What Is a Barn Cat?

The farm cat, also known as a barn cat, is a domestic cat, usually of mixed breed, that lives primarily out-of-doors, in a feral or semi-feral condition on agricultural properties, usually sheltering in outbuildings. They eat assorted vermin such as rodents and other small animals that live in or around outbuildings and farm fields. The need for the farm cat may have been the original reason cats were domesticated, to keep rodents from consuming or contaminating grain crops stored for later human consumption. They are still commonly kept for their effectiveness at controlling undesired vermin[1][2][3][4][5][6] found on farms, ranches, greenhouses, and even drug farms, which would otherwise eat or contaminate crops, especially grain or feed stocks. Farm cats hunt the initial rodent population, and their pheromones keep further rodents from filling the void.[7][8]

Some are feral with minimal human contact, and no veterinary care, and derive sustenance solely from their job of lowering the mouse and rat populations. Others are kept as part-time pets , living both indoors and out, roaming freely, yet allowed inside to be fed supplemental cat food on a regular basis, and given routine veterinary care.

Other property owners deliberately do not feed outside farm cats, in the incorrect belief [10] that they will not hunt rodents if they have supplemental food. In some cases, feral animals are trapped, spayed or neutered , then re-released to keep their territory claimed and to prevent new, fertile strays from taking up residence. If given supplemental food or where rodents are plentiful, losses from predation or disease may be made up by new stray animals moving into the territory.

More often, especially when supplemental food is provided, overpopulation is common, and losses then occur primarily due to disease or accidents, with predation playing a minor roleall insufficient to make a substantial dent in the population.

Can a barn cat become a house cat?

If any of your barn cats end up contracting either condition, immediately transition her to an indoor-only cat. Other health issues that need regular medical attention and would require your cat to stay indoors are: Conditions that require medications on a schedule.

What is the difference between a house cat and a barn cat?

A house cat prefers Fancy Feast; a barn cat would rather eat mice (or steal your lunch when you’re not looking). 2. Most house cats are afraid of their own shadow. … Barn cats would climb in your pockets if you’d let them (mostly so they can get close enough to steal your lunch when you’re not looking).

What breed are barn cats?

Although you’ll find that most barn cats today fall under the domestic shorthair or domestic longhair categories (as opposed to purebreds), some of the most prevalent cat breeds began life on the farm!

Is it OK to have barn cats?

Barn cats are not necessarily great companions for the farmer, but they are often great companions to other animals. This will depend greatly upon their personal disposition that does vary from animal to animal. However, in my own experience, I have seen a few barn cats take up with the dog and a few goats too.

Always staring through the window, waiting in anticipation for their next meal, napping on our cars roof, or curled up in a pot, squashing my beautiful flowers! They kinda own the place around here! What can I say?!

When it comes to farm life, they play an essential role in keeping your barn and yard rodent-free and tidy. But even if youre not a huge fan, an outdoor cat can be pretty easy to keep and bring you many benefits.

And just because theyre barn cats, all wild and free, doesnt mean they cant have a wonderful home and safe place to live happily. Your local feed store, pet shop, or animal shelter will probably have some cats up for adoption or leads. There are a few things I suggest you do when you bring your cat home to ensure they always stay close or come back:

Keep them in this large crate for about 10-14 days ( if possible) with plenty of food and water plus a litter box. You may choose to move the litter box out of the crate but keep it nearby. After a few days of roaming freely, move their food, water, and litter box out ( if you havent already) of the crate.

The cat may choose to sleep there or keep coming back to it as their safe place. The Orange tabby cats tend to be males and are very sweet and affectionate, like our dear Oscar. They still need additional high-quality protein-rich feed that provides good nutrition to stay strong and healthy to have the energy to do their job.

Do not leave food out all the time as it will attract Racoons and unwanted animals. Instead, feed them at specific meal times and in a safe place where other animals wont bother them. Their shelter is usually the barn or outside shed, where they will find many cozy places and call it home.

Its not necessary to lock them up at night as long as they have a place to hide and stay dry. So be sure to store toxic substances, pesticides, and other animal food and medication, in a secure cabinet or a place where your cats cannot get to them. A barn cat, especially if feral, might not be so easy to give medical care to, depending on how much they can be handled or not.

