Getting new barn cats today! Not sure what to do...?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by HeatherFeather, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. HeatherFeather

    HeatherFeather Songster

    Feb 16, 2009
    Severn Bridge, ON
    We're adopting 3 semi-ferals from a cat rescue for our barn. They are coming home today. They're fixed and vaccinated. They told me that I need to close them in the barn for 2-3 days so that they recoginze it as home, safe and know where food is ect.

    After that....should I make a cat door in the barn door? Currently we have no livestock in the barn (storing our possesions while we renovate our farm house) but will next year. The barn is very tight as it is, nothing larger than a mouse can get in.

    We generally leave the barn open all day, come and go, get out the lawn tractor or tools, move stuff in and out of the loft ect. Then at night, or when we go out we close the doors and padlock it-all of our tools are stored inside as currently our house cannot be locked. Plus its too many tools to fit in the house anyhow.

    I'm concerned about acidentally locking a cat out, and it being susceptible to predators (coyotes, wolves, cougars). But my finacee made the point that we might end up with racoons or weasels living in the barn if we make a cat door. Not sure if they predate on cats also.

    We don't currently have farm dogs and won't til next year when we add herd animals.

    So what should I do- cat door or no cat door?

  2. Cloverleaf Farm

    Cloverleaf Farm Bearded Birds are Best

    Sep 16, 2008
    Levan, UT
    Does the barn have a window or something of jump-height that you could leave open for the cats? I work in an emergency clinic, and we once had a cat come in that while the people were sitting in their living room, a racoon came in through their cat door, grabbed their cat (who was laying on the floor right in front of them) dragged it outside by its tail, and worked it over. The only reason it didn't kill the cat was because the people ran right outside and scared the coon away....
  3. tinychicky

    tinychicky Songster

    Mar 24, 2010
    Hollis, New Hampshire
    X2 cat doors can let predetors and pests into the barn.
  4. HeatherFeather

    HeatherFeather Songster

    Feb 16, 2009
    Severn Bridge, ON
    a racoon came in through their cat door, grabbed their cat (who was laying on the floor right in front of them) dragged it outside by its tail, and worked it over

    [​IMG] OMG that is so awful.

    No, we don't currently have any windows or anything that I know of....its an old barn which has had a lot of work done over the years. The exterior is currently wood barn board siding painted red (cute), under that the whole thing is aluminum (which was put in maybe 30 yrs ago) which is mounted to the original log post and beam framing. The interior seems to be horizontal rough milled boards mounted to the log framing, but then its all been drywalled [​IMG] over top of. If there are any windows they're sealed up on either side and we haven't found them yet-major barn renos are on the menu for next year. In the upstairs loft, there is a lot of light that comes through the cracks in the siding as there's no aluminum up there...and the eaves are open up there too (thank goodness its too cold for pigeons here!)

    So, if I put anything in for them, it will be something I put in, can make it whatever height ect. The more I think about it too, I don't like the idea of us accidentally locking them out of the barn- it gets down to -40 here in the winter. Which also makes me think I'll have to give them access to the coop this winter too, which we'll need to heat a bit, and it will be warmer than the barn. (there is a 'people only' area in the coop, as well as an attic)

  5. The Lisser

    The Lisser Songster

  6. HeatherFeather

    HeatherFeather Songster

    Feb 16, 2009
    Severn Bridge, ON
    Hey that's great! Thanks so much for that link Melissa. We've started cleaning out a small room in the barn for them, and are setting it up right now. I guess I don't need to worry about a cat door right now. Longer term, I think maybe I'll look into an electronic door, so only the cats can get in, no racoons or weasels.
  7. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    Putting on and keeping collars on ferals for an electronic door could be very difficult. If they aren't break away it also isn't very safe. We've found dead cats and dogs stuck to our pasture fences by collars. If it's a breakaway or stretch collars eventually they all lose them. Some faster than others. I went to the stretchy collars because one of my cats can pop a break away off in about 2 minutes flat. It took a year before she fully figured it out but the stretchy collars can't be kept on her anymore either.

    Cats are creative. If you really show them what home is they will likely surprise you on what they figure out for sleeping arrangements. If you have other buildings on the property they may not stay in the barn. My outdoor/indoor cat has figured out how to escape from a broken window in the basement that is covered by plywood. She can wedge the plywood open just enough to slide out and nothing can get in. We were leaving the door to the porch open a crack and feeding the cats out there but the raccoons started getting in and had one cat corner when I chased it off. We shut the door after that but the cats knew it wasn't bad shelter from storms and there might be food there so they walked along a 2x4, jumped on to a 2x2, and then pulled one corner of the screened window out. [​IMG] I now have to check the porch frequently for cats because the less intelligent or acrobatic of them can't get back out but so far no raccoons have figured it out. We've also found one in the coop after a blizzard and the only thing we can figure out is that she climbed the ladder used for opening and closing the wooden shutters and slipped in that way.
  8. HeatherFeather

    HeatherFeather Songster

    Feb 16, 2009
    Severn Bridge, ON
    Well, our new scaredy girls have arrived safe and sound. They were already socialized together in rescue, and living a room together at a shelter. One of them was in rescue for 2 years, and she's kinda fat. She doesn't actually seem all *that* timid to me, she actually stared at me for a while before scurrying off when I let her out of the carrier.

    We made a small room in the downstairs of the barn into a cat room. Its maybe 8 x 12 ft. I had to make a door on one side out of wire mesh on a frame, and on the opposite side the same, below a set of stairs. So they'll be able to view our comings and goings from their safe place and get used to us.

    I put in some bales of straw and stacked them so they can hide and climb in them, as well as some old couch cushions. We're going to follow the instructions in the great link that Melissa posted there, and hopefully they'll come around each evening for some canned food. That way, we will plan to take the dry food away over night, so as not to attract pests.

    I think that eventually we will put a cat door into the barn of some sort. My finacee said he saw one where you can adjust what way it opens and closes to meet your needs as they change, so that sounds pretty good. I know we do must have racoons here, but I don't think we really have all that many as folks in a more populated or agricultural area do-we're pretty much in the bush. Nuisance animals are more of the ursine variety around here...and I know they won't be fitting in any cat doors.

    I'm so glad to have the girls, and they're so pretty! One is a brown tabby, one is white with some faint grey tabby markings on her forehead (she has a really elfish looking face), and the fat one is patched with grey and white.
  9. towall

    towall In the Brooder

    Dec 12, 2009
    I have three barn kitties that are just like household pets but stay in the barn. The barm door is open all day. I feed the cats their cat food in the barn when I'm ready to shut the doors for the night. This is the only time I feed them and they look forward to their eveing meal. two of these cats are 4 yrs old and the youngest is 10 months.Chris
  10. corancher

    corancher Songster 11 Years

    Apr 18, 2007
    I do the same as Towall for our cats. We have three barns and 12 cats that live in barns. The cats get fed in the evening right before I close up the barns and generally they all come running when called. I give them dry food and mix a can of wet food in so it a treat for them.

    We thought about kitty doors, however then anything else can get in also. I have lost a few kitties that either don't come in at night or something get them during the day when they are out and about. We have one cat that is 14 that has lived in the barns all her life and then several that are over six years old so it does work and keeps the cats somewhat safe and the cats keep it where we seldom see any mice. It's a win win for us and I adore cats.

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