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Barn Cats
#1
I lost my Lazarus over a year ago. I rescued him at three weeks of age and he blessed me with his presence for over twenty one years.

Lazarus was supposed to be feral when I got him, but he walked into my house like he owned the place, and became alpha to all of his soon to come pack brothers, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, Caleb and a Yellow Lab, Charley. A few years later we got another Ridgeback, Nia, and she was his soul mate.

It took me a while but I think I am ready for another cat. I need a barn cat, but I prefer to get animals in pairs. I just hate the idea of anything being alone, so I always try to provide a mate.

I know absolutely nothing about working cats, so if anyone can provide some personal knowledge or advice, it will be greatly appreciated. Lazarus was an indoor cat that ruled the homestead. From what I have read, this is not the norm. Supposedly barn cats can't be barn cats and indoor cats at the same time. Since Lazarus thought he was a dog, he didn't get the memo.
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#2
(06-27-2020, 04:55 AM)NightskyeB4Dawn Wrote: I know absolutely nothing about working cats, so if anyone can provide some personal knowledge or advice, it will be greatly appreciated.

Any cat can be a good barn cat.  Not everyone can be good at owning a barn cat.

1st - spay.  You don't need litters you'll eventually have to 'take care of'.
2d - acclimate (two birds here).  You'll have to keep the cat with you until it's big enough to fend for itself.
3d - cold heart.  When you put the cat(s) in the barn ... that's it.
4th - understand.  Cat's are natural murderers.  Anything a barn cat can kill is gonna die ... including your chickens.
5th - feed it.  Keep your relationship.  A can of wet food every week or so is all you need for this (a hungry cat hunts ... a lot).  Open the can, in the barn, slowly, and scrape the food out into its feeding bowl.
6th - it's still your responsibility.  Be ready to take your cat to the vet.

OBTW: Barn cat poop is still cat poop.  Eeew
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#3
(06-27-2020, 04:55 AM)NightskyeB4Dawn Wrote: I lost my Lazarus over a year ago. I rescued him at three weeks of age and he blessed me with his presence for over twenty one years.

Lazarus was supposed to be feral when I got him, but he walked into my house like he owned the place, and became alpha to all of his soon to come pack brothers, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, Caleb and a Yellow Lab, Charley. A few years later we got another Ridgeback, Nia, and she was his soul mate.

It took me a while but I think I am ready for another cat. I need a barn cat, but I prefer to get animals in pairs. I just hate the idea of anything being alone, so I always try to provide a mate.

I know absolutely nothing about working cats, so if anyone can provide some personal knowledge or advice, it will be greatly appreciated. Lazarus was an indoor cat that ruled the homestead. From what I have read, this is not the norm. Supposedly barn cats can't be barn cats and indoor cats at the same time. Since Lazarus thought he was a dog, he didn't get the memo.

Can you find a rescue group or someone in the area who has a momcat who's taught her kittens how to hunt?   Even Ally Cat Allies might have connections that would help.   I think you want someone who knows how to hunt mice, and it's the mothers who teach that.   I'm not sure one who wasn't been taught how to kill by mom will do more than maybe play with a mouse until it dies from fright/shock, as a toy.   I'd want one like the three guys we have here:   in two years, they have utterly destroyed all the mice around here.   We used to see several kills per day in the Spring and Summer.   Now....not even one.   The mouse population collapsed.   They still look for them, but no joy.  

Surely some other farmer's barncat has kittens at some point?  

I don't really like the idea of turning an indoor kitten or even adult cat out into a barn.   It would be pretty terrifying for them, and they may not have the smarts to evade predators.
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#4
(06-27-2020, 12:12 PM)Snarl Wrote:
(06-27-2020, 04:55 AM)NightskyeB4Dawn Wrote: I know absolutely nothing about working cats, so if anyone can provide some personal knowledge or advice, it will be greatly appreciated.

Any cat can be a good barn cat.  Not everyone can be good at owning a barn cat.

1st - spay.  You don't need litters you'll eventually have to 'take care of'.
2d - acclimate (two birds here).  You'll have to keep the cat with you until it's big enough to fend for itself.
3d - cold heart.  When you put the cat(s) in the barn ... that's it.
4th - understand.  Cat's are natural murderers.  Anything a barn cat can kill is gonna die ... including your chickens.
5th - feed it.  Keep your relationship.  A can of wet food every week or so is all you need for this (a hungry cat hunts ... a lot).  Open the can, in the barn, slowly, and scrape the food out into its feeding bowl.
6th - it's still your responsibility.  Be ready to take your cat to the vet.

