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  #1  
Old 03/29/12, 05:15 PM
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Barn cat

In need of 1 or 2 the mice are taking over our barn. Was wondering if anyone had any luck taking a tame kitten ( when its old enough ) and turning it into a barn cat.

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Old 03/29/12, 05:29 PM
 
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I think you would be better off getting a couple of barn raised fairly tame half grown kittens, (or full grown cats) get them vetted and vaccinated, and going that way. They will be familiar with that sort of environment, and will already have started hunting.

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Old 03/29/12, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by tinknal View Post
I think you would be better off getting a couple of barn raised fairly tame half grown kittens, (or full grown cats) get them vetted and vaccinated, and going that way. They will be familiar with that sort of environment, and will already have started hunting.
I've tried that before without success. Made sure they had food and water and they ended up under our house and going wild. I can't seem to get them to stay in the barn. There's plenty to hunt there. I have not seen signs of large rats, just mice.
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Old 03/29/12, 05:55 PM
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Had a beautiful stray calico kitten show up at the house. Took it to the goat barn, and it has been there ever since...well.... except when she got stolen and then someone stole her back for me.

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  #5  
Old 03/29/12, 06:01 PM
 
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I have a rescue that I got as a kitten. he gets put out at night and he is great as a mouser. He has also made sure we have no moles with-in 200 feet of the house.

The key is putting them out and holding to it at about 6 months of age or so.

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Old 03/29/12, 06:28 PM
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Our house cats are all declawed, but they'll still take down a mouse if they see one. But no way we could transplant one or two of them to the barn, even if they weren't declawed. They'd spend all their time crying at our back door!

Our 'barn' cats know their place and aren't at all upset that they can't come into the house. They're hunting machines! But they were all raised in the barn.

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Old 03/29/12, 06:29 PM
 
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We have a bunch of barn cats that drift in and out of our lives as strays or just passing through. I think there is an entire cat underworld we dont know about because we rarely see them up close and they dont bother our farm cats but we sure dont have a rodent problem.

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  #8  
Old 03/29/12, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Alice In TX/MO View Post
Had a beautiful stray calico kitten show up at the house. Took it to the goat barn, and it has been there ever since...well.... except when she got stolen and then someone stole her back for me.

Pretty cat. Ever notice calicos always seem to be female. I don't think I've ever seen a male one.
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Old 03/29/12, 06:44 PM
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Our house cats are all declawed, but they'll still take down a mouse if they see one. But no way we could transplant one or two of them to the barn, even if they weren't declawed. They'd spend all their time crying at our back door!

Our 'barn' cats know their place and aren't at all upset that they can't come into the house. They're hunting machines! But they were all raised in the barn.
I would love to have an already established barn cat. My brother in law has many but they are wild. I don't want a wild cat or one that needs to be tamed. I would prefer one I was able to pet and the grandkids could too, plus one that I was able to catch and take to the vet as needed and I could hold to check its health, treat for fleas ect. These kittens dont offically live in our house, the Mom is an inside/outside cat who has raised them on our back screened in porch.
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  #10  
Old 03/29/12, 06:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dixiegal62 View Post
I've tried that before without success. Made sure they had food and water and they ended up under our house and going wild. I can't seem to get them to stay in the barn. There's plenty to hunt there. I have not seen signs of large rats, just mice.
Cats will always find the most comfortable place on the farm and hang out there. Make sure that place is in the barn. If your barn is open and drafty then build some kind of insulated, snug, draft free, well bedded home.
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  #11  
Old 03/29/12, 07:10 PM
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Alice that cat is beautiful! We lucked out, both of our barn cats found us. Both just wandered in at different times. We keep food out for them and there are good nooks and crannies for them to sleep and keep warm in winter. I put a couple of old blankets out there to make them more comfortable.

Spring is the time of the "kitten overload" at the shelters, if you could find some cats that their momma had been living feral maybe they would make good barn cats?

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  #12  
Old 03/29/12, 08:55 PM
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When I had to get new barn cats, my older ones died two winter's ago, I got three seven week old kittens from a town friend who's house cat got knocked up. Put them in the barn, and kept them there for two weeks with food and water and a heat lamp and a cozy very old recliner to sleep in. I spent a LOT of time with them out there during that two weeks, socializing and making them feel safe. When they were a bit older I would let them out to wander around with me, two of them used to sit on my shoulders or back while I would weed the garden, then get them to follow be back to the barn calling to them, kitty kitty kitty, and when the followed me back in they would get a bit of canned food. Once they were old enough I let them out in the morning, put their food up for the day, and call them back in at dusk and feed them...oh my you should see them come running when I call!

