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Teaching a barn kitty to stay around the barn?
A friend of ours is moving to a new house and cannot take her two cats with her. The cats are inddor/outdoor cats and do have all their claws. She checked at local shelters and all of them are full. She asked us if I would take the cats and let them live in the barn with the horses. Her main concern was a wild animal hurting the cats. But I think they'll protect themselves plus we shut the doors at night, and animals don't usually come in.
My main concern is the cats wandering off into the woods and getting lost or never coming back, since it is a new home/surroundings. I figured if I locked them in the tack room with food/water and a litter box for a few days to a week they would learn to stay. Is this a good method for teaching them to stay near the barn? Is a week long enough?
Also do you have any other tips on making their transition from a home/small yard to a barn smoother and easy for them? I've owned cats but that was before we had the horses in the barn...so I don't have a lot of experience with transitioning cats to a barn.
Would not lock them in the tack room. Feed room yes, too much to be damaged in the tack room by angry kitties.
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When we had our cat spayed (and the one we had before the one we have now neutured) they stayed around the barn. I don't know if it is like they for every cat or if we've just been lucky.
Cats are very smart and learn quickly to stay where the food is. Make sure they know where the food and water bowls are and give them lots of attention and I'm sure they will learn. Maybe make up a place where they can sleep with a cat bed or something. Try to get the original owners to give something to you that has their scent on it like a blanket which will also help the cats transition.
I was going to ask a similar question as I am considering bringing a cat or two to the place I am leasing (with permission from the owners first, of course). I imagine if the tack room/barn has fresh food and water and you give them attention when you're there that they will kind of just chill around the barn and do their own thing there, but how likely is it they will take off and not return? I've considered adopting these cats from a shelter to give one or two of the shelter cats a home and it would be awkward for that cat to run away, if you get what I'm saying. :P
Also, what are all the benefits of having a barn cat?
When we get new barn cats - initally we crate them unless we are in the barn. Then we start to let them out during the day and crate for over night and then allow them full freedom.
If you feed them on a regular schedule, they tend to at least 'check in' at feeding time. We feed our barn cats enough to stick around but not enough so they don't do their rodent patrol jobs!
That was very helpful, thank you!
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