barn cat question

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by zzGypsy, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    so I've had cats forever, inside-outside mostly. for the first time I've got actual barn cats... the place we moved to has 4. I've been providing them with a little supplemental feed (dry kibble, what they'll eat in one sitting) in hopes of keeping them healthy, on the property, and where I can check them for injuries and health care needs, but not so much that they stop hunting. they're looking a lot sleeker and shinier than when I got here 3 months ago, so I know they're eating better than they were.

    so here are my barn-cat questions:

    1) is one meal a day an appropriate amount of food? too much? too little? or do I need to feed them less to keep them hunting?

    2) we're in SW MO, so we'll have snow and ice this winter. we've got a nice dry barn, with hay. other than that, will they need more shelter this winter?

    3) I'm going to catch them for shots, a health check up and to get the two toms fixed (they fight a LOT)... and find out if the girls are preggers... other than getting them fixed and shots, and maybe worming, any other health issues particular to barn cats?
     
  2. Cpprpnny19

    Cpprpnny19 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 14, 2011
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    My barncats always have dry food and water available.
    They also get a can of cat food in the morning. They
    have a cat door to go in and out of the tack room, which is set up
    with plenty of cat beds, and a scratching post for the cats.

    Feeding them well has not stopped them from hunting the
    rodents [​IMG]
    There is usually a carcass waiting for me at least once a day.
    In fact they drop them at my feet often. [​IMG]

    I get mine a yearly rabies shot, and wormed once a year.
    They were already fixed and 1 was supposed to be an x-feral.
    Turned out to be a tomcat that was at the colony for the free
    eats and all the girls.

    Lynne [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011
  3. hollyclyff

    hollyclyff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feeding them won't stop them from hunting, so go ahead and feed them like you would any other cat. I leave dry food out for mine all day. I only take it up at night because it attracts wild animals if I leave it out. Mine are still excellent hunters.
     
  4. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    cool, thanks for the advice!
    going to have to figure out a feeding arrangement because there's no leaving food out here... possoms, chickens, turkeys and a variety of large and small wild birds make quick work of what they don't eat right up. maybe I'll put a cat-door in the garage window...
     
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Quote:1. I would suggest free feeding. True hunters will hunt anyway. All my cats are indoor/outdoor, and one is a true hunter. She brings her prey to our patio door and meows till we acknowledge her contribution. The lady across the field has barn cats (most quite feral), and she feeds them daily and amply.

    2. Your barn will provide plenty of shelter for them. [​IMG]

    3. Yay on fixing them!!! [​IMG] I spent a summer helping the same lady I mentioned previously trap, spay/neuter her barn full. There'd been SO many kittens being produced out there each year [​IMG] And like you said, the males had all been fighting, and due to the numbers, there were lots of respiratory diseases being spread around. I can't think of any diseases specific to barn cats...just issues that come up due to large numbers. Before paying out of pocket, I'd google around your area for feral cat organizations that might help with costs. That's what I did, and it saved her TONS of money.
     
  6. watchdogps

    watchdogps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Most shelters/low cost etc will still spay if the girls are pregnant. Unless you are willing to keep all the kittens, I suggest you spay if they are preg or not. If that bothers you, tell the vet "do NOT tell me if they were pregnant". We didnt spay the cat that came with our house, but only because she was due any second. Literally, she had them the next day. If you cant tell, assume they arent. The shelters are so overrun, they dont need more. We are keeping all of ours, so it isnt a big deal.
     
  7. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:yeah, I know they don't need more, free cats on craigslist every day. still, if they're as preggers as I think they are, I can't spay... too close to kittens. if that's the case, we'll keep some or all of them... my hubby's a sucker for the kitties.

    I'm suspecting one of the toms has sight issues... he seems fine out in the open, but he's friendly, and when you go to pet him he circles his head before putting it under your hand to pet, like he's using his nose to find you, not his eyes. I'll have the vet check that too.

    the other tom is quite the brawler... facial scars, squinty left eye, mauled right ear, scars on his front legs... looks like an old boxer! hopefully he'll calm down and quit picking fights. he's really very wild, it's taken 3 months to get him where I can get close to him, and the other day he actually let me pet his rump... right before he turned around and tried to shred me!

    Quote:that's a great idea! I'll take the help.

    what do you use for fleas on the barn cats?
     
  8. watchdogps

    watchdogps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Oh, I see. I thought it was maybe early on and you were going to check. I wont do them late either. If I think it's more than halfway, I feel bad. I have only had one that was obviously preg done, and that was b/c she was EVIL feral, and there wouldnt have been a way to keep them confined until the kits could be fixed, nor to handle them so they didnt go feral either. It was a true trap and release situation.
    Dont forget that they can get preg again while they are nursing, and that tom cats will often kill kittens. So if you do have a moma deliver, try to have her somewhere safer than the barn.
     
  9. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    good advice as well.
    I may try to get them caught and in for a health check next week, especially if I can find an org that will sponsor part of the cost... if they vet says "kittens" I'll have to figure out a setup for the mommas. if they're not preggers, just fattening up for winter, then fixed it is, all around.

    but I'm pretty sure it's kittens.

    what about fleas? I know we've got them... is there anything available that can be put in the feed?
     
  10. watchdogps

    watchdogps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:No, nothing in the feed. The topicals, but thats going to cost you a small fortune. My barn cats dont have fleas, and my indoor/outdoor cats have never had fleas since I got them on a raw diet. We went back to commercial cat food a few years ago and within a month, our house was INFESTED! We went back to raw, and no fleas.
     

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