The Cast of Cats


I have 10 cats.

I didn’t start out to have 10 cats. I never thought I’d have 10 cats. But I have 10 cats.

I’ve always loved cats. I never had one growing up, so the first thing I did when I was out on my own was get a cat. Over the years, I usually had anywhere from two to four cats at any given time. The only cat I’ve ever had that I didn’t like was a Siamese cat that kept biting me. I finally gave it away because I was scared of it.

When I moved to the old farmhouse, I had one cat. There were a lot of wild barn cats around there, and next thing I knew, I had 10 cats. Most of them, I’ve had since they were kittens because they were rescues from the wild mamas. I get heckled sometimes by people who are just passing through and stumble onto a post where I say I have 10 cats and they tell me to Stop Having Kittens!

All of my cats are spayed or neutered. I’ve never–in my entire life–had a cat that had kittens.

(That was just for the record.)

Buttercup is the cat I brought with me to the old farmhouse. He’s 12 years old. I’d say that makes him really grumpy, but he’s always been really grumpy. He’s also completely devoted to me and me alone. He can’t stand other people or other animals. He especially can’t stand Morgan. That is probably related to the fact that Morgan was three years old when I got Buttercup and you know a cat loves nothing better than a three-year-old except maybe a bath.

Buttercup on a hay stack.

One of our first cats at the old farmhouse was Killer. His claim to fame is that he got stuck in the dashboard of my car. That was back when we thought Killer was a girl. I took Killer and another cat to the vet to be fixed and discovered I had them both sexed wrong. My trouble with sexing Glory Bee is nothing new.

The name Killer came from his penchant for hiding inside Kleenex boxes when he was a kitten. (He has a very timid personality, so Weston thought it was funny to call him Killer. He’s Weston’s cat through and through and will follow Weston around when he’s at home.)

I don’t have great photos of all of my cats because some of them don’t cooperate very well.

Actually, none of them cooperate very well. I try to get them all together for family pictures and they won’t come. Here are seven of them at the feed bowls. From left to right: Squiggles, Little, Diego, Buttercup, Killer, Kitten, and Wiggles.
Missing from this photo: Weezie, Sugar, and Spice. (They were avoiding the suppertime rush.)

We have three black cats–Wiggles, Squiggles, and Weezie. Killer is a huge, fluffy Maine Coon-looking cat. Three orange cats–Buttercup, Diego (aka Diggy), and Kitten. Spice, a black and white “tuxedo” cat. Sugar, my sweet calico, and Little, a gray and white cat.

Spice’s claim to fame is her ability to open doors, among her other magic tricks like catching hummingbirds in mid-flight. (NOT one of my favorite tricks of hers!)

The “famous” door-opening video:

Sugar disappeared after we moved to our new farmhouse and was gone for three weeks. There was a dramatic episode in which I found and recaptured her.

Kitten and Little were our last additions. They are both aptly named as they are small cats that stayed small. Like miniature cats. (Cute story–read Kitten’s Great Escape.)

Kitten and Little, the lovers.
Luckily, since we moved away from the old farmhouse, the feline acquisition has ground to a halt. Ten is enough. More than that, and you are a crazy cat lady. I’m pretty sure 11 is the pivotal number.


This post is part of my (sporadic) on-going “Cast of” series. See all my Cast of posts here.

See all the posts in my Cats archives here.


  1. Chickenlady62 says:

    yep, absolutely, 11 is the magic number where you can be considered a crazy cat woman . Just a fine example of life “just happening”, not planned. Some though would say it is a measure of the size of your heart .

  2. texwisgirl says:

    I wish I could have more cats here. Tuxedo (our black & white neutered male) won’t allow any others. He drives them out of the barn into the waiting jaws of my hounds. Not a good practice, but he’s gotten used to ruling his barn roost all by himself… He believes he’s a horse, I think…

  3. Joyce Daniels says:

    Nice to meet the whole family! Great stories.

  4. Senta Sandberg says:

    You are known in my circles as the Goat Lady. I only have 2 cats, a dog and 8 chickens. One of them a rooster that I can’t get ride of. You had talked of getting Kitten and Little fixed before so I had never worried. I love hearing about all the animals. Flat Stanley was very entertaining too. :shocked: Happy St Patty’s day to all.

  5. Su says:

    I have a mere 4 cats, and my hunny says I’m the crazy cat lady. I think he’d run if I got to 10, but I can see how easily it can happen!

    Yours are all adorable.

  6. Ramona says:

    We’ve got you beat, double that and add 3 or 4 more….

    BUT, all of our’s are stays except for 2. I deliberately rescued them. One out of the interstate and one from the Tractor Supply Parking lot.

