Cat as horse companion? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 07-13-2014, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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Location: San Juan Islands, Washington
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Question Cat as horse companion?

So I'm finally going to be getting a horse and keeping it on our new property. A 9 year old mare that I think has been with other horses her whole life. But we can't have 2 horses (or ponies, or minis). I can't keep up with working them and we can't afford twice the feed. We can't keep goats, b/c they'd just get out of our electric fence, and I'm pretty sure my mom won't let me keep sheep either. We live down a road in the middle of some woods, so no horses where she can see them, either. Anyways, my question is if there is a cat or two around, would they be likely to bond with my horse so that she isn't lonely? We're hopefully going to get a cat or two after we move, so it's not like the cat would really have any companions either. We do have two dogs, but I think that one if them would be more likely to chase my mare than befriend her, and the other just doesn't have horse sense at all. And then, is there some way to introduce cat and horse so that they are more likely to be friends? I mean, I know you can't force that or anything, but is there a way to encourage them? Or if you guys have another idea of a companion for her? Also, if a cat, would age or gender affect it at all?

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post #2 of 14 Old 07-13-2014, 11:15 PM
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They may be companions but it's pretty rare. Even the cats/horses that like each other are just "oh hey buddy" in passing. A cat will not provide the necessary level of companionship, will it play and groom your horse? Will it stick around and watch your horse graze?

If they get along great, but I wouldn't be looking for it as a solution.

I have 5 cats and 4 horses atm. IF I'm hanging out in the barn one in particular will come visit with the horses but that's about it.

The cat probably wouldn't be fulfilled either, and will your dogs be ok with a cat? Chasing things = bad. Esp with a horse, good way to get the dog hurt too.
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post #3 of 14 Old 07-13-2014, 11:25 PM
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You'll make a better companion for your horse than a cat will. Since you can't do another grazing animal you need to spend extra time with your mare and some of that needs to be just hanging out with her while she grazes. Grab a lawn chair & a book and find a shady spot to park yourself in her pasture for an hour every few days.
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post #4 of 14 Old 07-14-2014, 04:25 AM
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I would try convince your parents to get 1 sheep at the very least - I can't see a cat providing any level of companionship for a horse beyond tolerating each other or saying hello then the cat wandering off to do its own thing.

Keeping a herd animal on its own can be a stressful life for them.
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post #5 of 14 Old 07-14-2014, 05:08 AM
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I don't think it will work out. Too different animals.

Could you look at offering agistment for someone else's horse? They could pay to keep a retired horse there, or even someone you could ride with? Horses really are better with others of their own kind.
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post #6 of 14 Old 07-14-2014, 05:24 AM
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A predatory, solitary animal with a herd prey animal? Nope, a cat might sometimes show affection towards a horse, but they are just too different in their psychological and physical needs for a cat to really be a good companion for a horse.

I have come a long way, to surrender my shadow to the shadow of my horse.
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post #7 of 14 Old 07-14-2014, 06:43 AM
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post #8 of 14 Old 07-14-2014, 12:28 PM
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Unfortunately horses are herd animals and need similar companionship to be happy. A cat just isn't going to cut it, no matter how you look at it. Sit down with your parents and try to find something that will work, explain why horses can't be by themselves. Minis won't cost double the feed, when I had my mini he ate one or two flakes of hay a day (light flakes) depending on the seasons. Or like another poster said, look into getting one sheep.
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post #9 of 14 Old 07-14-2014, 12:36 PM
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It makes me so sad to hear about when people make a horse live a lonely and stressful life alone for their own benefit. Please think of the horse and either get a proper companion for your horse, or wait until you can afford to do so.

Many companion horses do not need to be worked as they are no longer sound for working. Minis don't eat that much but could get injured by a horse due to the size difference.
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post #10 of 14 Old 07-14-2014, 12:36 PM
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Miniature horses definitely don't cost as much in feed as horses do. They are typically very easy keepers, so they shouldn't take more than maybe a handful of grain.
The only areas that Minis will cost the same amount in are Farrier and Vet bills. Most Farriers won't change their prices for a Mini as far as I know, and a shot is a shot when it comes to the vets. Other than that, it is cheaper to keep a mini if they are used only as companion animals.
Horses simply CANNOT live alone, and a cat or a dog would never work. Essentailly, if it doesn't have four hooves and a tail, it probably won't work out.

If you can convince your parents to get the mini, remember when looking for a mini (or a small Shetland pony, for that matter) that you MUST find one that has been around large horses, and isn't aggressive. We ended up rescuing a small Shetland that hadn't been treated fairly, but when introduced to our large horses, he was far too aggressive. After private turnout and getting some weight on him, he was sold immediately.

So just keep all of that in mind - must have a suitable companion, making sure they aren't aggressive.
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