Duncan McFarlane and Helen McNaught’s barn cat Lucky isn’t the only barn cat with a curious little story. We here at Sprieser Sporthorse have our own little feline weirdo: Icky, short for Ichibod Crane The Nearly-Headless Cat. And here is her story.
My best friend Sara found a mangy looking kitten hiding under her car a few years ago. Being a lover of animals—and possibly a little nuts—Sara live trapped the kitten and found her to be quite crippled. Someone had put a collar around her neck and failed to take it off, even as the kitten grew into it—literally.
A good horse girl and, therefore, not squeamish, Sara took care of the kitten, cleaned and debrided the wound, spayed her, got her her shots, and nursed her back to health. Then she looked at her and said, “What the heck do I need with another kitten?” And she posted some adorable photos on Facebook.
We had two barn cats at the time, a brother-sister duo who, while charming, were pretty useless. And on 135 acres, what’s one more cat? So we took the kitten, even though the collar had done some neurological damage, causing her to walk with an odd limp sporadically and causing her tail to work at a curious angle.
Her conformational problems certainly didn’t hold her back. She fell into the fold immediately, walking around the farm like she owned it, beating the bajeezus out of the other two cats, getting hugely fat, and endearing her to us more than I ever thought possible, being a dog person. Icky is the farm greeter, who likes to parade around while we have clinics going on, looking for the best laps on which to nest. Icky surfs on the hay cart and sleeps on the Haygain. In spite of her weird way of walking, she can leap up to the rafters in about two steps, and then tries to sucker newcomers into rescuing her by howling pitifully, even though she’s perfectly capable of getting down unaided. And she likes to hang out on our stall fronts until the horses come over to sniff her, and then she bats them in the nose.
In short, she’s a one-man comedy band, making us laugh every day, all while being a ruthless killer of all things vermin-like. And to top it all off, she lets us torture her like this: