How Lara Tamed the Barn Cats
By now you should be well aware of Lara's origin story but in case you need a refresher she grew up on a dairy farm in rural Maryland and then earned her degree in equine science. With that summary of her origin story you might think Lara's early years were spent mostly around large animals and livestock but that is simply not the case. One of my favorite stories Lara tells is about the time she tamed the barn kitties. To me it really cuts to the heart of her passion for animals and what has made her so good as an in home pet care professional providing dog walking and pet sitting services. Lara will also yell at me after reading this that I got the story wrong and wasn't entirely accurate or it didn't happen that way but first my memory is faulty and second good stories need embellishing.
Growing up on a dairy farm Lara's life was animals, but not just the livestock and large animals. Her family had several border collies that would help with the field work and the herding and protection of the cattle. more importantly for Lara was her families organic pest control system. There is no better toxin free, all natural pest control system like a cat. Cats have lived around humans for thousands of years because of their ability to control pest and that rodents were attracted to early civilizations grain stores. The barn kitties helped to control the rodent population around the farm but they were not friendly kitties and as a child Lara wanted to pet and love the kitties not have them flee in terror when she came near.
Young Lara devised a plan. She knew the cats were afraid of her so she had to make them less afraid. She began to take them food and would leave it out for them and then walk away from the food and enter the barn from the other end. The cats didn't have to go past Lara to get to the food bu they knew the food had come from Lara. Soon the kitties learned that Lara's presence meant they got food and soon after that Lara didn't have to walk away from the kitties to get them to eat the food. Eventually the kitties allowed Lara to pet them and love them as if they were tame house kittens.
The downside to little Lara's plan was that the kitties became so friendly and used to human interaction that they wanted to interact with all the humans that entered the barn. While Lara had made new kitty friends she had upset her father and brothers that had to work in the barn with the now friendly kitties getting underfoot, but Lara was not deterred and she loved and cared for her new kitty friends while they did their best to eradicate the rodents hiding in the hay and straw and barn walls. It was a symbiotic relationship now built on love and no longer just convenience.
Lara is still much the same. Believing that all animals deserve love including feral barn kitties. Lara's compassion crossed the species cultural divide and she earned the love and trust of those barn kitties just as she earns the love and trust of all the animals people entrust in her care as a pet sitter/dog walker. Lara is excellent at being an in home pet care professional because her background is not just loving animals but taking the time to understand their needs and motivations and making the effort to build a relationship with them.