Tag Archives: Neighbors

A Modern Dilemma: My Neighbor Jay


Farmer Nancy

Nancy, who lives in Hillsborough and Rocky Mount, NC and takes care of so many stray animals on her farm, contributed this recent piece about the frustrations that can come with people’s troubles–and to ask for readers’ suggestions for help! 

I’m writing this story not because I want to say, hey look at me I’m a good person, but because I’m upset about what is happening and don’t know what to do.  First, the back story.

When I built my house in 1984 at the end of a dead-end road that was mostly inhabited or owned by members of one family (who resembled the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s), there was one odd bird on the road, a gentle man named Jay, who took walks on the road with his mother and her twin.  The threesome occasionally ended up outside my house to see the progress on my house and talk.  Jay had a small antique store on the main road and traveled  to buy inventory, while his mother and aunt tended the store.  Jay lived upstairs in the store, and his mother and aunt lived in a small farm house on the adjacent lot.


They had cats.

Aunt Caroline developed breast cancer at some point, and Jay moved into the farm house to help care for her.  She died after being ill for seven years.

The cats multiplied.

More Cats!

Then Jay’s mother developed Alzheimer’s.  One day, as I was driving by, there seemed to be a swirl of cats in the yard, so I called Jay to ask him if he needed help getting them fixed.  Yes, he said, he would be so grateful, since he was too busy caring for his mother.  I caught some of the kittens and found them homes, taking two of them to my house, where they still live, and we focused our attention on the breeding females.

There were about thirty cats in all, and they were essentially feral, but they all had names.  There were a lot of Henry’s (the eighth, the sixth, etc.).  I would take two cat carriers down and leave them on the front porch.  When Jay came out to feed them, he would catch two and call me.  I would then bring them to my house to spend the night, taking them first thing in the morning to be fixed and get shots.  Things went along pretty smoothly–except for the time that one calico talked me into letting her out of her carrier inside my greenhouse, and I realized I had essentially let out a wild squirrel!

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