OBTW: Barn cat poop is still cat poop.  
So you don't put out a liter box for your barn cats?

I don't need my cat wandering for food, I just want him to protect my garden. I was planning on feeding them once a day, would that keep them close to home? I don't want them hunting my neighbors property, I like my neighbors and I love their chickens. 
What about personal interactions, will they come when called?

Lazarus has me all screwed up. He really didn't know he was a cat. He acted like the alpha dog on the homestead. He spent most of his time in the house but kept all critters at bay. He chased off outside dogs, bobcat, he even chased off a wild boar. He was a stupidly fearless little confused cat. He came when called and was highly demanding of attention when "he" wanted it.

For strangers Lazarus was a one stroke cat. He would let strangers stroke him once. "If" he let you stroke him a second time, that was his way of saying you are okay with me, a third stroke and his goal was for you to pull back a stump. Did I tell you he was crazy?
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#5
(06-27-2020, 12:41 PM)drussell41 Wrote: Can you find a rescue group or someone in the area who has a momcat who's taught her kittens how to hunt?  

My neighbors cats are all fixed. I sent an email to Animal Care and Control, I never got an answer, they were closed because of COVID. From their web site, they only had six cats, ranging from age 2 yrs to 8 years. They have a feral section they don't put on the web site, so I don't know if they had any ferals. I was planning on checking with them again later today to see if they are open, and if they have any suitable cats for what I need.

They also have a catch, fix, clip the ear tip, and release program, so I was hoping to rescue one of those.

To be honest, I really don't like the majority of the animal rescues in my area. Most seem like little money pots. They are more interested in gathering donations than in homing their animals. 

I tried for over a year to rescue a couple of dogs from a local rescue. I wanted two, but was willing to take up to four if they were already bonded. All of them wanted from four hundred dollars to six hundred dollars "per" dog for a mutt. Don't get me wrong, I love mutts, but they were about the money, not the dogs.

I ended up with my four Huskies when a friend heard that a breeder in Indianna was looking to rehome her five dogs immediately because of a life or death situation. She knew I was looking for a couple of dogs and was willing to take up to four, so she contacted the lady and the rest is history. 

I ended up with three purebred Huskies from Indianna, delivered to my front door, complete with papers, health records, food, vitamins, and crates, on Christmas morning, and she wouldn't take a dime. 

I may try my luck again with my friend posting a shout out on her Facebook.
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#6
(06-27-2020, 01:19 PM)NightskyeB4Dawn Wrote:
(06-27-2020, 12:41 PM)drussell41 Wrote: Can you find a rescue group or someone in the area who has a momcat who's taught her kittens how to hunt?  

My neighbors cats are all fixed. I sent an email to Animal Care and Control, I never got an answer, they were closed because of COVID. From their web site, they only had six cats, ranging from age 2 yrs to 8 years. They have a feral section they don't put on the web site, so I don't know if they had any ferals. I was planning on checking with them again later today to see if they are open, and if they have any suitable cats for what I need.

They also have a catch, fix, clip the ear tip, and release program, so I was hoping to rescue one of those.

To be honest, I really don't like the majority of the animal rescues in my area. Most seem like little money pots. They are more interested in gathering donations than in homing their animals. 

I tried for over a year to rescue a couple of dogs from a local rescue. I wanted two, but was willing to take up to four if they were already bonded. All of them wanted from four hundred dollars to six hundred dollars "per" dog for a mutt. Don't get me wrong, I love mutts, but they were about the money, not the dogs.

I ended up with my four Huskies when a friend heard that a breeder in Indianna was looking to rehome her five dogs immediately because of a life or death situation. She knew I was looking for a couple of dogs and was willing to take up to four, so she contacted the lady and the rest is history. 

I ended up with three purebred Huskies from Indianna, delivered to my front door, complete with papers, health records, food, vitamins, and crates, on Christmas morning, and she wouldn't take a dime. 

I may try my luck again with my friend posting a shout out on her Facebook.

Wishing you luck!   Let us know how it goes.
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#7
Called ACC. They don't adopt out ferals or outdoor cats. I guess there just isn't enough money in it. They will fix them, but they just return them to whatever area they where found. I tried to leave my number, I told them that I would take a feral, even a mother cat with a litter. They said it was a waste of time to leave my number because they just fix the mom and send them back.

They said they do, occasionally, have what they call free roaming cats that don't do well in the cages, but they don't have any at the moment, and they don't know of any organization or rescues that adopt out feral or outside cats.

I will ask my friends to keep a lookout on Facebook. I already asked my Vet to let me know if any strays come in. He was brought one about a year ago, and he took him home himself. He named him OC, Outside Cat.

