Are your barn cats fixed? Or should they be?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by DixyDoodle, Dec 23, 2006.

  1. DixyDoodle

    DixyDoodle stranger than fiction

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    I have two barn cats and have been thinking it's just about time to get them fixed. I was under the assumption that my female would probably not go into heat until spring since she is strictly an outdoor cat (she is under 6 months old), but she is starting to act 'weird' and my male (who is the same age but from a different litter) is starting to act a little too interested in her. I was going to wait and get him fixed in January. I wouldn't mind a few more cats, but I would really rather she not have any kittens before I get her fixed. I was just not planning on having to have her done til maybe February (to beat a spring heat).

    Anyhow, I was talking to a neighbour who said, "what the heck are you fixing your barn cats for?" As he saw it, it was a waste of money because around my area, it's an average of $225 for a spay of a female.....for a cat that may or may not hang around forever, be picked up and 'adopted' by a well-meaning neighbour, or get killed in the road or by another predator. His opinion is that I will never be overrun with cats, as some will always come to a 'bad end'. What is your opinion of this?

    I am not asking if I should spay my cat or not, because I am. I used to work at a shelter, so that idea is just too ingrained! :p I was just curious if I was the odd person out here that does this or what? Your thoughts?

    DD
     
  2. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    All of my supposed "barn cats" are neutered and spayed. I hate seeing all the unwanted cats and kittens everywhere.
     

  3. tamatik

    tamatik Well-Known Member

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    after having over 20 in the barn at one time..I now have them fixed.got one here rite now thats fixin to get fixed in 2 weeks
     
  4. e.alleg

    e.alleg Well-Known Member

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    I let mine reproduce. Everyone loves kittens and they keep the mice away. We also have plenty of space for them and we feed them. I usually give away or sell most of the females as kittens to people who want pets so I don't have to feed 50 cats, but we keep 10 around no trouble at all. They eat all the leftovers and about $10 of food a month. Although our cats are "barn cats" they are loved from the minute they are born.
     
  5. Janis Sauncy

    Janis Sauncy Well-Known Member

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    Please, please, please....don't add to the cat overpopulation! Get the kitties "fixed" as soon as they are old enough. Some vets are doing it at a really young age now.

    If $$$ is an issue, call your local shelter and ask if they have a program (sometimes they receive grants) to help you, or ask them if they know of any groups that will help you out. About four years ago, I went through one of the groups.....I had four cats (3 spays and a neuter) to have done. The woman took them to the vet(s) for me. They were vaccinated at the same time and it only cost me $49.00! I was so thrilled, I wrote the check for $75.00 (to help out the next person).

    The shelters are overflowing with unwanted animals. Please don't add to the misery. And, just because they're "barn cats" doesn't mean they suffer less than those "valued" housecats.

    (Ok, I'm off my soap box....for now.)
     
  6. DixyDoodle

    DixyDoodle stranger than fiction

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    I agree but there seems to be a lot of people that just don't fix barn cats. Mine are valued as mousers. The place I used to ride at always had pretty much the same number of cats, but never had one fixed. :shrug: Not sure what happened to the others (assuming there were some litters), but I never saw any kittens around.
     
  7. Corky

    Corky Well-Known Member

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    My barn cats are fixed and have been for 10 years.
    They are still here and still living in the barn even though we live on a busy country road.
    I am sure it is just luck but I would still get it done even if they didn't last.

    We have two house cats because their Mom was a stray that wondered into our barn while our little GS was here and he named it right away.
    The barn cats tried to kill it so we took it into the house. It had two kittens in a box in my living room and was killed when she was weening them.
    She chased a mouse across the road. The mouse made it. She didn't.
    I don't like cats in the house but my DH and DS outvoted me.
    They are brother and sister so of course they are fixed. They are two now.
     
  8. pookshollow

    pookshollow Pook's Hollow

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    All my cats are neutered - inside and out. We got two kittens in the summer for the barn and had them fixed, because they're males. If you don't neuter them, they don't hang around! If they'd been female, I'd have had them spayed, because I don't want kittens and I don't want the neighbours' tomcats coming over and spraying everywhere. Simple. :)
     
  9. Janis Sauncy

    Janis Sauncy Well-Known Member

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    Years ago, I used to buy my hay from an old dairy farmer. He was definitely from the "old school" when it came to his barn cats. He would feed them and they would get milk. BUT it never occurred to him to "fix" them. They would go along for a few years, reproducing and in-breeding. By about the third year of this, he would have thirty or forty cats......all of them sick, wormy, runny eyes, snotty noses. Pitiful. They would then all die. Then he would look for someone who had a litter of kittens, bring the entire litter home, and start the process all over.

    Very sorry situation for the kitties (and heartbreaking for me). It's also possible that the reason you didn't see any kittens, someone maybe "eliminated" them as soon as they were born. Another terrible possibility.

    And, certainly, spaying or neutering won't eliminate their instinct to hunt. I, however, would prefer my cats not eat their catches. That's one sure way to get parasites into them. As for worming, you can worm with Zimectrin paste horse wormer. It is a very small dose (1/10 cc per 10 pounds) and be sure to use a syringe. I had (still have him) a rescue kitty, from a feral mama, who was SO wormy. One time, I got in a hurry and put the wormer on the tip of my finger and gave it to him. He then got kinda' loopy, couldn't walk straight, and then slept for about 12 hours straight. I took what I thought was close to the amount I had given him and put it in a syringe, trying to estimate what I had given him, and it was way too much. He came out of it and now is one nice, big healthy cat (although, because he was so wormy and, as a result, had diarrhea so much in the beginning, we named him "Little Itty Bitty S****y Kitty;" now, though, we just call him "Little Bit," which, due to his size, isn't really appropriate anymore either).

