“Shhh,” I gently reminded my three-year-old daughter, Riley, as we stepped into the barn. We were on a mission to find the kittens. We knew they were there. We just weren’t sure where. The barn is full of excellent hiding spots for their Mom to tuck them away.

Over the past couple of weeks, mama cat was showing all the signs that she was definitely carrying a litter, and suddenly her tummy shrunk and I knew the kittens had made their way out into the world and likely to a warm bed in the barn surrounded by hay.

We walked quietly. Naturally, our first step was to follow the mom, but she wasn’t going to help us. Rather, she led us on several false trails in other outbuildings on the farm with no kittens to be found.

Surely they were tucked away in the barn loft full of hay. Securely hidden behind some bales keeping them safe from outsiders. We tiptoed around the loft quietly listening for tiny meows. After maxing out a three-year-old’s ability for silence we gave up!

As we trudged down the stairs in silent defeat, loud meows escaped from somewhere near. “Shhh,” I said again, “did you hear that?” The biggest grin crossed Riley’s face and I knew the sound wasn’t a figment of my imagination. Meows then came loud and clear and they were right to our left. Following their cries, we found them where? In the cat cage. Apparently, mama cat isn’t that sneaky. They were right under our noses.

After that, we sat. We sat in silent wonder as we watched these tiny babies crawl around their new home. We laughed as they let out baby hisses not trusting these new strangers who invaded their peaceful place. I picked them up and their purrs came quickly when they realized we were their friends.

Searching for kittens that day brought a slew of memories from my own childhood. I spent hours as a kid exploring the farm, seeking the thrill that any encounter with something other than my dog would provide.

Simple things can bring such joy, we wasted an afternoon that day, but it was time well wasted.

A few weeks later after the babies had grown.

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