Thatís a rather long name for a sweet barn kitty, but that is what she is, a tarp annihilator. No tarp can withstand her long. Her alias is Kitty Tigger, but donít be fooled by that sweet sounding name. She is death on tarps. Just like Agent 007, she always has a hidden agenda, but with her it usually deals with our tarps.
You wonder why tarps are so important on our goat farm. Next to duct tape, we find them extremely helpful and are always looking for sales to buy more. They can cover farm equipment, especially if you have used up all your out buildings for goat sheds.
Tarps can cover a mound of round bales that are stacked outside. Remember to only come half way down the mound because if you make it all the way to the ground and there is no air flow, the whole mound of hay will mold. Tie those handy tarps with hay string and attach to the pallets you have the round bales sitting on to prevent moisture ruining the bottoms. Donít forget about the winds that might rip your tarps off. Tie string to two bricks, one at each end of the string, and sling a brick over the mound so the string and the weight of the bricks will help hold the tarp down. Do this in several places and be careful when throwing the string attached brick to the other side of the hay mound. Donít want to konk someone on the head that might be standing on the other side.
When we sit round bales out in the fields for the goats to eat, we will put that bale on a pallet, wrap a cattle panel around it to keep the goats from climbing on the bale, and then attach a small tarp to the top, tying it to the cattle panel. This protects the bale from rain and snow and it doesnít get ruined until the goats totally eat it.
Lee also got into making hoop shelters with either small pipe or plastic pipe and attaching tarps to the top and putting a round bale on a pallet underneath. This provided protection from weather for both the goats and the round bale of hay.
Kitty Tigger, known as Tarp Annihilator, thought all of these ideas were simply wonderful. Originally she had been know around the farm as the Rafter Cat until she discovered her love of tarps. As Rafter Cat, somehow she would always make it up into the rafters of the barn or run-in sheds. Absolutely impossible places, she would find a way to get up in the rafters to hunt for mice, rats, birds. She would have put rock climbers to shame in finding so many ways to get into rafters.
And, did she ever fall? Yes. You would be innocently walking along in the barn and have a cat drop from above right on top of you or at your feet, and most the time she did not land on her feet. She pretty much had the horses and the goats spooked, not knowing when a small gray cat would suddenly drop like a rock from the sky on or near them.
That is, until she discovered tarps. That was the end of Rafter Cat. If a hooped structure made up of rounded pipe with tarp on top to protect goats and their round bale was placed against the opening to a run-in shed, she would somehow skirt across the rafters of that building and end up on top of the tarp roof.
She loved that. She could walk all over the tarp roof, roll around on it, claw it, sun herself, lay in wait for birds, just have a wonderful time. What she didnít know was that once a tarp had made it through the winter and part way through the summer, it was starting to deteriorate, at least enough to not be able to support a 12-15 pound little cat.
I came out one day and saw a round shredded hole in one of the hoop roofs, like a meteorite the size of a bowling ball had fallen through, and I knew exactly what had happened. Once again Tigger, the Tarp Annihilator, had dropped like a rock, only this time through the tarp roof.
We didnít have time to take all the tarp down just then, so we threw a smaller tarp over that roof, to cover the hole and tied it in place. The next day I was walking along, almost under that tarp, and something slapped me on top the head. There was Tigger, having discovered a wonderful two layered tarp. She was in between the two layers, rolling around, playing, and trying to swat any humans on the head as they walked by. To her, life was very good.
Another favorite place for her is the hoop over a round bale near a tall wood fence. Think of the James Bond theme song, and then see this little stripped gray cat stealthily running along the top of that tall wooden fence, and then leaping on top the tarp of that hooped covering for round bale and goats.
Then see goats tearing out from under there in absolute terror from the sounds of her hitting the tarp roof, and if she is as clumsy as she usually is, sliding down off that tarp roof, digging her claws in, trying to save herself, making a tremendous racket until she drops. Sometimes she makes it without sliding off, and then just runs and bounces along the top of the tarped hoof.
So, itís not unusual to see goats standing around in a semi-circle, studying that tarped roof to see if the monster has returned to scare them within an inch of their lives.
Yes, we find tarps extremely helpful in goat farming. Now, if only the Tarp Annihilator, alias Kitty Tigger, would just leave them alone to last a month or two.