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  • Ryanne Harper

Tails from the Tiny House

Before I moved to the woods, I was NOT a cat person. I didn’t mind other people’s cats, but I had no desire to have any of my own. That changed my first winter here, when I had to replace my engine wiring 3 times in 4 weeks because wood rats had chewed through it and built nests under my hood. That turned me into a cat person really, really fast. Now, I love them, and not just because they’ve saved me a ton of money and frustration.

Anne Shirley

2 years old

Out of the 4 cats, Annie is the only one who’s really mine. She’s also the only one who responds to her name. She and her sister, Francie Nolan, were born at a neighbor’s house to a very, very sick stray momma cat. The kittens had to be weaned early so their mom could receive proper medical care, so these Annie and Francie came home at 5 weeks old. Between their first and second vaccinations, Annie came down with Panleukopenia. I spent several days shooting Pedialyte and tuna water down her throat; she made a full recovery and is now the only cat who isn’t indifferent to me. She’s a very scrappy little girl. She spends most of the day climbing trees and hunting, then comes inside at night and follows me around like a little shadow.

Francie Nolan

2 years old

Francie is an elegant, regal little house panther. And from the moment I brought her home, she’s been Jude’s cat. They are completely obsessed with each other and it’s one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen. I’m convinced Francie would have no use for me at all if she could figure out how to fill her food and water bowls. She prefers to hunt at night and spend her days curled up with her bestie.


8 months old

Technically, Matilda belongs to my niece, Rylee, and Charlotte belongs to her sister, Payton. My sister is allergic to cats, so the littles convinced me to let them have kittens at my house. (I tried to convince them that Annie and Francie could be “theirs.” The 3-year-old replied “Prancie is Jude’s cat,” and I couldn’t argue.)

Matilda is pretty laid back and incredibly independent. She likes to go exploring on her own and runs the moment anyone tries to give her any attention. She’ll curl up on your lap when she’s ready to sleep, but only stays if you don’t acknowledge her presence.


8 months old

Charlotte, bless her, is the kind of cat that would wear on the patience of even the most devoted cat person. Her sole mission in life seems to be to cause as much trouble and destruction as she possibly can. She’s the only cat who claws at my furniture. She enjoys knocking thinks off of shelves and countertops, climbing the door and window trim, and jumping from the top of the refrigerator, bookshelf, or kitchen cabinet onto my head. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this one mellows with age.

The Chuckuns

Dandy, Bette, Dot, Vivian, Cordelia, Fiona, Myrtle, Wilhemina, Madison, and Lana.

4 months old

Obviously, I know they’re chickens. But the 3-year-old calls them chuckuns and it’s adorable, so chuckuns they will always be. (When her older sister was tiny, she called my garden spade a digger hammer. Same rule applies.)

These guys are way more fun than I ever imagined they’d be. They’re all incredibly friendly, eat out of my hand, and have been very, very tolerant of the 3 tiny humans who also love them.

I was worried about how the cats and dogs would react to the birds, but so far, so good. The cats are far more interested in the coop feeders. Samson doesn’t like them, but doesn’t want to kill them. Jude is terrified of them and Lucy wants to be their best friend. Because Lucy is the best good girl.

Not pictured:

Simon, the redheaded woodpecker who lives in the tree outside my living room window.

Bellatrix, the black snake who lives under my house. Bellatrix was formally known as Salazar, until last summer when she had a bunch of tiny snake babies. Mercifully, she’s only shown herself to me twice. I know she’s a “good” snake. I know I need her, because there are also tons of bad snakes up here. But I freeze in terror at the sight of any snake, so I’m thankful she keeps to herself.

Elenore, the momma eagle who’s nesting on the mountain across from my cliff line, and her little chirping eaglets. She is majestic and I will try to get pictures or video before they move on.

That’s everyone… for now! 16 new additions coming soon!

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