    The rest adopted us. And they have all been SPAYED and NEUTERED, even if it meant live trapping them in order to get it done.

  7. thistlewoodmanor says:

    I have no idea how many barn cats I have; they come and they go. Maybe 5? We have one in the house cat, and she’s expecting babies any day now. Most of them will become barn cats.

  8. Kat J, Arizona says:

    I completely understand. When I lived on my farm in Ohio I had 8 that I claimed and a feral population of who knows how many. I think itโ€™s part of the package when you live on a farm. I even packed up the five remaining and moved them to AZ with us.

  9. Angelina says:

    I love cats. That first picture of the baby..OMG I know if I was in the country, I would be a crazy cat lady and my husband would be crazy. I loved reading the cast of cats, thanks and enjoy those kitties. :sun:

  10. kritter keeper says:

    ah, what beautiful and sweet babies you have! i have nine cats, all rescues but one who is very spoiled as his mother was a thin stray and came preggy and had only him! your killer has a very boyish face. my husband warns me that i will become a crazy cat lady. sigh….love my kitties!!!

  11. Bonnie says:

    I have a question. Do you use flea prevention on them? I have two cats and the cost is very high just for the two that I have. I am curious if you have found a way to keep them flea-free using a product that does not come from the vet and cost a small fortune! I am sure this would be helpful to your readers if you have an alternative solution. Thanks!

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      Bonnie, I don’t have any miracle flea control tips, unfortunately. However, I’ve found the controlling the fleas on the cats is LESS expensive and troublesome than having to exterminate fleas from the house if they bring fleas in.

  12. skippymom says:

    I don’t think the number is as pivotal to as when your last child has left the home. Then the cats become a concern to the “cat lady” theory – kids trump cats in this case.

    But you are a farmer and you can just say you are herding cats. Yeah, not crazy cat lady at all.

  13. susan says:

    Anyone who lives in the country and does NOT have more than three cats is crazy. That being said, I only have four and they are indoor only. My area is very dangerous for cats – lots of predators. Your cats are just beautiful – all healthy and happy.

  14. Rose H says:

    Oh, they’re ALL gorgeous. I love cats too, and have had one almost all of my life. Our aged rescue puss cannot stand any other cat – so we’ve just got one. My daughter says she is going to be the crazy old lady with all the cats….as she’s just moved to a house where she can have pets I imagine there’ll be at least one there any day soon!

  15. judydee says:

    Thank-you for having 10 and asserting that 11 is the number one must attain before being a “crazy cat lady”. We have 7, all of them rescues–3 obtained when, after we suspected that the latest stray was a mother,Big Daddy came to tell me of a TRAGEDY–he had found the kittens—and they were all ALIVE!! Oh well, they have all been neutralized now. Folks at work think we are crazy, I just say if God sends them to the house, we have to take care of them. However, I don’t feel that way about the ‘possum on the back porch.

  16. B. Ruth says:

    I love cats, always have, always will and if I had the funds and was totally physically able to take care of all of them I would have more cats….When you have chickens and feed, cows and feed, goats and feed, ducks and feed, sheep and feed, donkeys and feed, you need cats to control the mice that pick up residence near the feed source…only makes sense to me…just a few dropped grains will entice an investation of mice to the barn, chicken house or hey loft…Oh, and lets not think about the other larger rodents…

  17. Kristen says:

    Eight kitties live with me now and that’s enough. I know I’m crazy about cats but my hubby takes the crazy cat man title. He would bring home more of those fuzzballs of love if only…….lol

    Love seeing all your cats. Such sweet faces and such a wonderful place to call home.

  18. Lacey says:

    I love cats but my roommate feels that my one dog and her one dog are enough pets for the house! Can you believe that! In what world is two animals enough? Hahaha.

    I use this product for fleas:

    I mix it with water in a spray bottle according to the directions on the package and spray it on my dog once in awhile. The bottle lasts a long time and I’ve never had a problem with fleas. I prefer it to a pesticide flea control- I’d rather not put a “killing agent” on my dog every month (no offense to those who use other products; its my personal decision and I’m not judging anyone).

  19. Miss Becky says:

    I love kitties. thanks for all the lovely photos Suzanne! :yes:

  20. Alicia Nakamura says:

    I can hardly believe that I have been cat-less for over a year! The mice are outta control (as previously stated with the feed comes the mice). I miss my super hunter manx, Neko. And my big lovey tom Stinker. But soon I’ll be bringing home two manx from Neko’s line. I’m soo excited!
    Love all your kitties! The door opening cat is awesome, makes me think of my Neko. She’d just sit at the door and wait to be let out tho. And I love Killer’s face and fluff!

  21. Peacefulheart says:

    Well if some folks are being called “crazy cat ladies” for having 4 kitties, we here must be in psychiatric ward somewhere, we have taken in feral kittens, old cats, young cats, one kitten that was going to be drowned, an Old Order Amish kitten rescued from near death, but each and everyone is a beloved member of our home, they are indoor/outdoor kitties, from age 19 down to 6 months. Add a 110 lb yellow lab and “her dog” who is 15 lbs and we have a herd. All of our fur children have been spayed or neutered and have up to date immunizations as well as heartworm treatments and flea treatments, the cost is not cheap, but its well worth it for their comfort and the love they give back to us. I happily admit being a crazy cat lady.

  22. Joy (from Illinois) says:

    Feral cats are not a nice thought since “tame” cats are a handful and a half (prime examples:door opening cat, screenclimbing cat and my own “owner” Bootsie.) SERMON: Everyone except a breeder of show dogs/cats owes it to the world to spay and neuter animals they don’t intend to breed. [end of sermon] It is truely sad to see the miserable life a feral cat has and abandoned pets have a pitifully short and miserable life span. It was extremely kind of you, Suzanne, to take these animals in but the image of a kindly farmer rescuing puppies and kittens dropped off on his doorstep doesn’t happen as much as the abandoners pretend it does. Eventually the farmer reaches a limit and cannot support additional pets. Sad but true. Please, cats and dogs are just as happy without litters.

  23. Brandy says:

    We have ten cats, all are rescues and range in age from 9.5 years to 5 months. We also feed the strays in the neighborhood. If I had land and space we’d have more. Each one of us, kids and hubs, are too soft-hearted to say no when one comes to us.

  24. Kathi says:

    Uh oh… 11 is the magic number? We have 12. Eight are outside farm cats. Two have their own room in the goat barn – Betsy is blind and Fairy is her companion cat. Then the two sweeties in the house.

  25. Monique says:

    Would you please teach spice to close the door after herself?
    We have 11 cats also, all of ours are spayed/neutered and if I can catch any strays that come- they immediately got to the vet to get “ited”. I think word has gotten around that you set foot on our place and you lose your balls….

  26. Teresa says:

    There was a time when I made fun of my mother and sister for the number of cats that they both have, but since I now have 8 cats I just keep my mouth shut and they laugh. I also did not set out to have 8 cats. I only set out to have one, Miss Kitty. She is 13 and my son got her as a kitten. Then 3 summers ago my other son’s girlfriend rescued Miles (#2) from being shot by her neighbor. Two summers ago we found Polly (#3) on the side of the road, she was only about 5 weeks old, barely weened and my niece’s cat Harley (#4)came to live with us. This past summer I brought home a beautiful kitten named Zoey (#5) from the barn and then my son snuck in Gabbers (#6) also from the barn. Shortly after that Louie (#7) flung himself in front on my car and my husband had to bring him home. I also feed a large grey stray (#8) that has adopted me. I think I have sucker tatooed on my head ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. lifeisgood/ Melinda says:

    This is probably an ignorant question since so many of you do have barn cats but I always thought an outside cat would kill my chickens. Anyone have issues with that?

  28. BuckeyeGirl says:

    Nope, my chickens are tougher than my cats. The hens chase the cats across the yard, then the cats slink back to hunt for mice saying “Nope, not bothering the chickens! Nope, not me! Nope, no need to watch me, in fact, I’m an invisible cat.”

  29. Jerry says:

    No… FOUR is the pivotal number. Congratulations! :yes:

  30. Sue, a Florida Farm Girl says:

    Oh, I love that little yellow kitten!!! Looks like one I had named Prissy. Makes me want another cat!! Now to convince that other person who lives in this house, if you know what I mean!!!!

  31. Lindsay says:

    I was hoping you’d do a Cast of Cats! I have a soft spot for kitties, we only have three right now, they’re all indoor. I did rescue for a long time and I’ve seen some horrible things done to animals. We don’t live in an extremely rural area so mine never go out. Plus my big boy is super allergic to fleas. You’re so lucky none of yours are: it wouldn’t matter how often/much flea control you put on them, it only affects the fleas after they bite, they’d be covered in sores all the time. (Like my bear despite the flea control, and we’re in FL so it’s almost ALWAYS flea season)Ugh fleas…. :devil: <– he sent 'em.

