View Full Version : Bringing the barn cat home
Dec. 13, 2010, 02:16 PM
So my barn kitty seems to be having a harder and harder time being a barn kitty. I'm not sure how old she is but at least 8 or 9 and she's lived at the barn her whole life. Over the past year or so I've noticed that she doesn't seem as comfortable as she used to be. She's always had allergies but the dust has really been getting to her. Also there are other cats at the barn that are quite aggressive. She has had two cat bite abcesses within the past 3 months which cost me about $100 each time. Plus now that its cold she pretty much stays snuggled in her bed all day, rarely leaving the tack room.
So i've been considering retiring her and bringing her home. She has been at home before while recovering from the abcesses and adjusted very well. She's a pro at using the litter box. There are other cats at home. They are indoor/outdoor so she would be too so it would pretty much be like how she lives now. My cats are accepting of other cats and meiko isn't aggressive (more the hiss and run away type) so I think it could work. What else am I missing? She is such a lap kitty and I know she would love to be around people more. Plus our barn is basically just a plywood tackroom with no access to any kind of heat so it's really difficult to make it any more comfortable for her.
Has anyone else done this? How did it work out? I just hate seeing her all cold and scruffy while my kitties are at home sitting in front of the fire.
Dec. 13, 2010, 02:21 PM
I was at a barn where a kitten was dumped out. BO wanted him but didn't pay, so I paid for shots and altering, etc. Over a year later due to issues with eagles eating cats down the road from barn, and BO's hubby's 2 Bouviers trying to eat cat, dogs and horses, Tobey came home, and moved right in with my old house cats.
He's 7 now and hasn't been out of the house in about 6 yrs and is perfectly happy.
Dec. 13, 2010, 02:27 PM
I have barn cat, aka Zeke sleeping on the back of the sofa right now! Same kind of thing, he couldn't deal with the cold and other younger, faster barn cats anymore. He is too much of a lover.
Brought him in, he adjusted almost immediately. Uses the liter box fine and loves his "girlfriend" Maybell.
I bet your kitty would do great. Good luck.:)
Dec. 13, 2010, 03:38 PM
I've brought home a few barn cats to live their 'retirement' with me. Some were getting too old, others were just not equipped to be barn cats. All adjusted quite well to the life of soft surfaces, temperature controlled environment, unlimited supplies of food, water, treats and affection.
The first few days or even weeks may be a struggle for them as they try to figure out what is going on. I think they have to change their internal clocks (no roaming or hunting at night). You may want to add an extra litter box if you only have one (none of my cats had a problem figuring that out). Since she has allergies, you may want to consider her making her an indoor only cat. I did this with one of the cats, and the adorable little thing never even looked as the door to the patio or the front door...she loved life indoors! If you choose to make her indoor/outdoor- keep her inside for a while and then gradually let her out for supervised excursions...for example, my cat is only allowed to go in the back yard...I don't like them to stray too far because of coyotes.
Dec. 13, 2010, 04:02 PM
Thanks everyone. I love hearing all your stories of kitties living the good life. Keep them coming.
I would definitely keep her locked up for the first week or so. At this point though I'm not sure what the living arrangement would be. We have a heated workshop that she would probably start out in and I guess depending on how everyone gets along, I'll see how she does inside. Luckily we're in the city so hopefully no coyotes. And she's not much of a wanderer. I've had her probably 5 years and have never seen her kill anything so I don't think she'll be going on too many hunting excursions. Hopefully she can just enjoy her retirement curled up on the couch.
Dec. 13, 2010, 04:09 PM
I brought my 10 year old barn cat (semi feral) indoors in August due to an injury (broken pelvis). Kept her in a bathroom for quite a few weeks then gradually exposed her to the household (3 dogs, 3 other cats, 4 noisy kids). I am so proud of her as she is very much the house cat now and has no desire to go out, and she really seems to enjoy and appreciate all the comforts. Seeing her discover what it was like to curl up on a bed was really fun. Every time I see her I smile and am happy that life is so good for her now.
Dec. 13, 2010, 04:11 PM
Bless you for looking out for that kitty.
