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Since there are many rats & mice in my area (including in the garden), I would like to get 2 cats. My understanding is that cats raised in barns are better hunters, but they do not know about litter boxes and only go outside.

Does anyone see any problems with getting 2 barn cats, keeping them in the house, but installing a cat door so they can go outside when they want? (Apparently I will have to get a cat door with a magnet so it only opens for the cats in order to keep rats, racoons, etc. from coming in.) I was wondering whether anyone knows if such cats would spray in the house or cause any other problems.

I would appreciate any advice. Thanks,

Mike T.
 

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We have barn cats and then we have two barn/house cats. The barn cats, though pets, are scared to death if you try to take them in the house. Then we have two nuetered males who stay in the barn when they want, but we also let them in the house when they ask.
They are clean and being neutered males, do not spray. We feed them some at the house, but they still catch rats and mice as the main part of their diet. They are two very nice cats. They are not litterbox-trained, so we do not leave them inside overnight. They sit at the door and meow if they want to go out during the day, and if they need to go, they get very insistent. :)
 

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Get them as kittens and raise them as you like. As long as they are being handled, take them over the age of eight weeks, twelve to fourteen weeks is a good age, but older is fine as long as someone handles them. Make sure they are interested in hunting, though. They should react to a squiggly string by pouncing and clawing at it. They should react to a small ball or toy rolling by them.

Treat them as indoor/outdoor cats. When they are inside, they will hunt the inside mice. When they are outside, they will hunt the outside mice. As long as you let them outdoors routinely, they will continue to relieve themselves outside. If, for some reason, you want them trained to a litter box, just confine them in a room with the litter box (back porch, bathroom, crate). Put some grass on the kitty litter and they will use the box. They will then probably use the outdoors when they are outside, and use the litter box when they are inside.
 

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Even indoor cats can be good mousers. We have one that was a rescue, she is declawed on the front(not our doing) and had been an indoor cat all of her three years.

It wasn't long after she came to our home that she made it quite clear that being soley indoors was NOT going to happen anymore.

She goes in and out(often times meowing just so we will open the door and she can stare outor in as the case may be, for a minute and then walk away) catches mice and birds and climbs trees.

All of our cats are indoor/outdoor cats (except one who refuses to go out because she might burn calories out there and our 18 year old cat who is blind now), they have free choice cat food inside and generally spend hot afternoons inside in the a/c. Then they go out and hunt at night. We are always finding dead mice and the occasional dead rat.
 

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Our two barn cats started out as house cats. For some reason they decided to move to the barn. They are both neutered males. Our housecats all have outdoor access and everyone is spayed/neutered when they are old enough. They are all great mousers, except the 17-year-old.

As far as that goes, all our dogs love to catch mice/rats/bugs/armadillos/weasels/coyotes/rabbits/etc...basically anything that moves.
 

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I can't say as I've ever had that problem with any of my cats... Most start as strays, feral, or barn cats... All used the litter box provided with no issues. Cats naturally want to bury their waste, even their kills.

A well fed, bored cat is a great hunter... even if it lives in the barn. ;)
 
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