They are very friendly, love being around people and the dogs.

Annie

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Old 03/29/12, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by MO_cows View Post
Spring is the time of the "kitten overload" at the shelters, if you could find some cats that their momma had been living feral maybe they would make good barn cats?
Unfortunately, I doubt this can be done. Most, if not all, shelters won't adopt out if the animal will be living outside, even if it's got a palace in the yard.
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  #14  
Old 03/29/12, 09:39 PM
 
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Year before last, my son heard about three kittens someone wanted to give away.I had mentioned I needed a cat or two around my shelter and garden.He brought them to me and I finished raising them at my shelter.They are now catching rats, mice, moles which they won't eat, and a rabbit or two now and then.

My shelter is a hundred and fifty yards from the house.Once they were grown,I started cutting back on their feed to encourage them to hunt,it worked.Now I only feed them if the weather is bad for two or three days or they are really GLAD to see me and I know they are hungry.

Never feed them close to your house,only at the barn and get them off welfare as quickly as possible.just my 2 cent

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  #15  
Old 03/29/12, 10:30 PM
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We found a barn cat on craigslist in Dec after several months of looking. He is the best cat ever. We were overrun with mince in the barn. Within a week, there were no mice, no birds. He was raised in a barn. We got him for free with his crate, food dishes, etc. He was also already fixed. We made it so he had to stay in the barn for a month. He is very friendly and loves to play with DS. Now he is free to go as he pleases. He patrols the garden but rarely comes up to the house. I hope he likes moles and ground squirrels. He has cat food and I can tell when his hunting hasn't been successful - he actually eats it.

Wish we had found him years ago. He's worth his weight in gold.

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  #16  
Old 03/29/12, 10:44 PM
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No, you can't really turn a housecat into a barn cat. Sometimes they'll turn themselves, but not often.

Just put up a sign at the feed store "Barn Cat Wanted, will give good home" with directions to your barn, and set up a bed and feeding station in the feed room. You'll still have people dropping cats off years later.
Or, sign up with one of those feral cat programs. You'll get a cat that's been spayed, has it's shots, and knows humans mean food, even if they don't want to be petted.

If you keep getting kittens and they disappear, or just won't stay in the barn, something is wrong. For one thing, fishers, raccoons and owls are all quick death on kittens. For another, as Tinknal said, make part of your barn a nice place for them to be.
Last, don't bring them home and put them in the barn and that's it. You need to lock them in the feed room for a couple of weeks until they realize this is where the food and shelter is and it's home.

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  #17  
Old 03/29/12, 10:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dixiegal62 View Post
Pretty cat. Ever notice calicos always seem to be female. I don't think I've ever seen a male one.
Over 99% of calicos are females. The rare exception is an XXY male which is sterile. Supposedly there was a fertile male calico somewhere in Iowa years ago.

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  #18  
Old 03/29/12, 11:08 PM
 
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I wouldn't put an indoor cat outside. We got our first three cats from our horse trainer. The sisters were so close that they nursed each other's kittens. We get rid of our kittens through craigslist ads on the farm section. You should be able to find kitties there.

Our cats are so friendly that they're pests. We put out cat food but they don't eat a lot of it.

Of course, we should have kittens ready for the taking in eight weeks.
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  #19  
Old 03/29/12, 11:22 PM
 
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I told my vet. I was looking for one nasty, ill tempered, don't even think about touching me, kind of cat for the barn. I just hate to get a really nice cat hanging around, checking out what I am doing in the flower beds, and "helping" me at the wood pile. You just know they will get taken by a coyote! I haven't heard from the vet. yet, he was laughing pretty hard when I left his office. Good luck with your quest.

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  #20  
Old 03/29/12, 11:36 PM
 
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Unfortunately, I doubt this can be done. Most, if not all, shelters won't adopt out if the animal will be living outside, even if it's got a palace in the yard.
Some will though. You just have to head to the rural kill shelters and tell them what you need. They're more than happy to not have to kill halfgrown kittens.
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  #21  
Old 03/30/12, 07:24 AM
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Around here, you just stop by some of the farms and ask. I have no problem with the cats visiting all the buildings on the homestead, though most "live" in the shed with the rabbits. Two live in the barn with the dog (that is her nighttime kennel). One old gal lives in the shop. All buildings have cat doors so they can come and go. Have three house cats that like to go out often too. Unfixed cats almost always take off, both male and female. Feral cats need to be dealt with, they come on and will start harassing the residents. The ferals don't stay, just visit every few days and cause problems.

