The farm cat, also known as a barn cat, is a domestic cat, usually of mixed breed, that lives primarily out-of-doors, in a feral or semi-feral condition on agricultural properties, usually sheltering in outbuildings.
Have you seen stray cats hanging around the barn or home? Wish they’d go away? Don’t be so sure they can’t lend a helping paw. Here’s what we’ve observed of our feline farm friends…
- Cats make the barn a happier place. Cats make people happy. Perhaps it’s the fact that they live their own independent lives. Or the fact that they seem to know just when you need your leg rubbed.
- They eat bugs. It’s a hunting thing. Like it or not, cats enjoy the hunt and the kill.
- They are gold medal-winning exterminators. Indoors and outdoors, you can count on a cat to keep rodents from feed bins, garbage cans, etc. Obviously, the humans must do their best to fend off these pests (covers, metal bins, traps, etc.). But sadly, that probably won’t do the trick at keeping them away for good. This is where having a barn cat around comes in handy.
You’ll just need to keep a couple of cats around your property, and you’ll likely find that your rodent population will begin to decline.
- They save money. Sure you’ll need to feed them and provide proper care. But consider this, for each bug or rodent they discourage…it’s one less pest consuming your feed. Feed or human food—it’s all expensive. The cost of keeping a barn cat healthy is small compared to the cost of the food.
- They make great friends. Maybe not always for the humans, but they make great animal companions, depending on their temperament. There are pictures across the internet of dogs and cats, goats and cats, pigs and cats, etc. Consider it a bonus to a barn cat.
- They are low maintenance. Barn cats are low maintenance. They require a few shots to keep them disease free. And perhaps some nutritious food. They need very little and usually give a whole lot back. So you don’t get a whole lot lower maintenance than keeping cats around your barn.
- They are orphans who need a home. Most barn cats are strays or orphaned cats that have nowhere else to live. Yet, if you give them a home in your barn or around your home, you give them a purpose. And it’s an amazing thing to watch this animal grow and thrive as a productive member of your farm.
There are a number of organizations with programs detailing feral cat adoption and barn cat training. Check with your local vet, animal society or rescue organization for more details.