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From Mice to Companionship: Our Cats Make a Difference

These perfect killing machines shrunk into an adorable little package are so beneficial for our homestead and for our hearts.

We have three boys who are excellent mouse catchers around our homestead which helps to increase cleanliness and decrease wasted livestock feed. Each of our boys are FIV+. Years ago, FIV+ cats were euthanized as they were seen as a hazard to cat populations and a hazard to their own quality of life.

FIV stands for feline immunodeficiency virus and is similar to human HIV. It weakens a cat’s immune system and decreases their life expectancy due to higher susceptibility to disease and illness.

Today’s veterinarians do not recommend euthanasia for FIV+ cats because they can live long healthy lives if well taken care of. What you’ll hear from many veterinarians is that you should keep these cats inside for their entire lives so they can’t spread the disease.

We wholeheartedly disagree with this.

Quality of life and length of life are improved by allowing cats to be cats. Of course there is always some sort of danger being outside (especially with our predator load), but keeping a cat inside and disallowing their cat nature is not healthy. Plus, they help us by keeping the mice and rat population low and they love doing it.

FIV+ typically occurs in male cats because they fight more and the disease is passed via deep bites (saliva and blood transfer). It cannot be passed to humans. Once neutered or spayed, a cat’s desire to fight and be possessive tends to drop off and leads to fewer fights.

We betcha didn’t expect to learn about a feline disease today.

One last special thing about our cats is that they eat a raw meat diet. The boys love chicken, duck, rabbit, and occasionally beef (roast from our meals or our homemade jerky). We purchase from multiple sources based on timing of need, cost, and the ability to purchase ground meat and bones without organ meats (also another topic for another time). We hope to grow our own pet food in the future.

Now of course this diet is not recommended by most veterinarians because these cats are more susceptible to health issues, but have you seen the ingredients on kibble? It’s trash. Cats are obligate carnivores and should be eating meat – not cheaply made kibble. Most kibble has an inappropriate ratio of carbs to protein which causes pets to overeat (become overweight, diabetes, health issues, etc.) to reach the proper protein intake level. Don’t fix what ain’t broken with what cats have eaten for thousands of years – meat.

Our cats are an absolute joy (mixed with some mischievousness) for us and were our first animals together before moving to Arda Acres. It’s adorable watching them roam the land as a little gang keeping things safe from tiny rodents while exploring. We hope with them being able to express their “catness” and their healthy diet that they’ll all have long and happy lives with us.


welcome to Arda Acres

We’re first generation homesteaders working in lockstep with Mother Nature and our land to provide safety and security for our family and community.

Our purpose is to bridge the great divide that exists between the everyday person and their connection to self-sufficiency and sovereignty.

Join us on this journey to greater sovereignty!


    Monty is named after Inigo Montoya (named by my brother) from The Princess Bride. He is our eldest cat and who we describe as a grumpy old man. He’s definitely the leader of the pack and disciplines the other cats if they aren’t behaving to his standards.

    He would be the scariest of our cats if he was the size of a tiger. He’s fast and efficient when hunting and was the first one to catch mice when we moved to our homestead. He’s also our most cautious and intelligent boy who thinks things through properly before making a decision.

    He’s the sweetest old man who loves scratches on the side of his face and affection absolutely only when he wants it.

    Mr. (Rugen) Thumbs

    Mr. Thumbs is named after Count Rugen the Six Fingered Man because Thumbs is polydactyl (extra digits on all paws). He is the craziest cat lacking any sense of self-preservation. Where Monty is cautious and discerning, Thumbs is spontaneous and dives into anything without a second thought. He’s squared up against our goats and Juno and doesn’t seem to think it’s an issue that he’s far less than half their size.

    We liken Thumbs to a dog in a cat’s body with how he behaves and follows us around. Live is definitely more entertaining with him around.

    Thumbs acts as though he’s eternally starved for affection and will happily invade your personal space for attention. He also loves for any human to blow air in his face. No idea why.


    Dread is named for the Dread Pirate Roberts and is our newest and youngest addition. He’s still getting used to the older bonded boys, but is the sweetest cuddle buddy out of all of them even if he does step on my throat in the middle of the night. He doesn’t seem to have any sense of personal space.

    His cute meow sounds like a cartoon New York gangster voice but you’d have to hear it in person to fully understand.

    It’s adorable watching him watch Thumbs and Monty interact as he learns from his older brothers. His desire to wake me up in the wee hours of the morning to snuggle under the covers with me is precious (excluding the sleep interruption). Being outside and following them around is one of his favorite activities besides demanding affection at 3am.