Consider several factors if you’re considering getting a barn cat for your farm or homestead.
The idea of a barn cat is synonymous with the traditional conception of a farm. Images of cats slinking around silos, dozing in hay bales, and twirling amid horses’ legs are ubiquitous.
Cats are simple to find and raise since, for the most part, they are independent. That does not imply that everyone should use them, though.
You must have the following in mind.
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Benefits of Having a Barn Cat
The most popular and obvious reason for keeping barn cats is their excellent exterminating abilities.
Cats are excellent at removing rodents, whether they are in your home or the barn. Rodents are extremely harmful on farms. Numerous illnesses, including trichinosis, salmonellosis, rabies, and others, can spread to you and the rest of your animals.
Additionally, rodents can damage insulation and pollute feed, costing you a lot of money.
Barn cats are delighted to help you reduce rodent populations since they enjoy chasing them around. Even if they don’t spend the entire day hunting, rats are frequently scared away by the mere smell of a cat nearby.
Barn cats typically require very little care. Compared to other creatures you might have on your farm, they’ll pay for themselves. However, there are a few things you’ll need to perform to keep them healthy.
Additionally, cats can be amusing and pleasant, especially if they are accustomed to being around people.
Keep These Things in Mind
Barn cats have many advantages, but there are also some possible disadvantages that you should be aware of. Before starting to raise barn cats, take into account the following factors. They might be deal-breakers for some folks.
Might Attack Your Animals
If you have chickens, ducks, or any other type of fowl, you must ensure they are kept in a location that will keep your barn cats away from them.
Usually, chicken wire will do the trick, but you might also need to electrify the area around your chicken coop. Smart cats will stop at nothing to have food once they figure out how to get to your hens!
On the other hand, you might also need to take precautions to protect your cats from predators. Coyotes and bobcats are the two most frequent cat predators, particularly if you live in a rural region. One solution is to lock your cats inside for the night.
They’ll Roam Around
The majority of people let their cats roam freely wherever they like. The obvious reason for doing that is that they must be able to move if they are to get rid of mice for you.
However, some potential issues may also come along with that freedom of mobility. The main one is that they might accidentally stray onto your neighbor’s land. They may clash with other cats or breed with them (more on below).
Dealing with this can be immensely frustrating, especially if you decide against having your animal spayed or neutered. So bear that in mind!
Spay and Neutering
As I previously indicated, barn cats reproduce as other animals do. You could have up to two kitten litters a year if you decide not to spay or neuter your pet. You shouldn’t be delivering these creatures to the shelter; instead, consider whether you can fit that on your farm. Make a plan!
Cats can Spread Diseases
Cats can become ill just like any other animal. You’ll have to shoulder the responsibility of taking them to the veterinarian. Numerous illnesses that cats can contract can also be transmitted to people.
Toxoplasmosis is one illness that causes us, humans the most concern. This parasite, which cats can carry after acquiring it from rodents, can be exceedingly harmful to expectant mothers. Abortions and other issues may result if it spreads to sheep, goats, pigs, and other animals.
Since cats like to relieve themselves in the garden or loose straw, this disease is most frequently disseminated by soil contact.
Barn Cats Have a Short Lifespan
Barn cats typically live significantly shorter lives than the cats we are accustomed to having in our houses. Predation or other problems are more likely to do them harm. You might need to add more barn cats pretty frequently.
Tips For Bringing a Barn Cat Home
Pick the Right Cat
Although there are various schools of thought on this, most people agree on a few things you should be looking for.
Get kittens, for starters. Many individuals obtain elderly cats (sometimes for free), which can be beneficial and harmful. An older cat is considerably more likely to flee and attempt to find its previous home. A kitten won’t remember that in the past.
Get kittens that were raised on different farms if you can. Finding barn cats accustomed to this environment is not always attainable, though. However, they have the advantage that their moms have already taught them how to hunt and consume rodents.
If you can’t do that, consider going to a shelter. This can be difficult because many shelters won’t adopt a cat from someone who intends to keep it outside. However, feral cat programs are prevalent in shelters for this same reason.
Cats Need to Acclimate
It can be perplexing when you bring your barn cat home for the first time. They are far less likely to try to escape if you can keep them indoors, like in a barn, outbuilding, or stall.
They will learn where they are fed and their new home if you keep them here for about a month. Additionally, it will enable you to monitor them for any potential health problems before letting them go free.
Again: Spay and Neuter
Failure to get the cats spayed and neutered is a terrible error many new cat owners make. You might assume this is unnecessary because the animal isn’t necessarily intended to be a pet.
The truth is that an animal will draw additional animals to your farm when it is still whole. This may result in conflicts, some of which may leave cats dead or seriously hurt.
There is, of course, the kitten and pregnancy issue. A cat’s health will suffer significantly if she has kittens twice a year, which is feasible. What will you do with all those kittens, too?
Bring only male cats home if the cost of spaying and neutering worries you. Generally speaking, neutering is less expensive than spaying.
Keep Animals Vaccinated
Once more, just because an animal lives outside does not mean it is exempt from medical attention. Especially for rabies, vaccinate your cats. It’s humane to prevent them from spreading these illnesses throughout your farm.
Some folks think they don’t even have to feed their barn cats. The goal of maintaining barn cats, isn’t it, is to get rid of rodents?
In fact, rodents will be the main food source for your cats. That does not imply that it will satisfy all of their demands. Give your cats food to prevent them from wandering to other farms or homes in search of food and engaging in catfights.
I recommend buying this cat food! It’s the cheapest option I’ve found, and you don’t need a lot of it for barn cats!
Keep Cats in Pairs
Cats, like people, can experience loneliness. Keep them together in pairs—they don’t have to be breeding partners—so they may socialize.
Is Keeping a Barn Cat Right for You?
As you can see, not everyone should own a barn cat, but doing so has many advantages. You must balance the advantages and disadvantages and determine whether you are prepared to support the new addition before bringing it home. Just like you would if you were introducing any other kind of animal onto your farm.
Who knows, if it turns out that your barn cat isn’t the ideal choice for outdoor mousing, you might find yourself with a new pet!