Making a Barn Kitty

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TN Belle

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I have only had indoor kitties in my life and now that my barn is done, I need an outdoor kitty. The horses aren't home yet since we are working on the fencing, so I have time to get a kitty acclimated to my place without the horses. I have a spayed female all lined up to bring home from a rescue, but how do I "train" it to stay on my property and my barn? I do have a locking tack room that is empty but there are no windows, only ridge vents in the barn isleway, so it's pretty stuffy. The barn isle doors can close too, but there are plenty of gaps that a kitty could squeeze through. Do I need a litter box since they can potty in the stall shavings or outside? How often should I feed them so that they no where home is but are hungry enough to hunt too?

PLEASE HELP ME!!
 

horseplay

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I have cats but the are indoor/outdoor cats, I never have had one that I didn't let in the house. All of mine hunt, they always have something. I don't think feeding them less makes them hunt. Mine have all the food they want and still are great hunters.
 

crponies

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I have had barn cats over the years. We always just put them in the barn and fed them there and they stayed around for the most part. Some of them disappeared but I think that they were probably eaten and didn't really leave by choice. That's the reality of an outdoor cat. I never had a litter box for mine but sometimes they would potty in the loose hay which I wasn't to thrilled about (mostly in the winter when the ground was frozen).
 

Magic

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It's usually best to shut a new cat inside somewhere until they bond to you and realize that they are in their new home, so they won't take off and try to go elsewhere. It doesn't always work either; I've lost two barn cats, one was our long-time barn cat that didn't like our new place (more precisely, didn't like the dogs at our new place) and left
and another was a mature stray that I got from a friend and he got out of the tack room after only being in there for a week or less, and disappeared. It's heartbreaking to lose a cat and not know if they just found another home, or something happened to them (do eagles ever try to catch cats? There are a lot of eagles around here).

I've had the best luck with getting a pair of young kittens. They have each other for company and adapt well to a new place. I'm not saying that an older cat won't work out, just that it will be a bit more challenging to keep her around. Oh, and I feed my barn cats all they want to eat, of a good-quality cat food-- they still hunt extensively, they just rarely eat the mice. It's hunting for sport!
 

Bozley

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I'll tell you my barn cat story.

We adopted 2 feral cats from "Friends of Feral Felines" to specifically be barn cats and get rid of our mice. They had never been indoors and were pretty wild. You just looked at them and they would hiss and want to scratch your eyes out. Friends of Feral Felines told me to have a cage in the barn and keep them in there for about a month. They said just feed them every day and not bother too much with them as it will scare them. After about a month they will realize this is were they go for food and you will no longer need the cage. They said they will probably never be friendly but they will do their job and in return they will have a safe, dry place with plenty of food which is much more than they have ever had. They did tell me there was a chance they could take off once they are let out and never return.

So we bring these 2 feral cats home. One was all black and the other white. I told my kids we are NOT naming them. We are NOT getting attached. They are here to do a job and that was it. So my husband made a huge cage. We put a pillow in it with cat toys (but we are NOT getting attached).

Somehow Shadow, the black one, got out of the cage and took off. Spook, the white one, stayed (Oops, we weren't suppose to name them ;^). Then we all felt bad that Spook was going to be all alone and winter was coming. Poor Spook. So we then said, "OK, he can live in the basement just for the winter to stay warm, then back outside in the spring".

Fast forward a year later. Now Spook is one of the most lovable cats we have. He sleeps on our bed every night, forcing you to pat him. He has never been outside the doors of our house and has never wanted to. So much for having barn cats!
 

Denise

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I recently brought home 3 kittens. The first one I kept in a large dog crate in the barn with his food and water, when I was out there I would let him out. Put him back in when I left. Did this for about a week, he is now free and still here. Then after that one decided to stay I went and got the other 2, just showed them where the food & water was and never locked them up. They are all still here and doing well.

Keep the food bowl full, that should keep them hanging around.
 

Reijel's Mom

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It's usually best to shut a new cat inside somewhere until they bond to you and realize that they are in their new home, so they won't take off and try to go elsewhere. It doesn't always work either; I've lost two barn cats, one was our long-time barn cat that didn't like our new place (more precisely, didn't like the dogs at our new place) and left
and another was a mature stray that I got from a friend and he got out of the tack room after only being in there for a week or less, and disappeared. It's heartbreaking to lose a cat and not know if they just found another home, or something happened to them (do eagles ever try to catch cats? There are a lot of eagles around here).I've had the best luck with getting a pair of young kittens. They have each other for company and adapt well to a new place. I'm not saying that an older cat won't work out, just that it will be a bit more challenging to keep her around. Oh, and I feed my barn cats all they want to eat, of a good-quality cat food-- they still hunt extensively, they just rarely eat the mice. It's hunting for sport!
This is the same route I have taken and would take. If you let your new cat loose right away I don't think she'll stick around for you, and you'll never know what fate has befallen her.
 

Miniv

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I'll tell you my barn cat story.