One in need will show up when the time is right. That has been the way it has been with all of my pets, so far. I have never found one when I was looking for them. They always seem to find me.
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#8
(06-27-2020, 12:47 PM)NightskyeB4Dawn Wrote:
(06-27-2020, 12:12 PM)Snarl Wrote:
(06-27-2020, 04:55 AM)NightskyeB4Dawn Wrote: I know absolutely nothing about working cats, so if anyone can provide some personal knowledge or advice, it will be greatly appreciated.

Any cat can be a good barn cat.  Not everyone can be good at owning a barn cat.

1st - spay.  You don't need litters you'll eventually have to 'take care of'.
2d - acclimate (two birds here).  You'll have to keep the cat with you until it's big enough to fend for itself.
3d - cold heart.  When you put the cat(s) in the barn ... that's it.
4th - understand.  Cat's are natural murderers.  Anything a barn cat can kill is gonna die ... including your chickens.
5th - feed it.  Keep your relationship.  A can of wet food every week or so is all you need for this (a hungry cat hunts ... a lot).  Open the can, in the barn, slowly, and scrape the food out into its feeding bowl.
6th - it's still your responsibility.  Be ready to take your cat to the vet.

OBTW: Barn cat poop is still cat poop.  
1. So you don't put out a liter box for your barn cats?
2. What about personal interactions, will they come when called? 
3. Lazarus has me all screwed up. 
Bear with me.  This kind of reply is the best format I've got until I learn this new board.
1. Not necessary.  There's a spray you can lay down that'll keep them from pooping where you don't want them to be.
2. Yeah ... Barn cats are cool with the person that feeds them the way I told you.  Sometimes, you've gotta let them rub their lips on you ... it's their thing.
3. I feel your loss with Lazarus.  You're so lucky to have had him for twenty years.  Think what it would have been like for him to have lost you.  It hurts ... but, better for them if your pets go first.

My dad left behind a couple of dachshunds.  When I flew in for the funeral, they wouldn't leave my side.  They knew my dad had passed and they wanted me to keep them.  Everyone could see it ... not just me.  I couldn't take them though and that impression burned itself deep.

My B-I-L had a cat that behaved like a well-trained dog too.  Passed away last year.  I had never seen anything break my B-I-L down before, but he did love that cat.
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#9
It all started when one big black male cat came here years ago. He was either lost, or a stray someone set out. He was afraid of us at first, but took a liking to us after we started feeding him. He allowed us to pet him and was very tame.

Give it a month or so, and he drags his girlfriend in to live with him here. She was as wild as wild could get. Never would come anywhere near close to us, but she appreciated the free food.
After a few months, along came the kittens. She chose a spot up in the woods where I couldn't get to so I could tame them as kittens. All those kittens grew up and had kittens of their own until I was in a mess before I knew it!

I had tried to catch the grandma cat several times to take her to be "fixed", but she was too smart to go inside the trap.
After having two outside cats turn into eighteen cats within two years, I finally was able to catch all the females and get them spade. I only caught one of the males. We had given the first male that came here to a friend after the first year.

The mama cats taught their kittens how to hunt birds, mice, moles, etc.  Never saw them attack any chickens.
They still came down for food I left out if their hunt didn't produce anything.

After getting all the adult females spade, something in the woods started killing them. I'm guessing it was a pack of coyotes, or the family of raccoons that liked to share the food bowl on the porch. Whatever... they all disappeared within a couple of months.

There were still one litter of kittens left after I got all the females fixed. Their mama had been killed, so I brought them inside to care for them. I let them outside during the day to see if they would hunt mice. No deal.

So, from my own experience, a cat needs to be feral and taught how to hunt by it's parents, and stay feral if you want to use them for mice control.
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#10
(06-27-2020, 05:16 PM)Snarl Wrote: 3. I feel your loss with Lazarus.  You're so lucky to have had him for twenty years.  Think what it would have been like for him to have lost you.  It hurts ... but, better for them if your pets go first.

My dad left behind a couple of dachshunds.  When I flew in for the funeral, they wouldn't leave my side.  They knew my dad had passed and they wanted me to keep them.  Everyone could see it ... not just me.  I couldn't take them though and that impression burned itself deep.

My B-I-L had a cat that behaved like a well-trained dog too.  Passed away last year.  I had never seen anything break my B-I-L down before, but he did love that cat.

Animals have a way of getting under your skin that way. I think it is because they love you no matter how bad a person you may be, and you know on a level that runs deep into your soul, that you are responsible for that living entity.

