Possible Barn Cat? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 12-29-2009, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Possible Barn Cat?

I just discovered a cat living under the porch at my business. Poor thing, looks a bit skinny and eyes a bit runny.

So, I went and bought some cat food, wet and dry, and the little darling let me get just close enough to put the dishes close to him (?). I'm assuming it's a him, but I don't know yet.

Tomorrow I am going to attempt to get him to come to me so I can put him into the carrier I have and take him home.

Hubby has said point blank, no more house cats, so I'm thinking he could make a very nice barn cat. . . for now.

The last time I rescued a cat is cost me over $200 and he left when he was just getting strong. I guess his journey wasn't over. I'm hoping this one, if I can get to him, will want to stay.

Of course, I think hubby knows that it won't stay a barn cat for too long. I have a very soft heart for little creatures.

Those of you that do own barn cats, what do you do for them for shelter? Is the barn and hay enough, or do you have a special bed for them? I've never had a barn cat. Any info or suggestions would be very welcomed.
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post #2 of 18 Old 12-29-2009, 09:36 PM
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Well, if it's in a barn then that can be shelter itself. Normally ours sleep in the hay. I do have a bit of advice on this particular cat. If his eyes are runny there are some very serious, very contagious diseases that the runny eyes could be a syptom of. In many cats runny eyes mean respiratory issues. Someone else may remember the other one, but one is called feline leukemia which is fatal to the cat and any others who catch it. It is caught through sexual contact and fighting.
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post #3 of 18 Old 12-29-2009, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Thanks SmoothTrails. Yes, I realize that I will have to bring it to a vet to have it examined. It's eyes do not look as bad as that other cat I rescued (or attempted to) years ago, and that had a respiratory infection.

It's demeanor appeared to be cautious but not frightened, if that makes any sense. So, if I am able to get to it, I will be very cautious so as not to be scratched while putting it into the carrier.

Back to the barn issue, are they warm enough in the hay in the winter? That's my biggest concern. I'm used to my pets being in the house with me, snug and warm. But, like I mentioned, Don is very much against this (for now).

Can't believe at my age I've never had a barn cat. Just astounds me.
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post #4 of 18 Old 12-29-2009, 09:59 PM
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I don't know about barn cats but my family used to have an outdoor cat (my mom is seriously allergic and the cat came with our house and the previous owners asked us to keep her) and she did just fine for 13 years with just a refrigerator box, and a few blankets on our covered deck. She was already very old when we moved in and then she lived for 13 more years. O.o She never tried to sneak into the house when it was cold or anything so we were always pretty sure she was happy out there. When it would get super snowy and icy, we'd move her to our garage with the door open a smidge (she hated being unable to leave) so she had more shelter.

She was a good cat. Haha I love cats, I wish I could have another one.

He should be fine. Especially since he's already acclimatized to the outdoors. =)

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post #5 of 18 Old 12-29-2009, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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That's very encouraging Wallaby.

Keeping my fingers crossed that I can "capture" him tomorrow.
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post #6 of 18 Old 12-29-2009, 10:04 PM
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Yep, hay will keep them plenty warm. :) The cat can burrow down in there to add warmth, and they will normally build themselves a little nest. My outside cat at my father's just has the ability to get in on the back porch out of the wind.

You may want to wear leather gloves when you get him. Feluk is not a worry for humans, but of course there are others that could be an issue. Good luck with the kitty. :)
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post #7 of 18 Old 12-30-2009, 02:12 PM
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Being that the cat is already outside he/she should be fine in a barn full of cozy hay. I love cats and like to spoil them. At the barn I board at there are 5 cats. The love to curl up in the hay and also we have a box with a blanket that they lay in. I also bring out warm water for them and they love that.

The runny eyes I would have that looked at for sure. Strays have a tendency to have feline lukemia and distemper.

Good luck catching the cat!!!

It's not the will to win, but the will to prepare to win that makes the difference.
- Paul "Bear" Bryant (Former college football coach)
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post #8 of 18 Old 12-30-2009, 02:20 PM
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I volunteer at a cat rescue. We had an outbreak of ring worm and a few colds this year but nothing to bad. I would try to get a humane trap for him. Its harder than you think to catch a wild cat yourself. We use those leather large bird gloves, they are huge though.
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post #9 of 18 Old 12-30-2009, 02:33 PM
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Hay is good enough. However, if your a big softy like me and my family.... We have a couple of boxes stuffed with hay positioned into an L shape. I have some shingles laid down as a floor and some 2x4s that are being stored used as a "roof". Then we have a heat lamp targeted into the corner of the L. Pathetic I know.

This is in our loft so the floor has spaces, but the barn is still very weatherproof so they don't really "need" all this extra stuff. We even have 6 of them so they're perfectly capable of keeping warm together. They take turns cuddling under the lamp.
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post #10 of 18 Old 12-30-2009, 02:38 PM
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I have yet to take a barn cat to the vet but if you feel the need go ahead Mine are true "farm cats" They live here sometimes and at my neighbors sometimes. There is one momma cat who is wild but comes in to eat and have her baby's The first few litters she had didn't make it long but I do have one who survived. Her last litter was 6 kittens who I made a point to "humanize" I started picking them up as much as I could. Momma would move and hide them if I messed too much but now I can at least get hold of them long enough to put some flea/tick stuff on them in the summer. I use a feed on wormer so catching isn't a problem with that.
I have a large box lined with straw plus a broken straw bale with a horse blanket on it for them to sleep in. I don't have a cat door for them but there's a place where the barn siding got bent up that they come and go through. They drink water either out of the horses water tank (they just hang on the side) or they go into the chicken coop.
As far as food, I feed whatever dry is on sale. I don't have a litter box set up, they go outside although when they were little they did their thing inside YUCK! Tidy Cat makes a powder litter box deodorizer that helped with the smell. I scooped it out when I could find it. Note: my barn has a dirt floor.
Now they all go outdoors so no big deal. I suggest letting the cat figure out that it is to go outside so you don't have to deal with a box.
We live on a fairly busy road and there are many many natural predators in our area. My barn kitty population will rise and fall with the seasons. Its really high right now with the cold weather, but mid summer I may be down to one or two or even none.
I keep them strickly for mousers. They do a much better job than trap or poison. They are in the barn where I keep all my feed and I have only rarely seen a mouse there.

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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