Barn Cats from the pound?
We are having the typical spring mouse invasion at our barn. I think I am going to head to our local kill shelter tomorrow to pick out our first barn cat. I want to give a cat a good home that needs one! Has anyone ever done this before? I am mainly worried about it leaving... I am sure that I will get super attached to it, like I do with all of my animals. I spoke to a lady from the shelter who suggested that we get a semi-feral cat. She said they would adapt well to barn kitty life, and that they also don't get adopted as often. She thought that after a week of living in our tack/feed room, that it would take our place as its new home.
Has anyone else ever adopted a barn cat?
Take a look at this site Barncats --- they are similar to the programs springing up around the country and all share the same basic approach.
Well, we got 2 barn cats about a year ago. We didn't adopt them from a shelter, we just brought them home from a lady who was giving away kittens.
Personally, I don't like having feral barn cats. IME, they are harder to keep around than tame ones are; plus, if you need to catch them for whatever reason (they are sick or hurt), you risk getting yourself really hurt with a feral cat.
If you do go feral, get a young kitten as they tame down a lot quicker than a grown cat does.
Once you get it home, lock it in a secure room for a few days, give it a consistent place where it can find food/water, and socialize it well. Make sure that there are no threats that would cause it to want to run away after you open the door to the room it's in. I had to make sure that none of my dogs got loose when my kittens first started to roam around freely. After they got a bit older and decided that the barn was "home" they'll fight off any loose dogs that bother them.
As I said, we've got 2 and since they grew old enough to hunt, I've only seen 1 mouse in the barn, they've cleared all the gophers out of my Dad's front yard, and I've not had a single problem with swallows trying to nest in the barn rafters either.
I'll never be without at least 1 barn cat ever again.
@themacpack I looked at that website earlier. :) I wish that they had such a good program closer to where we are. I kept hoping that random stray cats would just show up and call our place home, but we haven't been that lucky! It seems like every other barn has too many cats... and instead we have no cats and too many mice. ;)
@smrobs... good point about the feral cats! I didn't think about transporting them to the vet and such... Maybe we can find a snuggle bunny cat that is also a good mouser??
If you confine cats to the tack room, be sure to remove the saddles. Cats love to scratch leather. My cat was never allowed in the tack room. Traps were my preference as they don't scratch and don't pee.
A friend of mine and I rented this old woman's back yard for the horses one year. There was on old dairy barn on the ten acres that we took days cleaning out so the horses would have shelter. The problem was mice. I have never seen so many mice in my life. You could watch ten of fifteen of them running across the beams while you were in the barn feeding the horses. It was GROSS.
Honestly, my daughter and I would 'trap' some by putting a handful of grain in a trash can and leaving it under a beam over night. By mornign there woudl be between four and 20 mice in the can....
I tried the pound, but because I didn't live there, they were not interested in adopting to us. What I found was a very nice lady who had watched a feral cat have kittens in the brush under in window at work. When the kittens were about five months old, she trapped them, had them vetted, neutered/spayed and gotten them shots of worming. At that point, she looked for a home for these 100% feral four cats.
It was a perfect situation. We kept them in a large dog crate for two weeks, with lots of dry cat food. Then we opened the crate, keeping the cat food dish full, and offered canned every few days.
After a month, they stopped eatign the dry cat food and we removed the dog crate.
We woudl see glimpses of them every once in a while, but the best part was that the mouse population plumited over the next year! There was no more listening to them running across the roof and I never saw one again (well, at least not after the cats had been loose for a coupel weeks.) When I woudl get a glimpse of the cats, they were FAT and SASSY!!!
I did feel bad about leavign them when we left, but they had more than enough wild food to catcha and were doing great.
@Saddlebag, I have also though about that. We have several trunks that we can place our expensive tack in, and maybe we can just move the rest of it.
We found several holes next to our hay pile, which we covered up with scrap rubber mats. Then there are the ones in our tack/feed room... Ugh. Those are the ones that are apparently wall climbers!!! It is grrroooosss.
We have 6 barn cats. They are all tame enough to catch. Even the fat, lazy one loves to catch mice. Since we started keeping cats, we don't have a rat problem at all.
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