    Your cats are so lovely, Suzanne! They're so worth all the mischief they cause! ๐Ÿ˜†

  32. catslady says:

    At the moment I have 4 but I’ve had 7 – that’s inside cats and all were strays/ferals. I have had 3 permanent outside cats with males that have come and gone. I am offically the crazy catslady in my neighborhood anyway lol. I have found homes, fixed, fed, tended and worried over many cats in the last 15 years but it’s a good thing I don’t live on a farm or who knows how many I would have, Suzanne lol. And of course all the cats (and wild life) tell each other to come to my house!

  33. Estella says:

    I don’t think you are a crazy cat lady. At one point in time I had 11 cats and 4 dogs. They have since all passed away. Two of the cats were 21 years old and one was 19.
    I, also, never had a cat that wasn’t spayed or neutered.
    Had a barn at the end of the driveway and people dumped cats there.

  34. Mandy says:

    I have two cats at the moment but I did have 7. It was the housing trust (who gives affordable rental accomadation over here) that made as get rid of 5. They said the council law states you can only have 2 cats. We told them that the council is aware of our cats and has said it is ok since they were all spayed/neutered, microchipped and vaccinated. Housing trust said they don’t care, get rid of the cats or get evicted. Well we could’t look after the cats if we were on the street, and lets face it, its hard to find rental accomadation that allows even one cat let alone 7, so we had to give them up for adoption ๐Ÿ™ Hardest thing I ever had to do. It was almost 2 years ago now and I still get a knot in my stomach thinking about it. How I envy you living on the farm and been able to have all these beautiful cats.

  35. Linda Zoldoske says:

    I have 10 cats too. They go in and out otherwise I think the smell of litterboxes for 10 cats would be too much! My cat collection started back when you were supposed to wait until the kitten was 6 mos old before neutering/spaying. I thought it would be terribly easy to give kittens away – SO wrong. Then my cat got pregnant before she weaned her first batch and ditto the next time and one kitten got pregnant at 5 months. Whew! Everyone’s neutered or spayed now! And, after going such a terrible ordeal nowadays kittens are spayed/neutered at a very young age!

  36. Urbanite says:

    I adore cats and your are just beautiful, Suzanne. From childhood on I’ve always had 2 cats and could easily become the crazy cat lady if local laws allowed it. Currently I just have one cat. I adopted her 3 years ago when she was 14 and while she is a very sweet and affectionate cat, she is pretty set in her ways – no other cats are allowed in her house! So as long as she lives, I’ll just have one.

    Buckeye Girl, I laughed out loud at your comment. I can just see your cats doing that. It is such cat-like behavior.

  37. Nancy Stickler says:

    Yikes, I have two and they drive me crazy sometimes! lol Thank you for stating that you’re a responsible pet owner.I hate when people leave nasty comments…It gets me all cranky! :dancingmonster:

  38. Dianna says:

    I’ve always loved kitties, and there haven’t been too many periods in my life that I haven’t had one. We recently ended an eighteen month absence of a kitty by adopting a beautiful little calico, Sundae.
    Loved seeing all the pictures of your kitties!

  39. Charlene says:

    This is just weird. I don’t know what lead up to it but I had a fleeting thought this morning that you hadn’t mentioned your cats lately. Needless to say, I am a cat person. I had missed your lost Sugar post. I’m so glad you found her. We have a Sugar too. We’d be devastated to lose him.

  40. holstein woman says:

    I have 3 and that is plenty. I love ALL cats and they are welcome. None of mine mew, and they are great hunters. They saved the chickens from a weasal the other night. They pay their way all the time. They are momma, Ginger and her two kittens a year old almost, Trucker the boy and Striper the girl. DH named them.

  41. Beth says:

    Uh oh! I guess I’m a “crazy cat lady”! Although all of my cats are rescue and they ALL are fixed. It is always one of the first things we do when we get a kitty, besides having them tested for feline leukemia. And, yes, they are inside/outside kitties. We have kitty doors in a couple of the windows so they can get in and out on their own when the weather is warmer. It’s a happy home! Purr! :purpleflower:

  42. Imperious Fig says:

    Thanks for stating that 11 cats is the magic number before one is considered a crazy cat lady. My family and friends kept telling me it was 7 LOL! I currently have 6 cats (all but the two youngest are fixed and they will be fixed asap.) We call them our “skittish barn cats” although I think they spend more time sleeping in the house. (“Barn? What barn? You want us to go outside…in this weather?”) ๐Ÿ˜†

  43. Dina says:

    I am glad to know that I am in such good company and not crazy at all, despite what my children say!