Somehow Shadow, the black one, got out of the cage and took off. Spook, the white one, stayed (Oops, we weren't suppose to name them ;^). Then we all felt bad that Spook was going to be all alone and winter was coming. Poor Spook. So we then said, "OK, he can live in the basement just for the winter to stay warm, then back outside in the spring".

Fast forward a year later. Now Spook is one of the most lovable cats we have. He sleeps on our bed every night, forcing you to pat him. He has never been outside the doors of our house and has never wanted to. So much for having barn cats!
Sounds like OUR "barn cat" STORIES!!!

Our THREE "Barn Cats" ended up being indoor-outdoor kitties and are now well into their teens...... In other words, "A barn? What's that? Is it dinner time yet??? Where's the FOOD!" One joins us in bed. One joins my daughter in bed. The third lives in the kitchen and laundry room and sleeps on my dirty clothes basket at night. Go figure........

I recommend what others have posted. Close your barn kitty into a stall or??? and have plenty of food and water available. They know where "the goods" are coming from........ After a week or so, take a chance and let it out. Yes, it's a gamble......
 

capall beag

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I got 2 feral kittens/young cats. I was trying to "save" them! Had them spayed, vaccs done etc. FoFF helped with the cost of this.

They were very aggressive ferals. One bit me badly on the finger. I took care of them all winter in the upper part of my barn. They had a littter box up there. I brought warm water out daily.

I built them a ladder in the Spring so they could venture out. They had been in the barn 4 months and the very first day they ventured out they were gone!

They were feral=wild!

Lesson learned!

I went and got 2 young kittens that were sweet and friendly.

I just put them in the barn and started feeding them.

They are delightful cats and now 15 months later they are happy, healthy barn cats. No problem with mice at all anymore.

They have never been allowed inside, they don't try and come in.

They have access to food at all times.

I think they have a great life!

My indoor/outdoor cat wants nothing to do with the barn. But she is 10 and pretty lazy.

For my situation, introducing an adult cat to the barn did not work. I have no way to lock them in, except to lock off the entire upstairs. That gets hot in the summer and wouldn't be suitable.

I had tried it a few years before. An adult cat that had never lived inside needed a home. I brought him here but the cat was terrified of the dogs and horses, he ended up living with my neighbour! he stayed here for about 3 days! He is an awesome cat just hates dogs.
 
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JMS Miniatures

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We have a few barn cats here that came with the property. Just a male an older female. We have had several different males here, seems when one has done his duty and all the kittens arrive, the next suitor shows up lol. I try not to get attached but when you see the kittens grow from tiny tiny to big cats and running around playing and chasing the horses, and just having fun. Its hard not to.

4 years later we still have the original mom, her first litter from 3 years ago (3 females) and all of their kids around. They are smart and stay in the barn, and somtimes go into the woods behind our house. And on rainy days they come up to the house and sleep under the trailer. I think you should be ok letting them roam if you are away from busy roads or neighbors, ours occassionly come into the house (carefull, thats how we wound up with a litter of kittens born in the house!) It seems our major problem with our outdoor cats is they always want inside, even if they are not friendly. And then trying to get a very angry scared cat outside, well its not fun lol


We just lost 2 kittens this week
Both ran over by the neighbors were we could see their little bodies from right outside our window
I could not stand to see them left out, so we have them buried under their favorite tree together. We also have one kitten still unaccounted for, and have had several other (kittens from last year) that have just disapeared and never see them again. Just have to hope they found good homes


I think if you can get kittens and have they locked up so they know where home is, they should be fine. The kittens around here, the friendly ones stick around and the not so nice ones usually move on. And if all else fails you could keep them in the barn during the day, and bring them in the house at night (or in a stall/tack room/etc) Seems that when bad things tend to happen to them.

Jamie
 

TN Belle

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There has been a feral Momma cat around with her own two kittens, but they are all unapproachable and will not be lured into the barn with food, they go back to their hiding spot in crawl space of a storage building. They have seemed to find a new hiding place cause only see them on rare occasions and the food bowl stays full. They may also be afraid of Harry, the raccoon that lingers around and will eat the cat food too, so I am never quite sure who is has been eating it in the past.
 

minih

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Two of our barn cats came up with their mom who was so skinny from feeding the babies she died after she made it to our property. The kittens were very healthy and we were feeding them, so they stayed. Both cats are around 9 years old, which is very old for outside cats. One of them is what we call our porch kitty because we have a very small doghouse on the porch and that is where he sleeps in the winter and on the chair in the summer. The other one is a true barn cat, loves the horses more than us, scared of other people, stand offish, lean and always hunting. Thru the years we have had other cats come up and stay for a while and then move on. In fact one was so friendly he rubbed all over our legs and acted like he wanted attention, we named him Tiger and noticed he was sneezing. Since he was there we decided to keep him, took him to the vet, got him all well and off he went. Have never seen Tiger again.
I guess he saw sucker written all over us.
 

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