Outdoor kittens?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by CityGirlintheCountry, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    I really want a few outdoor cats to keep the moles and mice to a minimum. I was hoping to just be adopted by a barn cat, but so far no luck. Only stray dogs seem to want to stop by. [​IMG]

    So my thought is to get a couple of young cats or old kittens. Craigslist is covered up with people wanting new homes for kittens. My question is how do I teach the kitten/kittens that this is home? I want these to be outside only cats.

    I have (15) 12 week old pullets and (2) 12 week old cockerals. At night they stay in a coop and a 8'x16' enclosed run. Would it be possible to keep the kittens in there with the chickens until they learn that this is home? Will the birds and kittens hurt each other? Clearly I don't want to do that if eaither side would get hurt. I want the outdoor cats to see the chickens as part of the family and not as dinner.

    What are my other options in teaching kittens that this is home? I have two very barky boxer mixes that live in the yard during the day and in the house at night. Also, I'm worried about little kittens being outside alone at night. There are random predators in the neighborhood. Back in winter there were coyotes. I haven't heard them lately, but I"m sure they're still out there. Also, there are a couple of large tomcats that make the occasional appearance here. I don't want to start a turf war!

    Should I give up on outside cats and just get the mole-be-gone pinwheel thingy? I feel like I can afford to care for a couple more kitties and would love to add some to the family.

    Thanks for the help!
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    If you are land locked, provide food once a day, and fresh water, they should stick around. But if you have lots of neighbors, next to streets and so on, might be harder to do because the cats could easily find a new hand out and move on. If you are a bit out of town though, look up feral cat programs and perhaps they can locate a colony to your property. They usually will drop off 3-5 at a time and keep them in a kennel for about a week or so before release so they are less likely to run off. They will be spayed or nutered, with the top of one of their ears clipped so that people like vets and animal control can identify them as being a fixed feral and usually try not to trap them and rehome them. Most of these cats will lurk in the shadows and not be touchable because they were born as ferals who hunted and/or ate garbage from trash cans in problem areas. Someone dropped off/cats found me that were in such a program and they are wonderful hunters who have yet to touch a chick.
  3. Year of the Rooster

    Year of the Rooster Sebright Savvy

    Jun 27, 2008
    West Central Ohio
    The big key is FOOD! From what my parents have told me about stray cats is that if you keep feeding them they'll stick around. Also, if you give them a comfortable place to sleep then that will make them want to stay around more. Good luck with your cats [​IMG]
  4. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    I have a frind that works with a snip and tip program. I worry about bringing in a truly feral cat since my chickens are free ranging during the day. My luck I'd get a cat that sees the chickens as dinner. I don't want to add another predator to the neighborhood.

    That's why I was wondering if I started with a kitten in the coop/run with the chickens it would teach the kitten that the chickens are to be loved. Dunno.

    Will just randomly leaving food out attract raccoons and possums and skunks?

    I live out in the country. There aren't as many stray cats out here as I thought there would be. I had a stray stick around for about two days and then she vanished. I later saw her down the street at the garbage pickup center. Clearly I can't compete with that buffet! [​IMG]
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    With the fearals around here, I haven't had a problem with them attacking chicks or chickens. They seem to know that the birds are at the top of the pecking order and that a beak to the eye is not a good thing. It is not unheard of for cats to get baby chicks, but rare from my experience. Adult chickens shouldn't have a problem with cats. The ferals I have eaten along side with month old silkies who could have easily become a meal but hasn't happened yet. These cats I have here cannot be touched. They stay a few feet away at closest, with one of them bolting as soon as you make eye contact with it. I don't think they were ever handled as a pet since they are so wary of humans and often hide.

    I only put out feed at night, and watch from a window to see the cats eat it. I have to feed at night because if I feed when the chickens are out, they will run the cats off and eat the food. Don't leave food out all night because that will attract things like possums, coons, and rats. I have a few cardboard houses built for the cats to go into, and often when I walk by them, a cat will come shooting out of the box and go hiding till I leave.
  6. chickenannie

    chickenannie Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    You also might want to just get an adult cat. There may be a lot of those available as well. Then feed them once a day. My barn cats are spayed, but wild, and I always feed them once a day, in the evening, which is when they wake up to go hunting and prowling. I figure if they are fed at that time, they will only hunt night time prey instead of the chickens who are roosting in the coop at night. The cats usually disappear into the haymow by early to mid-morning to sleep all day. then the chickens come out to free-range.
    Adult chickens peck at and chase the cats, so even the wild barn cats stay away from them. A chick however would be an easy target.
  7. Plymouthroxgal

    Plymouthroxgal Songster

    May 14, 2008
    ~ Want Some Of My Cats one Of My Barn Cats Has 2 Kittens Yesterday Than A few Weeks ago Another Had 4 all To gether I have at Least 11
  8. I would go to a local shelter and see if they have any cats that were brought in as strays. They will be better than kittens for catching mice and moles.
  9. mtnhomechick

    mtnhomechick Songster

    Jun 27, 2008
    Mountain Home, AR
    Usually....... cats won't bother a full grown chicken.......usually! I have a run but not mice, moles or snakes. They were feral but no more.........I fed them for the last 9 mos. and now I can hold any of them....I also trapped them and got them spayed or neutered. Most of them. I have never had an INCIDENT.
  10. Another thing, if there are tomcats, I would get a female, that is spayed. That way they should get along.

    Kittens should never be left alone outside at night.

    And if you get a cat, make sure to keep it locked in the house for 1 week, so it knows who you are and everything. Then you can let it out, but be around incase it gets scared or etc.

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