I get a powder from my vet which I sprinkle onto a can of wet food, and it works great. If they let you hold them, you can do natural flea and tick medicine or one your vet suggests. Its all fun and exciting bringing home a new friend and suddenly realizing you have other pets that will have to get used to the latest family member.

Farm life with all the animals wont seem so intimidating to a kitty when it has grown up around them.

Thanks for your interest in helping to save the lives of our communities feral cats! Many people in urban neighborhoods request that we trap and remove unwanted feral cats each month. The fate of a feral cat is more often than not euthanasia. The WPCAS’s Barn Cat Program is structured to help remove feral cats from urban areas and relocate them to more functional environments.

Barn cats may be picked up from the shelter if prior arrangements have been made with staff and if you can properly accommodate them. They will usually maintain a home base once their scents have been established, a continuous food source is provided, and they feel safe.

Our Barn Cat Program is designed to find feral and community cats safe outdoor homes in barns, warehouses, farms and other safe locations for cats that are not candidates for our traditional adoption programs.

Stray Animal Admissions Hours Every day: 11 am 4 pm
Feral cats/cats in traps: By appointment only. Owner Surrenders & Private EuthanasiaPet Reclaim HoursPet Food Pantry Hours

History[edit]

Archeological evidence suggests that the earliest domestication of cats occurred about 7500 BC and was motivated by the human need to safeguard grain stores from rodent pests.

Modern status[edit]

Farm cats live in a variety of conditions. Some are feral with minimal human contact, and no veterinary care, and derive sustenance solely from their job of lowering the mouse and rat populations. Lack of a guaranteed food supply, internal parasites, and greater physical exertion tends to make these cats thinner than their house cat counterparts, with a shorter lifespan. Others are kept as part-time pets, living both indoors and out, roaming freely, yet allowed inside to be fed supplemental cat food on a regular basis, and given routine veterinary care. Yet others live outdoors or in outbuildings full-time in semi-feral conditions, but are still tamed to be friendly toward humans and may be given basic veterinary care. All are subject to some risks inherent to outdoor life. Their prey may transmit parasites and disease, they may be injured by various means, and they can be struck by vehicles. Also, farm cats often die from poisoning by eating the corpses of poisoned rodents. Predation is also possible: cats are eaten by raccoons, owls, coyotes, and other animals that prey on creatures of their size.Some full-time outdoor cats are given cat food by property owners, either to encourage them to stay or due to humane motivations of not wanting thin, hungry, or sick animals on the property. Other property owners deliberately do not feed outside farm cats, in the incorrect beliefFarm cats originate from a variety of sources. Sometimes, farm cat populations are spontaneously established when abandoned or stray animals, uninvited by humans, move into areas where prey is available, such as haystacks or farm outbuildings that contain stored crops or livestock fodder. In other cases, property owners obtain and release a few cats specifically for rodent control. Some animal shelters have Working Cat or “Barn Buddy”If a population of feral adult female farm cats is high enough, a farm cat population can be self-sustaining. The females establish permanent homes in barns or other structures and raise repeated litters. Males may stay around if food is plentiful, though they tend to roam over a wider territory. Farm cat colonies can be subject to inbreeding, as a closed population may mate with one another’s siblings, parents, or offspring. Spaying and neutering prevent unwanted litters, overpopulation, and inbreeding. In some cases, feral animals are trapped, spayed or neutered, then re-released to keep their territory claimed and to prevent new, fertile strays from taking up residence.If given supplemental food or where rodents are plentiful, losses from predation or disease may be made up by new stray animals moving into the territory. If given no supplemental food, particularly in areas with many predators, farm cat populations may occasionally become extirpated if there are few nearby strays and a low breeding population. Predators, accidents, disease, parasites and hunger will all take a toll. More often, especially when supplemental food is provided, overpopulation is common, and losses then occur primarily due to disease or accidents, with predation playing a minor role—all insufficient to make a substantial dent in the population. Where numbers become an issue, some farm cat populations are controlled by shooting, poisoning, or trapping excess numbers.

WHAT IS A BARN CAT

One of our favorite animals on the farm (like all our animals!) has been our barn cats.With their relaxed attitudes, sleeping like there IS a tomorrow, they sure are a different kind of entertainment!Always staring through the window, waiting in anticipation for their next meal, napping on our car’s roof, or curled up in a pot, squashing my beautiful flowers! They kinda own the place around here! What can I say?!Nevertheless, they are an excellent addition to our farm. Read on to see why you should have barn cats and how to incorporate them into your farm.In this post I will cover:

WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE BARN CATS

When it comes to farm life, they play an essential role in keeping your barn and yard rodent-free and tidy. There are not as many pests when cats are around. They are very effective in keeping rodents at bay and other critters away.I adore cats, and that’s no secret! Not only are they rodents chasers, but cats are special and fun animals too! They are friendly and make great companions around the farm. But even if you’re not a huge fan, an outdoor cat can be pretty easy to keep and bring you many benefits.We currently have 6! Yes, that’s a lot, but I can’t help myself! Georgia, Oscar, Sunny, Frank, Oscar Jnr, and Bob. We also have two house cats, Rambo & Havanna. They all are adorable and so fun in their own way!Sunny is our dear little Feral and will not let us touch her or really get near. The others are semi-sociable 😉

WHERE DO YOU FIND A BARN CAT?

The unfortunate truth is there is never a shortage of cats that need a home. Whether they come from a shelter, a litter, or someone giving away a cat. They are in abundance!And so, there will always be cats that need homes. And just because they’re barn cats, all wild and free, doesn’t mean they can’t have a wonderful home and safe place to live happily.Your local feed store, pet shop, or animal shelter will probably have some cats up for adoption or leads. Craigslist is also another platform where you can search!I have discovered, however, that when it comes to a barn cat, getting them as a kitten is always easier and better. When they are kittens, it makes it easier to train them. They will learn where home is and will integrate better with the rest of your farm animals.If you get an older cat from a shelter, ensure they have been used to living outdoors. A cat used to living indoors (a home cat) would not adjust well to be outside and vice versa. So keep this in mind when choosing.It’s also best to adopt or get cats in pairs, as they need the companionship of their own kind to be happy.

MALE OR FEMALE BARN CAT?

Cats tend to be free-spirited and wander away from home. Always exploring and hunting for their next meal or partner. There are a few things I suggest you do when you bring your cat home to ensure they always stay close or come back:When we got Oscar and Georgia, they were about 10 weeks old, and this is exactly what we did. It worked out perfectly, and they have been the best barn cats.Once you move the cat litter, you can choose to remove it altogether or leave it. We removed it. They use the bathroom outside around the farm, and it’s never been an issue. And no more poop scooping for me! Yay!

FOOD AND SHELTER

There is a misconception that cats won’t hunt if they are fed. Not true. They will most definitely still hunt. And if they know you provide them with food, they will always stay near and be great workers on your farm.Another misconception is that cats will get all its nutritional needs from whatever it catches. Once again, not true. They still need additional high-quality protein-rich feed that provides good nutrition to stay strong and healthy to have the energy to do their job.Do not leave food out all the time as it will attract Racoons and unwanted animals. Instead, feed them at specific meal times and in a safe place where other animals won’t bother them. You could also place automatic cat feeders to cut back on the work, and it will help when a cat is very cautious of humans.Freshwater is essential. Always have it available to them, especially when it’s super hot and humid outside. In frigid regions, remember to check if their water is not frozen and provide them with lukewarm water during winter.A cat must have a safe place to call home. Their shelter is usually the barn or outside shed, where they will find many cozy places and call it home. Just make sure they do have a safe place where they’ll sleep. And during winter, you can provide extra warmth with blankets or even just extra hay bales, somewhere they can have a nice snuggle.I do not close our barn at night. Our cats can come and go as they please. It’s not necessary to lock them up at night as long as they have a place to hide and stay dry.Once you have trained them that the barn is their home, they will tend to stay near.Another tip, barns or sheds are often places where we store things. So be sure to store toxic substances, pesticides, and other animal food and medication, in a secure cabinet or a place where your cats cannot get to them.

HOW TO INTEGRATE THEM WITH

A barn cat, especially if feral, might not be so easy to give medical care to, depending on how much they can be handled or not. However, there are some things you can still do to care for them and their health.