral cat with the warmth of a heated tack room when he needs it. I fail to see why anyone would think that is a bad thing. He keeps down the rodents (mice and rats and is thereby keeping the neighborhood healthier for the larger animals such as foxes, racoons, squirrels, chipmunks, owls, eagles and hawks etc.

    Since we feed him whenever there is not enough for him to hunt and he can climb and enjoy life as God had intended for these creatures, which are never truly happy as house pets as they are the supreme predators I totally do not get your comment, We asked our vet about what these animals actually need in order to keep them healthy, and all of the vets at the clinic agree the way he is being kept is best for him and us.

    The vets all visit our property on a regular basis, as we have the horses, and they think this is entirely the best thing for the cat and us. He is extremely well behaved when he has to go to the vets he is one of the happiest cats they have ever seen (and healthiest too).

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    tonyleather 3 years ago

    He is a cute cat, I grant you, but keeping him around might not have been the best idea?

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    Stephen J Parkin 3 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @Old Navy Guy: So she is now a beautiful adult cat that gave you both pleasure for years!? If she were that small she was less than 7 weeks and would therefore have either been put there by her mother who had too many kittens to feed' or wandered there by herself and her mother did not notice until too late.

    Feral mothers will usually feed the kittens until about 7 weeks old and then choose places to dump them where the mother thinks they have a good chance of survival. Only if the mother is sick will she dump them earlier to try to survive herself.

    We were lucky our little fellows Mum had trained him well and he arrived suckled and potty trained already! Feral Mothers train the kittens to bury their waste immediately as otherwise the scent gives away their location to predators. House cat mothers leave this training to the home owner it is one way to tell a young cats origins (a guide only).

    I left a comment on your Guadacanal lens too! Thanks for your visit.

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    Old Navy Guy 3 years ago

    We found a cat one rainy morning as I was leaving for work. It was shivering and meowing under the steps to our porch. It was soaking wet and I don't think it had even been weened. It was so small it fit in the palm of my hand. I took her back into the house and gave her to my wife who wrapped her ina towel and fed her warm milk from a baby bottle. That was 12 years ago, so as you said, the rest is history. Thanks for sharing.

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    Klaartje Loose 3 years ago

    Cats do choose their humans, I am a firm believer of that ;-)

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    Stephen J Parkin 4 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @LoriBeninger: Looks like you are lucky enough to have a beautiful Yellow Labrador too!

    Robin has matured into a very strong and beautiful adult cat now and he has become fond of cuddles, but strictly when he is in the mood! He actually comes and asks to be picked up now, and equally you are expected to know when he is ready to depart again. If you miss the cue then he gives you a quick bite or a pat with an extended claw,so we have to be aware at all times of his mood switches.

    Other than that he is an extremely happy cat smiling and grinning all the time and walking proudly with tail aloft and just the very tip curled to one side or the other. We adore the little prankster!

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    LoriBeninger 4 years ago

    Lucky Robin. Lucky you.

  • Dressage Husband profile image
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    Stephen J Parkin 4 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @aesta1: I hope that the cats all got good homes. It is odd how they find you. We were just saying it is a year since Robin came and we hope that there is not another batch this year as we have enough animals with 5 horses 2 dogs and Robin!

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    Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Our daughter has several stray cats. As if the cats know she'll take care of them so they bring their friends, too. She has to find a home for some of them when she moved to England but she still has a few.

  • Dressage Husband profile image
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    Stephen J Parkin 4 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @hntrssthmpsn: He is and so pleased with himself for having found us! It is odd how they turn up and steal your heart. We had discussed having a cat but decided against as I am allergic to them and the cost is necessary. Maybe God decided otherwise!

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    hntrssthmpsn 4 years ago

    Robin is a handsome cat, and so lucky to have found you! We have a cat who arrived as a stray, too, though she was grown when she got here, and are fostering a poor, sweet dog who returned to a nearby shelter as a stray after being adopted when she was a pup. Stray animals seem to have an uncanny sense for which houses are populated by soft hearts ;)

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    Stephen J Parkin 4 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @delia-delia: Could not find your previous comment lost in Squid land?

  • Dressage Husband profile image
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    Stephen J Parkin 4 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @delia-delia: They certainly love being in the barn. Robin has learned to hunt by day and return at night for now. We hope he will stay that way as we do have Coyotes come by at night sometimes. Kitty is so similar but much more bushy. She is so cute.

  • delia-delia profile image

    Delia 4 years ago

    I came back to visit Robin and noticed that I did leave a like, but what happened to my comment? did I forget to hit Post? Well I see you came to visit my feral Kitty's lens...I love how Robin came to your barn, I have had several cats come and home at our barns, but we moved and they stayed.

    ~d-artist Squid Angel Blessing~

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    gradientcat 4 years ago

    Very nice story about your cat Robin.

  • Dressage Husband profile image
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    Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @BuckHawkcenter: Very kind of you to say so, we thought he was so cute he deserved his own lens. There are two more written in his voice!

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    BuckHawkcenter 5 years ago

    Kittens in need can steal my heart quickly. So glad you took him in and now he's a beautiful charmer!

