Our most recent addition to the Harrod Homestead is our Barn Cat. We had been looking around for a free kitten for months, but had given up on the idea after many people requested it be an indoor cat. Being honest people, we just couldn’t do it! Well one lucky day we happened across a free stray kitten. While at the dump, out from under a large metal dumpster appears D.C. (aka Dumpster Cat). She was sweet and friendly from the moment we picked her up! We knew she would be the perfect addition to our growing homestead.
WHY DID WE WANT A BARN CAT?
Living out in the country, lots of livestock feed, and dark warm sheds are just a few of the factors that contribute to rodent problems around these parts. It is especially frustrating when the rats make it to your eggs before you do. Mice can also get into your feed which can leave dangerous bacteria that can make your animals sick. We don’t need that vet bill! Barn cats are great insect hunters as well. D.C. spends most of her day hunting grasshoppers, beetles, and other creepy crawlies. What’s great about that is she eats so many bugs during the day that she doesn’t need much food at night!
HOW TO CHOOSE A BARN CAT
If you are thinking about getting a barn cat and you have the time and patience to care for a kitten, it is best to start with a younger cat as opposed to a full grown cat. If you start with an older cat, they may be more inclined to run away and move on. We chose to go with a kitten for this reason. The important thing to consider when getting your barn cat as a kitten, is you will need to give it extra attention and provide a warm and safe place for it to live until it can fend for itself. Giving your kitten a lot of attention and human contact in the beginning is important so that it doesn’t become ferrel and afraid of humans (sometimes even mean). It is also suggested that you find a kitten that is used to being outdoors. They could be a stray like ours or kittens from another outdoor cat. Cats that have been raised outdoors carry important instincts that you may not find in an indoor cat.
HOW TO INTRODUCE YOUR BARN CAT
We chose to keep our kitten locked in our shed inside of a large dog crate, with a fan and a light. We would let her out to run around and play during the day and keep her in at night and while we couldn’t supervise her. We slowly introduced her to the dogs and other animals on the property. Just a note… don’t hold the cat while you are introducing them. It can end badly for you (oops). If you have dogs that are difficult to control, this process might take a while longer for you. Luckily, our dogs are well trained and very tolerant. We also made it a point to bring the cat with us morning and night when we fed our animals out in the barn. We wanted her to feel comfortable with roaming around with them during the day. After all, thats where the rodents are! We also only feed her once a day. She eats plenty of bugs during the day that so we don’t worry about her being hungry. We keep her food and water in a covered area that only she can access, but we have also shown her where she can find the other animal’s water.
WHAT YOUR BARN CAT WILL REQUIRE
- Yearly vaccinations and vet visits
- Spay or neutering
- Collars are optional
- We go without one due to strangling risks, although they make break away collars, we didn’t want to risk replacing them constantly
Whether you are a cat lover or a dog lover (or maybe both), a barn cat can make a wonderful addition to your homestead. What’s one more to mouth feed? Thanks again everyone for reading, and I look forward to seeing you next week!