They rely on you, and they trust you, to keep your part of the bargain, when you decide to take them on as your pet. If you make the choice to take on the responsibility of a living creature that may be helpless without you, the connection becomes a bond that is almost palpable. I think sometimes my crits communicate with me on a telepathic level. They know when I am sick, when I am apprehensive, and amazingly enough they know when I am disconnected. It is eerie how when I am on Zoom with serious business, they lay around, even at my feet, and they don't make a sound. All bets of off about their behavior when they think they can get some attention and show off.

Yeah, I am still learning the formatting also.
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#11
(06-27-2020, 05:19 PM)Mystic Wanderer Wrote: So, from my own experience, a cat needs to be feral and taught how to hunt by it's parents, and stay feral if you want to use them for mice control.

Probably so, but even feral cats can be ruined.

The cat we have just magically appeared in, of all places, the basement. I have no idea how she got into it - the only entrance is inside the house, right in the middle of the house.

Now, we had a feral white cat that used to live under the shed outside, left here I would guess by a previous owner. That one was only seen occasionally, and would never approach us or allow itself to be approached. I recall one bitterly cold winter night when it sat outside my window yowling, so I went to the door to let it in where it could get warm, but no dice - the cat wasn't budging to come indoors, and wasn't about to let itself get caught to be brought in.

A year or so after that cat disappeared, Grace was cooking some salmon one day, and we could hear a cat yowling "outside", but couldn't see anything. A couple weeks after that, she cooked salmon again, same thing. So I got curious and went around the house looking out every window to see if I could find it, but saw nothing. It dawned on me after making the rounds of the house that whatever window I looked out, the cat was ALWAYS BEHIND me... which meant it had to be INSIDE the house. So I started checking that possibility out, and discovered it was behind the door to the basement. No idea how long it had been down there, or how it got into the basement.

I had Grace put some of that salmon on a saucer, and took it and set it in front of the basement door and opened the door. There was the cat, about half grown. She wasn't at all sure about venturing forth amongst these two-legged beings, but eventually the salmon won her over, and when she went to it, I shut the basement door blocking retreat back into the darkness. She ate the salmon, then discovered that there was no retreat back to the basement. Took her about a half hour of exploring to get over that, and she just settled right in like she owned the place. I guess she figured it wasn't going to be as bad a gig as the basement.

She killed a couple mice at first, but then started making pets of them. One night I was sitting here, and a mouse came walking - yes, WALKING - along the living room floor, with the cat walking - yes WALKING - about 3 paces behind it. It was as if she were taking her pet mouse for a walk. She got all put out of sorts when I killed it. How DARE I, a mere human, destroy her pet like that?

That cat is still crazy after salmon, or anything salmon flavored, but she's developed a taste for my beef jerky, too. Oddly, she will not eat any meat sticks, like a Slim Jim. Just turns her nose up and stares at me as if to say "why are your trying to feed me dog snacks, human?"... but when that jerky bag rattles, she comes a runnin' like it was a mating call or something.

She plays at catching stuff, but we all - Grace, I, and the cat - know that she's just playing at it. She may have started life out feral, but she's been thoroughly civilized now.

Probably more civilized than I am.

Ruined for any serious work.

.
" I don't mind killin' a man in a fair fight... or if I think he's gonna start a fair fight... or if there's money involved... or a woman... "

 - Jayne Cobb, Hero of Canton
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#12
(06-29-2020, 12:12 AM)Ninurta Wrote: She plays at catching stuff, but we all - Grace, I, and the cat - know that she's just playing at it. She may have started life out feral, but she's been thoroughly civilized now.

Probably more civilized than I am.

Ruined for any serious work.

.

Cats pick their humans and usually do a very good job of training us.

My Huskies are heat seeking missiles when it comes to rodent control, but I don't want them near my garden. They will destroy a garden faster than a plague of locust. I need the cats more for sentry duty then for combat duty.

Keep in mind I don't even know if it will work, but I never had a problem with critters in my garden when Lazarus was around. He started out as a feral cat. He then became an alpha dog, and supreme ruler of the homestead. I may never have another Lazarus, but would like to have another cat around the place. Without one it feels incomplete.
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#13
(06-29-2020, 12:46 AM)NightskyeB4Dawn Wrote: I may never have another Lazarus, but would like to have another cat around the place. Without one it feels incomplete.

I bet Lazarus was Lazarus ... mostly because of you.  You'll do fine with your next cat.  He may not exactly be Lazarus ... and it may be better that you keep Lazarus' memories intact.  You wouldn't wanna forget him, would you?