  44. KellyRR says:

    So glad to hear that ELEVEN is the pivotal “crazy cat lady” number, as I have SEVEN! I too have never had kittens, but have somehow ended up with more than I ever thought I’d have. I so do not want to appear on Animal Hoarders some day!! I told my DH that eight was the pivotal number, but am now happy I can tell him it is actually 11…gives me a bit of wiggle room for future homeless fur-babies that show up at our house in the country. ๐Ÿ˜€

  45. Peculiar Cat Mama says:

    I live on a farm. We have 4 cows. And I have 27 cats – 17 adults and 10 kittens. 6 kittens are inside, 4 are outside. 1 adult inside at all times (my personal cat), 2 adults in and out, the rest outside. And I love them all.
    I started out with one dark calico kitten, Gypsy. That was 8 years ago. She produced beautiful kittens. At one time, her family reached 19, then they died off to 3. I still have 2 of those last 3 (both 6 years old). Then I rescued a black mama cat (Lilith) with 7 kittens from a shelter, and took calico kittens from a neighbor (from Gypsy’s line). Lilith’s kittens were blacks and grays and one brendyl black and gold (Miss Cathy, whose calico kitten Callie is still around), and the grays (females) have produced blacks, grays, calicos (Gypsy’s line male daddy), and gray and white Siamese with blue eyes (my lovely Sadie). Gypsy’s line produced calicos, gray tiger stripes, yellow (ranging from blonde to redhead – my Billy and my Daryl) tiger stripes, creams Blondie), and a beautiful gray/peach/white calico strain (my Janie, and now my little Jessie). I have the most beautiful cats in the world!
    I love these feral cats, and they love me and me alone (except Maggie and Cassie the 6-toed kitten are Daddy’s boys – he rescued Maggie from a rain puddle and literally brought him back to life – a beautiful green-eyed Russian blue). No one else can get near them, but they come to me and I can pet them all. I’m the Cat Mama. I have a whole cat geneology written out of all the cats and kittens that have been born, appeared, disappeared, died, and all their names and dates.
    I’ve raised kittens inside when I found them drowning in a rainstorm, or abandoned after the mama cat picked her favorites, or who just showed up covered in a cow patty (my beautiful green-eyed Susannah, who just had 4 kittens Monday afternoon!). I had 6 cats in the house that I raised from kittens that I couldn’t bear to put outside for the longest time – it finally became necessary, because I’d rescued more kittens that needed tending, and besides, Billy didn’t like it (my personal cat).
    One of my kittens now is a 6-toed cat – he has opposable thumbs – that is part of the original feral line Gypsy came from. Two more 6-toed kittens – his sisters – are coming Saturday, which will make 8 kittens in the house (there would be 12 but I’ve lost 4 lately), plus Billy and Susannah with her 4 newborns. And Maggie likes to come in and hang out a bit each day.
    I wouldn’t trade a one of them, and still mourn the ones who’ve died or disappeared. They bring much joy to my life. And I take good care of all of them.
    So, Suzanne – I REALLY understand your love of cats! ;>)

    Current cat population: Billy, Susannah, Lindsey, Sadie, Harley, Maggie, Sethy, Jethro, Jakey, Cassie (Talulah and Delilah coming Saturday), Jessie, Randy (lost little black and white Bobby, their brother), Hannah (lost Sarah, Jax, and Stevie – his siblings), Morgan, Jeremy (these 2 were rescued from outside), Daryl, Blondie (my 2 oldest cats), Callie, Nellie, Isabella, Evie, Paula-Pauline (rescued her from Arkansas – Maine Coon brown/black/peach), Dexter, Sascha, Amelia, and Cordelia (the 4 kittens outside). Jasper (Lindsey’s and Susannah’s mother) disappeared May 18th, and Oscar (black and white male) hangs around alot, though he’s not really one of mine (that I know of …). But I’ve lost so many … my little man Norman (Blondie’s brother, gray tiger stripe), Sarah/Jax/Stevie/Bobby – the kittens I’ve lost lately, Tommy (Billy’s sister, who just sickened and died when the girls were just over a year old – I’d rescued 4 kittens 4 years ago that were 16 days old when their mama Emily died; 2 died, but Billy and Tommy thrived – until then. And now Billy is my personal cat), Mathy – the little calico that was so special that when her mama Maybelline didn’t take care of her, Gypsy put one of her own kittens in the box to keep her warm – snuck on the mud porch and did that – I was very impressed! When Mathy disappeared over Christmas a few years ago, she came to me in a dream to let me know what happened to her – Norman brought her to me, like he was a guardian or something.
    You may have noticed that many boys have girls names and many girls have boys names – unfortunate naming incidents – I name them before I know if they’re male or female. They don’t seem to mind. Except maybe Evie – he gets into lots of fights. He may have masculinity issues. ;>)

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