My neighbor has 15+ cats and I'm afraid to let my chickens free range!


In the Brooder
8 Years
Apr 7, 2011
Okay, so I have a question and it may sound dumb. We have 18 pullets who just started laying about a month ago and 2 roos. We have a big yard, and I would love to see them able to free range and have control of our yard. HOWEVER, my neighbor right next to us has at least 15 cats! I see one in particular who is intrigued by my chickens. He is a big boy and he I've caught him more than once snooping around the coop. Right now we have a large dog run for them, but I still feel that they should be out and about in my yard. My neighbor says that her cats won't go after my chickens, however...I would THINK that a cat would kill a chicken if it could! So, do I have to worry about letting my chickens out in my yard due to these cats?

Last night we let the chickens out and they were out back and we were out front. I just so happened to go in the house and peer out the back window and that big cat was sneaking up at the garden towards some of my chickens. I yelled and my hubby ran and again my neighbor insisted the cats won't go after my chickens!! Am I being paranoid? If I am, please let me know!!
Well, I know she has a few inside, but we have a farm across the street and she started feeding these cats and they multiply and multiply! I know that she got most of them fixed this year so that is a good thing. I can do a fence, we just have to budget for it and it will only be part of the yard. I'd just love to see them be out and about more during the day! I'm just afraid her cats will kill my girls!!
I have 5 outside cats that do not even look at my chickens and they are all avid hunters. 2 cats are very large (neutered) males that I rescued as strays so they have a 'wild' side to them and I was very worried when I first started free-ranging. You could keep a super-soaker water gun handy and if you see a cat checking out your chickens hit them with a good spray of water and they hate that. I have seen my rooster give my cats a little chase if they get too close! Good luck!
Though fencing can be expensive, the peace of mind is worth it. I have my chickens in a "controlled free range" pasture and it's a good compromise. I don't have to worry about 'em and they seem happy. Their area is fenced (down in the ground a foot) and also is covered with a netting to keep the hawks out. We are on constant watch, due to a lot of predatory animals in our area; but, so far, so good!
The neighbor swears the cat won't get them. I have to bantam mixes who are care free and are a little bit brainless (I hate to say that) but it's true. They are my littlest girls and my kids love them the most!! I think they would be nabbed quicker than the others. Maybe the cats are just curious...I just don't like it!
We are going to be doing a fence, just have to budget for it. Times are tough! Hopefully by Spring we will have one, that should keep those cats out!
I have almost exactly the same issue....

My neighbor has about the same number...

I have had no problem as long as I do not let my young pullets under 16 weeks out alone and we also have dogs that protect the yard from predators very well. I have lost chicks and young pullets to cats over the years, but not often because I am very careful and know the darn things are always around.

His cats have had a few close calls with our Blue Healer and one was not so lucky so they have learned not to come in the yard as much. Can't even remember ever having a 16 week plus bird taken, but they will fight back and with a Roo it is a tall order for a cat. It is not common anymore, but there are still 2 that get caught every now and then on our side of the fence and 2 weeks ago one was in the run stalking a 16 week old with the others off in one corner two Roos and all so I chased it off throwing rocks, it is lucky I am a bad thrower....

Cat owners are odd sometimes and he would rather have them killed in my yard hunting my chickens than keep them inside or on a leash as he expects us to do with our dogs...
His reaction is "if they are harassing the livestock I can deal with it
I'll talk to them, but"

Well darn it I DON'T WANT TO DEAL WITH IT! I should not have to hurt an animal attacking my birds because the owner does not properly care for and protect their pet and my chickens. But when the owner does not car I am left no options....

One cool way to deter them without killing that I learned here at this forum is to use a live trap with tuna, then after capture scream at the cat and roll the cage around a little still yelling then take off your property and release. Very traumatic yes, but the cat gets a reprieve.
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We have no cats but plenty of birds - I have chicks with broody hens running around right now.

Two days ago, I saw kittens under one of our sheds. The chickens make a huge racket when they see the kittens and mom but the cat/kittens leave the birds alone. Course the kittens DO eat the chicken food - once the chickens have had their fill.
I am hoping the cat/kittens will help control some of the mouse problem.

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