I can 'feel' that you miss him terribly ... and that human emotion ... it's why we all love you (even though we'll never meet one another face-to-face).  Every day you wait to pick out your new kitty turns into a day wasted together for the both of you.
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#14
I can't stop laughing. I tried to take pictures but they came out really lousy.

My Tamar was relentlessly bugging me. She had been out less than an hour ago, so I knew it couldn't be that she had to do her business, so I thought maybe she wants water. I let her out on the porch and she ran straight to the door and assumed her heat seeking position.

I knew something was out there and the light was fading fast, so I grabbed my camera. Then I saw it, the movement in the grass. At first I thought it was just Mr. and Mrs. Blackie. My two black snakes that patrol the area day and night. They are a handsome pair and greatly appreciated for all their loyalty and hard work. Then I saw more movement again, and it was not the snakes. Right in front of the garden was two tiny rabbits chasing each other. About 400 feet in front of me on my left side was a huge rabbit watching them. As I took the pictures, I noticed a fourth one off to my right.

Four darn rabbits coming for dinner. Good thing there is nothing to harvest at the moment, but I have some late melons flowering. I couldn't let Tamar loose, it would be dark soon, and with her off in the woods chasing rabbits, recall is useless. That is why I need my cat.

I have a slim possibility for one that just turned eight weeks old. Mom is a barn cat, but she only had four. All four have already been claimed. One owner is hesitant to take ownership due to some legal rules in her rental agreement, but she thinks she will be able to work them out. If not, I will be able to take him. Crossing my fingers, but I am not really confident it is going to happen.
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#15
[Image: charity-3.jpg]





I have three little troublemakers. The oldest turns 20 in November. Got him at the Pound as I had many that are now in the great litterbox in the sky. My other two trouble makers literally came to my door and begged me to take them in when I lived in a wooded area. But I digress. Although I can't help you with working cats I thought I'd show you an option that I thought might go well with your Ridgebacks. The only thing that keeps me from owning one (or two) is their exorbitant cost. At any rate, they fascinate me. They are called Savannah's and come in F1 and F2 and F3 varieties denoting how far from feral they may be. They apparantly are super smart, great companions and make lovely pets, get along with children and seem to be everything you'd actually require in a husband tinybiggrin
"The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue"
Antisthenes-
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#16
(06-29-2020, 03:07 AM)Antisthenes Wrote: [quote pid='41028' dateline='1593230113']
http://https://images.app.goo.gl/vFczK9RRCx2ZjHi4A get along with dogs and kids. So everything you'd actually put on a wish
[Image: charity-3.jpg]
list for a husband.

[/quote]
Perfect!
Just one problem. I would have to get him as a kitten, or else he would be off in the hundred acres woods making hanky panky with the panthers, lynx, and bobcats.
We have a critter here called a Florida wild cat. Supposedly they are the offspring of domestics that have bred with wild ones. So that critter would fit right in.
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#17
(06-29-2020, 03:07 AM)Antisthenes Wrote: [Image: charity-3.jpg]

... and seem to be everything you'd actually require in a husband tinybiggrin

Annnnddd, bows out of thread ...
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#18
(06-29-2020, 03:22 AM)Snarl Wrote:
(06-29-2020, 03:07 AM)Antisthenes Wrote: [Image: charity-3.jpg]

... and seem to be everything you'd actually require in a husband tinybiggrin

Annnnddd, bows out of thread ...

smallrofl 
You are too funny!
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#19
I had brothers (lost one) for about 5 years now.  
1) Try to get them from a farmer that had barn cats with kittens.  They make the best barn cats.
2) Getting them as kittens, with adult chickens, is a good way to start.  Never lost one chick to my cats, and they lay out in the run with the chickens.
3) I have never provided a littler box for them.  They must go somewhere outside, as I haven't seen a "pile" anywhere in the barn, and ours has a dirt floor.
4)  I feed our remaining boy 1/2 a cup a day of dry food.  He still tears up the mice, and sometimes baby bunnies.
5) Yes, getting them fixed is a must.

The one we lost, grady, was not real friendly, but you could pet him while he was eating.  His brother, Lester, is a beast.  And super friendly, to the point that he follows our twin grandsons when we go for a walk in the woods, like he is protecting them.  He will come out if I'm in the garden, and try to lay all over me to be petted.   Not fun on 80F days!

Oh, and for those in cold climates, like ours in MI, we put a whole bale of straw under the nesting boxes outside the coop, and lester made himself a nest.
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#20
(06-29-2020, 03:07 AM)Antisthenes Wrote: [Image: charity-3.jpg]

that's a big freaking cat, bet dogs don't mess with him if he gets outside, they'd probably tuck their tail and run.
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