  • Dressage Husband profile image
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    Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @Torrs13: Was it feral or just somebody else's pet on the loose? You can tell a feral kitten as it will be very shy and will not make much noise. An owned kitten will usually be much louder and way more playful. The feral mother knocks it out of her kittens as noise and smell can give their location away to predators! Feral kittens are usually perfectly house trained for that reason too! If adopted before they are too old they will make great pets (about 8 weeks).

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    Torrs13 5 years ago

    We had a kitten come around a lot when I lived in Iowa. It was so cute!

  • Dressage Husband profile image
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    Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @kburns421 lm: I had not realised that kittens could be lactose intolerant either. I discovered that when I started looking for help on the internet concerning his obvious worm load etc. Thank you for dropping by and the like.

  • kburns421 lm profile image

    kburns421 lm 5 years ago

    What a cute kitty cat! I don't blame you for keeping him. I didn't know that many cats are lactose intolerant though. You learn something new everyday! Anyway, I think it's great that you took him in and saved him.

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    Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @Sylvestermouse: We are lucky that Robin chose us! He brings us so much love and joy, he is always so happy and relaxed. He seems to just get more and more friendly everyday and the horses and boarders all love him. The horses will come and touch their noses to him when he climbs on the fence posts it is so endearing, he is not sure he likes their hot breath though! He has never once clawed at any of them and he seems to know not to attack their feet, which he does all the time to me and my wife.

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    Cynthia Sylvestermouse 5 years ago from United States

    Robin is one very lucky kitten! You went to a lot of trouble to take care of a foundling. Robin is, of course, beautiful!

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    Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @RinchenChodron: I do not know why some readers are getting the impression Robin is a female, he is male and named after Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees another male. I find it weird, maybe it is because in North America Robin is used interchangeably for either girls or boys?

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    RinchenChodron 5 years ago

    She looks like a very sweet kitten. I also have a cat with a lens (his name is Kisser). Enjoyed hearing her story. Good recommendations.

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    Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @artbyrodriguez: Thank you I really think he is happy with us.

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    Beverly Rodriguez 5 years ago from Albany New York

    Robin is so lucky to have found you and your wife! A story with a happy ending!

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    Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @bossypants: Thank you! He always seems to be congratulating himself on his choice, the way he behaves whenever Shauna or I are around! He knows how to make us feel good smart fellow that he is.

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    bossypants 5 years ago from America's Dairyland

    Robin is an adorable and one smart kitty to choose you as family!

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    Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @kristalulabelle: Wow! your cat looks just like a larger version of Robin!

  • kristalulabelle profile image

    Kristen 5 years ago from Wisconsin

    Glad to hear Robin the kitten is doing well!

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    Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @SteveKaye: I think it is us that should be thanking him for finding us!

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    SteveKaye 5 years ago

    Thank you for taking in and taking care of this cat.

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    Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @eccles1: We did and now he even got me to write a lens from his point of view. He is a very strong willed cat. I just put him to bed and he comes for his cuddle before he will go to sleep!

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    eccles1 5 years ago

    How can you not keep a cute cat like that.

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    Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @Virginia Allain: He already has started and has brought me a field mouse and a mole. I think we need never worry about vermin again. If you like this one check out Robin's own Lens How to Be a Barn Kitten.

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    Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

    Awww, I'm a sucker for a good cat rescue story. I hope Robin makes a good mouser and keeps the barn free of those.

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    Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @norma-holt: Thank you so much for the blessing, and features. Hugs to you for being there for us!

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    norma-holt 5 years ago

    Great lens and now featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012-2 and also on Stars Kittens, Hugs.

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    Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @WindyWintersHubs: He is now 16 weeks and much bigger than when he arrived, probably about 6lbs now as against 3lbs then, but he will be quite large when he finally stops growing. He intends to write often to tell the world what he lernz about bein a Barn Kittie!

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    Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @anonymous: Thank you for visiting to take a look.

  • WindyWintersHubs profile image

    WindyWintersHubs 5 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

    Touching Story! Little...now BIG, Robin, is very lucky to have you and your wife as foster parents. He sure is a beautiful looking cat!

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    anonymous 5 years ago

    I liked the items you listed here from Amazon.

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    Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @anonymous: Robin makes us happier too unless we can't find him when we put the horses to bed. He usually likes to monitor our progress from one of the fence posts!

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    anonymous 5 years ago

    Lovely lens; it's nice to read a happy story.

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    Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @CoeGurl: Thank you for dropping by, and so far he is thriving, and getting bigger by the minute!

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    CoeGurl 5 years ago from USA

    This is a lovely story and well-written. I hope Robin thrives!

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    Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @LouJon: Glad you like it.

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    LouJon 5 years ago

    I would have done exactly the same, love and attention. Thank you for sharing the story

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    Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @SusanDeppner: Thank you, he has been getting bigger and stronger by the minute

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    Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

    What a beautiful cat! I hope he continues to do well.

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    Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @JoshK47: Glad you like him too!

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    JoshK47 5 years ago

    Wonderful to get to know Robin! :) Thanks for sharing!