When I was asked to write something about APA!’s Barn Cat program I jumped at the chance. It’s awesome! I already had some mousers in my large horse barn in Spicewood, TX but decided I could give a few more cats a nice home. I contacted APA!’s AJ Debee, she assessed my situation and placed 2 healthy cats in my barn. I was so pleased I later adopted 2 more from her. If you have a barn this is a great way to control your mouse population and save some lives by providing these deserving felines with a nice place to live.
Wendy, one of my first APA! barn cats, quickly became BFFs with an existing cat named Dante. They are always together and they are very friendly towards people; they both come sauntering up to me when called! It’s so fun to see those two hanging out together!
Also, it appears that all my barn cats get along just fine with the horses, goats, Guinea hens and the rest of the menagerie that frequents the barn. One of my black barn cats (not sure which one since there are so many black ones!) likes to peer out at us from atop the attic most of the time. He/she just wants to make sure all is ok and watch from a distance.
If you decide you want barn cats, AJ will come out to your barn and look at your situation. If you’re a good candidate you can then adopt a couple of feral or semi-feral cats: it’s better to adopt more than one at a time as everyone likes to have a friend around.
Her team will bring out the cats and it’s then necessary to acclimate them in an enclosed space for at least 10 days and provide them with food, water, litter and bedding. I use a very large wire cage, place a piece of wood on the bottom so their feet don’t hurt and then place a white plastic igloo filled with hay in the cage. They like to hide out in the igloo when they first come to the barn and it makes them feel safe. I then place this cage either in a horse stall or in the tool room. You could also just use a room, such as a tack room, without the cage.
We visit them every day, talk to them and clean their litter and give them more food and fresh water. If it’s during the winter months I sometimes cover the cage with a horse blanket to keep it snuggly-warm but with a hay-filled igloo and
more than one cat you might not need to do this.
When it’s time to release them, I try to do it on a morning or afternoon when I know it’s going to be fairly quiet in the barn. They usually scurry right up the ladders that lead into the attic areas of the barn. Sometimes these cats end up being very reclusive but sometimes they become very social. It just depends on the cat but they all seem to be very happy to be in our barn.
When it’s time to add some more mousers to my barn I will contact AJ and help save some lives. To learn more or donate to the program, please visit our Barn Cat page to learn more.