Dec. 13, 2010, 06:36 PM
It all depends on the other cats' reactions. Gradual introductions are best, but I have never had that luxury. One barn cat declared herself house cat, and promptly hid for a while, and now lives in the carrier and it is her own choice - she comes to greet me in the morning, comes out for food, water and litter box and is mostly ignored by the rest of the cats. Another declared himself a house cat when the weather got brutally cold and again, no problem. He came in, ate, and rebonded with his 'baby' and that was it, no fighting with anyone except for minor spats over who gets prime bed space. The key to this is the fact that Louie (the oldest of the house cats) knew both by sight, and Jack by scent as they made faces at each other through the window for years. That said, I would NEVER bring a new cat in without proper introductions, save maybe a kitten as those neutered toms seem to love the babies; both Louie and Jack have 'raised' kittens and taught them what they need to do and not do. I doubt I would try dumping a new cat into the mix in the house, wouldn't be safe.
One thing you can do is take old kitties bedding (assuming they have such) unwashed to new kitty and do the same with new kitty's bedding to the old ones so they get used to the new scents. Also, they say Feliway diffusers are good things to calm them down
Dec. 13, 2010, 08:34 PM
Well she's here. She hopped out of the carrier and made herself right at home in the workshop so that's good. I figured tonight was as good a night as any since the temps are dropping down into the teens here. Brrr
sk_pacer, good idea about using the other kitties bedding. I think the other cats will be fine, they're used to having new cats introduced. I just don't want Meiko to be overwhelmed since she's usually the one getting beat up. I'll keep her in for a little bit and then start letting her out for a few minutes here and there. Hopefully everyone will get along and she can move out of the workshop and into the house. Either way, it's a whole lot warmer than the barn.
Dec. 13, 2010, 08:41 PM
Just wait till you get home one day and find her lying on the bed with your other cats!
Good of you to save her. Cats live a lot longer and happier lives inside the house. And it saves the songbirds.
Dec. 13, 2010, 08:45 PM
Sillymoose, I've done it many times, and I think it a very kind thing for you to do. I would worry that the younger cats are making her life difficult and may eventually drive her away which would mean certain death for an old cat out on their own.
If you have other pets in the house, I would suggest putting her in quarantine in a quiet room until she adjusts to her new situation. Believe me, barn cats know when they have hit the jackpot with a cushy, indoor home and it doesn't take long for them to settle in.
My little farm is like the book, 'So Many Cats' because when I see a lonely cat or a cat that needs a home we live by the adage, 'What's one more?'.
I'm sure your little barn rescue will pay you back a hundred times over if you give her a safe and comfy retirement home.
Dec. 13, 2010, 09:54 PM
I have three cats. One was born in my basement after I brought his pregnant mom hpme from the track. I found homes for all of them and spayed her and took her back to the track. One was rescued at new holland at two days old with her four brothers. One was a barn cat at the track who was going to be drown in a bucket because she was pregnant. The last cat took three different stints at my house to finally settle in. She was mean to my dogs. She hid around the corner and waited for them to walk past so she could attack. The third time was the charm and she is the love of my life. Sleeps with me every night and sits on my lap the rest of the time. I am very glad I kept trying.
Dec. 13, 2010, 10:54 PM
OMG, yes. I was coerced (ha!) into taking an older barn kitty for retirement... 5+ years ago! Watch out, they live forever! all joking aside, I took her in because she was doing just what yours was - spending all her time in the tack room, curled up, and getting picked on by the other cats. I'd just lost a dog and thought she'd be company for my surviving dog. She had other ideas! first of all, from the day she arrived she has NEVER wanted to go outside - ever! she occasionally goes out on the screened porch in summer but that's apparently too close to outdoors for her. When I first got her I was living alone and she was the only cat, and I think she loved it. Now she's part of a big blended family and she gets picked on by the other cats, which has meant she has her Own Room with her Own Litter Box and her Own Food & Water Dishes. Does she want to spend time there? only at her request - so she stays in the kitchen, in Her Spot, until she asks to go into Her Room by YOWLING until someone lets her in, and then YOWLING until someone lets her out. We have to shut her in there any time we're not home because the others won't let her use the other boxes. She's a character and we love her and she definitely wouldn't have lasted this long at the barn, so it's all good. She just learned late in life how to run the household!