    Love my cats!
     
  10. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    We live on a quiet road, so our pets are not killed.

    After we neutered our tomcat, we noticed that he is behavior was much improved. He stayed home, he was more patient with the kids, and he was a more pleasant cat to be around.

    What good is it to have a cat who hunts well, if he spends 2 days out of three on the road looking for girls?
     
  11. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm all for getting at least some of the barncats fixed. We just had our three males neutered, but we are keeping their mother intact because all her kittens are awesome mousers, the best we've ever had. But that being said....If it was going to cost me $225 to get ONE cat fixed???? I'd not be able to do it. Simply couldn't afford it. :shrug: Our vet charges $30 for a spay and $15 for a neuter. At that price, I can afford it! We love our cats and we never allow them to get inbred, but at $225 a pop?? I'd be thinking about learning to do a neuter myself. I have a friend who does the male cats herself, says its easy as can be. But at $15 per kitty at the vet in town...I'll let him do it!
     
  12. Beltane

    Beltane Enjoying Four Seasons

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    Every now and then we have a new barn cat show up...and I immediately trap it an get it spayed or neutered. (And then bring it back to my barn, of course! :) ) There are so many unwanted kitties in this world ~ I guess this way I know I'm doing my part. :)
     
  13. KCM

    KCM Well-Known Member

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    Other than the expense, can you think of a good reason NOT to get them fixed? You are not odd, you just love animals and feel a responsibility toward them.
     
  14. farmergirl

    farmergirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Duh! Of course they should be fixed! Sorry to sound bossy, but it really steams me when people let their animals breed uncontrolled. I know it's "old school" farming to just let them live in your barn unvaccinated, unspayed, but some things have improved over time. There will NEVER be too few cats in this country for everyone who wants to have a barn cat/ mouser/ house pet to find one. Please neuter/ spay the cats! The gestation period for cats is only about 2 mos and that means they can multiply exponentially in an unbelievably short period of time. Some problems in this world are hard to solve, but domestic animal over population doesn't full into that category. It is our duty as the dominant, bigger-brained, rational species to take care of the animals on earth.
     
  15. Karin L

    Karin L Bovine and Range Nerd

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    Both my cats are fixed, one because they're brother and sister and there could be some nasty inbreeding going on, second because we don't want any extra kitties around, there's lots of stray cats around here as it is.
     
  16. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    As I have said mine are NOT fixed,they aren't broken are they. I know I get flak for this but I have 5 cats right now and one litter. That will have there new homes at Valentines. They are pretty much outdoor barn cats. But they come into the house too. The numbers stay consistant and the kittens ALL find good homes. As barn cats/mousers. If you want yours cut thats up to you. I would rather not see inbreeding either. And if that was the case I would think about doing something about that issue. But if your up north the cat should not have A outdoor litter in the winter. The kittens can get sick quick.
     
  17. pasotami

    pasotami Hangin out at the barn!

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    All of the females are fixed here on the farm. I can tell you what happens to the ones that run away or do not know what happens to them - they turn wild, they hunt to eat, they kill other peoples birds and smaller pets...... then they get trapped and shot.
    Unfortunately around here they have to be removed, they kill our chickens and just last night another one that I have been watching attached one of our big roosters, plucked him pretty good but did no real damage, this evening he was at the barn trying to eat the sheep feed and he has attacked the setting hens in the loft of the barn. I will have to either shoot him or trap him (if I can). He has no rabies shot and this area is big on that and he is not just eating the rats and mice, the chickens are easier to get.
    So PLEASEEEEEEEEEE fix your females.... if you want more kittens there are always some out there for you to adopt and love....
     
  18. Lizza

    Lizza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Everyone is fixed here. We just had another one show up and the first thing I do is call our local animal shelter to have them spayed/neutered at a reduced cost. I've also gone to a feral cat program and they spay/neuture and vaccinate for free but ask for a donation if you can (feral cats only).
     
  19. hoofinitnorth

    hoofinitnorth Well-Known Member

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    No barn cats here. Well not anymore. I have one buried in the field and another living with a companion on the second story of my house, separated from the boys. I don't have/need barn cats and someone told me it was illegal (considered inhumane) to have them fed solely on their catch but I have not confirmed that... Anyway, the two to which I'm referring were left in the barns at the last place where we lived and we brought them indoors to live out their days in better care. They were already spayed & neutered but one was deaf and front declawed and the other had glaucoma and had to have an eye taken out.

    PLEASE spay & neuter your kitties and all pets, even if you think they won't get away from you or reproduce. Please. Provide them good food & shelter. Take care of them and keep them healthy and safe.
     
  20. DixyDoodle

    DixyDoodle stranger than fiction

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    hoofinitnorth, oh don't worry, mine are all well-fed! LOL They get dry food left out all day, and a can of canned food at night.....and yes, they still catch mice and yes they still eat them. :) I guess a cat is a cat is a cat! Some cats are just born mousers.

    I'm glad there are so many here that don't think I'm odd for wanting to see my cats fixed. There still does seem to be some that think it's a waste of time. I do know some people also, like Janis said, that just 'collect' cats and replace them as they die.

    There is one concern that I can't do much about (not if I want barn cats, anyhow). A number of cats in my county have FIPS, which is somewhat like AIDS for cats. No cat can be vaccinated against this, so any outdoor cat is at risk---although it is more common in the city. But like everyone said, fixing them keeps them closer to home, so all I can hope is that everyone in the neighbourhood is doing the same.

    Thanks for all the responses.

    DD