Also, make sure to feed them. A hungry cat is going to range far to find enough to eat. A fed cat is going to hunt for the joy of it, but not go that far so they do most of the hunting around the buildings where I want them to be. There are more mice out in the fields and tree lines, but those aren't the ones I want my cats to be after.

We have found we need 8-10 cats to keep the rodent population in check. we still see evidence of mice occasionally as they are always moving in from the fields.

Growing up on the farm, we were always taming half wild kittens. At about 4 weeks, the moms would bring them up to the house.

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  #22  
Old 03/30/12, 10:06 AM
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Pretty cat. Ever notice calicos always seem to be female. I don't think I've ever seen a male one.
Only female cats have 3 or more colors, something with the feline genes.
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Old 03/30/12, 10:10 AM
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Unfortunately, I doubt this can be done. Most, if not all, shelters won't adopt out if the animal will be living outside, even if it's got a palace in the yard.
You're right, however you don't have to tell them.
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Old 03/30/12, 11:54 AM
 
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You're right, however you don't have to tell them.
True, but why lie when there are so many free barn cats? You have to pay for shelter cats.

Barn cats have a rather short lifespan. DD told me that outdoor cats usually live about three years. Her favorite kitty is three years old now. She's our longest living kitty. We've got a lot of coyotes. I hate that they so easily die off but without them we would be overrun by mice and rats.
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Old 03/30/12, 01:02 PM
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True, but why lie when there are so many free barn cats? You have to pay for shelter cats.

Barn cats have a rather short lifespan. DD told me that outdoor cats usually live about three years. Her favorite kitty is three years old now. She's our longest living kitty. We've got a lot of coyotes. I hate that they so easily die off but without them we would be overrun by mice and rats.
If you value them, as I do, you just train them to come in at dusk and make sure the building barn/garage/shed you put them is is secure so they can't get out at night. I have certainly never lost a cat to coyotes during the day, not that I think it couldn't happen, but it is sure less likely!!

I have had barn cats on my farm live to be 15 to 18 years old.

Annie
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Old 03/31/12, 09:57 AM
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Our barn cats have lived to about 15 years. We have not lost any to coyotes. The cats are not confined to the barn, but that is their major hunting ground.

We have usually had females that we get spayed, but when our last female died (15 yrs old) we got two young brother kittens from a neighbouring farm. They had caught a mouse within a half hour of being in the barn. We fed them, gave them rabies shots and at a suitable age had them neutered.

They are fed good quality cat food every day, because they are important working animals and need to be kept in good condition. They do a good job of keeping the barn vermin-free.

They were tamed by being handled when they were young and they still like to be near us when we do barn chores.

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Old 03/31/12, 10:18 AM
 
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One problem with barn/farm cats is that they do not discriminate between good and bad "vermin". Last year, watched one having all that it could do to try to keep two young barn swallows in his mouth at one time. And the farm's bats are merely considered flying mice.

Martin

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  #28  
Old 03/31/12, 10:33 AM
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We haven't seen a rodent in years. I had a stray female cat show up in our field, I caught her, took her to be spayed (she already was!) and she camped out in our barn. She never seemed to want to come around the house with my other cats. Then a young tom cat showed up in the barn hungry but scared. I put down wet food and talked to him for several months before he would let me touch him. Now both are friendly (with me, no one else) and stay in or around the barn 24/7. I feed them dry food every AM, but still they are great hunters. Almost all my cats who had the drive to hunt kept on hunting even when fed daily. They just don't eat everything they kill. I think the hunting is more of a sport for them.
And yes, I agree with the other answers. A very tame sweet cat raised by you will most likely not be content to stay in the barn. She'll probably spend her day right outside your front door waiting to be let in!

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Old 03/31/12, 10:40 AM
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BTW I have an inside only cat, three in and out cats, a porch/front yard cat and the two barn cats. We almost never see a mouse. Maybe one inside the house in the early fall.

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Old 03/31/12, 02:00 PM
 
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The newest member of our family is Pumpkin, a four year old, small, fluffy orange cat. He spent his first four years as a strictly indoor cat, litter trained, Purina cat chow cat. The family got tired of the the shedding fur so we got him. He is fed Taste of the Wild kibble. He hunts. He has food, but he likes to hunt so he hunts, I've seen him.

A cat will either hunt or it won't. If it was never exposed to mouse as food, it may stalk various other things, but a hunter will figure it out. You want a cat that pounces on a wiggling string and tries to kill it. This is more likely a hunter. Doesn't matter if it was raised in a barn or penthouse.

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