Stray Cat Wants to Move Into Henhouse

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Barry Natchitoches, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Chillin' With My Peeps

    645
    13
    164
    Sep 4, 2008
    Tennessee
    I have both a large henhouse for most of my birds (13 hens and one rooster) and a smaller chicken tractor for the rest of my birds (2 hens and one rooster).


    I went to open up the large henhouse for the birds to play outdoors last week, and found that a stray cat we've seen around the place for several months now had spent the night in one of the nesting boxes. The cat didn't seem to go after the birds, nor the birds go after the cat. They seemed to cohabitate peacefully other than the fact that none of the birds would go near the nesting boxes where the cat was resting.


    Then this afternoon, we had heavy rains hit our area, and this same cat went into the open chicken tractor and was curled up in the nesting box in that tractor. Once again, the cat wasn't attacking the chickens, nor the chickens attacking the cat. But the chickens refused to get out of the rain by ducking into their tractor because the cat was in there.


    This cat has no home. It fights with my Maine coon, but neither one of them ever hurt the other. It's like they spar at each other some, but neither wants to get into a knock down, drag out kind of fight.


    Because it fights with my cat, I've never fed it. And I don't think any neighbors are feeding it either.


    But it gets enough food capturing mice that hang around my chicken coop. And that is why it keeps hanging around my chickens and their housing.


    The animal shelter in this town is a KILL kind of shelter, so I hate to even think about sending it there. Besides, this is a feral cat. It is not a cat that will allow a human to get anywhere near it.


    What should I do?
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    453
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    If it were me, I'd try to keep it, I'd feed it a little, but not enough that it loses interest in mice. I like cats a lot, and have tamed many a wild one, though. Cats that routinely kill mice aren't that common. Most play with them, killing them accidentally, which means a lot of mice get away, so I'd hang onto one that had the killing bite down pat. Chances are good your chickens will adjust to the cat's presence and use their living space the way they used to. You might have to rig up something (tarp, maybe) in the meantime so they can get out of the rain. I doubt you will ever see a real fight between this one and your Maine coon or the chickens since it started off this peacefully. If it turns out to be an unfixed female, and ever has kittens, it will probably teach the kittens the killing bite; that's how they learn it.

    Just what I would do, of course.
     
  3. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

    28,748
    5,381
    576
    May 11, 2010
    I'd trap it, evaluate its health, spay or neuter it, then figure out a way to keep the cat out of the hen house. Or I'd trap it and euthanize it. Feral cats carry disease. Rabies for one, and other virus's most cat owners are aware of. Not to mention it will go after the chicks.
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    453
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Quote:Very true; needs to be vaccinated. But will have to catch or tame it first, of course. It's already been with the chickens so if it is going to give them a disease.... But this is one cat I would not spay, at least til after a litter, because it seems to know the killing bite.
     
  5. NewToFarming

    NewToFarming Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,305
    24
    193
    Apr 28, 2010
    Millersburg, PA
    I have two strays like this. One for sure that has the bite because he came to show me it! [​IMG]
    I have my chickens in a stall converted to coop in the barn and they keep wanting to go in with the chickens at night but I don't let them. I do let them stay in the barn though. Just like yours, they all get along fine it seems and I even had chicks with the Mommie since they hatched and they never bothered them. Once in awhile my Naked Necks will give the cats a rough time and play the game of lets surround the kitty and see who moves first. It is quite funny and they will give them that evil stare but the cats never do anything to them. I think they are scared of them. I do keep my strays well fed though. I just worried if they didn't have anything else to eat, they would start with the chickens. Even being well fed, they still catch the mice. Honestly, I have only ever seen the ones they showed to me. I never had a surprise in the feed at all so they must be doing a good job. Not even droppings are around. They also keep out some other critters. There is another black cat that tries to come in the barn on occasion and when that happens, there is war! [​IMG] They are kind of like the watch cats for the chickens. LOL But they won't mess with the skunk that has started to come into the barn. [​IMG] But it seemed to work with us and the cats will now even come running to me with all of the chickens when it is treat time.
     
  6. D'Angelo N Va.

    D'Angelo N Va. Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2009
    Sounds like it needs a home and it is happy there. Unless you are going to have young babies in the hen house I wouldn't worry too much about removing it except to have it innoculated, which they can do if they put it to sleep if it is a feral cat, and when it awakens have it back in the hen house.
     
  7. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,168
    30
    201
    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    Sounds like the gods have sent you a cat. I agree that the best bet would be to trap it and get it vaccinated for rabies at least. Otherwise, as long as you don't have chicks I'd keep it around to catch and eat mice--a lot safer than poisoning them. Also a cat that hangs out with the chickens is a good deterrent for weasels and hawks.
     
  8. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

    7,261
    12
    261
    Mar 4, 2009
    Broodyland, TN
    My Coop
    Trap it, vaccinate and fix it, make it a nice "nestbox" of its very own and put some food out for it. Not only will it help keep the mice popuation down, it may help keep other "strays" away ONCE IT IS FIXED. Otherwise it might attract them, LOL.
     
  9. ChickenCat

    ChickenCat Chillin' With My Peeps

    249
    0
    119
    Mar 1, 2009
    craig county, VA
    Trap it in a live trap, get it fixed and vaccinated. Give it it's own house. A small dog box with some type of bedding would be nice. Hopefully it will like it and stay around to keep the little critters under control. It probaly will never bother your chickens or chicks.
     
  10. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

    4,617
    20
    264
    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    The universe has adopted you a cat [​IMG]
    Thanks for your good heart in not wanting harm to come to him/her. [​IMG]
    Let it get a little more comfortable in your presence and as you as you can get it spayed or neutered (Friends of Animals certificates offer a low cost option, as do many rescue groups), along with rabies vaccine, then let it hang with your birds (I have had ferals become their best friends and even very protective of them and the birds learn which cats are friends and totally relax in time). I would definitely make sure it has fresh food and water always - this will not deter it's propensity to get mice and will help keep the kitty healthy. It's takes time but there will likely come a point when that kitty will purr at the sight of you and you it [​IMG]
    JJ
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2010

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by