Barn cats: why you need one, and where to find them

Horses shouldn’t be the the only four-legged beasts in your barn – no matter what your setup or the size of your operation, life is better with barn cats.

“Barn cat” refers to felines who earn their keep around your place.  In exchange for shelter, food and water, and some level of interaction with you (depending on the cat, of course), they ensure your barn and feed rooms remain free of mice, large insects, and other unsavory pests.

The cost of keeping barn cats is minimal, especially when compared to the cost of replacing infested feed, or purchasing chemicals to kill pests.  Pick up a pet bed at a local store, or place a blanket in a cozy spot; station a bowl of cat food out of the dog’s reach in the feed room and keep it full; set out an automatic watering bowl that you will only refill once or twice a week; and you are in business for less than $50, plus the cost of spay or neuter.  Using cats as pest control also frees your horses from the negative health impact of exposure to chemicals.

Cats can be stomped by horses, accidentally or purposefully, but tend to naturally keep their distance.  While you may see a few rolled eyes and dramatic head tosses from your mares when the felines are first introduced, the cats rapidly become part of the usual scenery.

Don’t know where to find a suitable feline?  Feral cats, or adult cats unable to be placed through an adoptive service, make excellent barn cats.  Ensure they are spayed or neutered, then put them to work!  Make no doubt about – you are saving a life, especially in areas with high shelter kill rates.  Find your perfect barn cat by conducting a Google search for “adopt a barn cat” and the name of your town or city.  Craigslist, the classified section of your local paper, and the community bulletin boards in the nearest feed stores are also good ways to find suitable cats to add to your team.

Meet the barn cats of All Xena’s Horses by clicking here.

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Categories: Barn Management

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