I'm having a little bit of an issue at my current barn. I'm looking for people to either tell me I'm overreacting, or that my concerns are reasonable.
The short version of the story is that my barn has a barn cat. She doesn't get fed. They rely on her to catch mice to feed herself. I've heard of this philosophy before, but I personally don't agree with it.
I'm planning to approach the barn owner about it but I wanted to ask for others input and maybe suggestions for how to approach him? He's usually a pretty reasonable guy. They are wealthy people - money isn't the issue... they're worried they'll have mice in the barn.
A healthy well fed cat will hunt for the heck of it. A hungry cat will hunt for a meal, then lay around to conserve energy, and not go hunt for fun.
I feed our barn cats daily. They will hunt all of the time, and even have brought mice to dinner. They put the mouse down near their dish, then pick it up and take it with when they are done. I like to think they are thinking the meal that night is pot luck, and they brought desert!
What the previous 2 posters said. Plus ... point out to the owner that a cat who eats mice, rats, etc., is going to get their germs, filth, etc., and that these can spread to humans. Do these wealthy horse people really want a cat around that they are afraid to pick up and pet? (Assuming it's a tame barn cat.)
I hope she gets her shots and has been spayed!
Is the owner the kind of guy you can quote vets' advice to? If so, get some and quote it! (Alternately: Google something like "barn cat not getting fed" and make notes from all the hits you will get (as I just did!).
And good luck to you and the kitty!
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Cats really are more effective hunters if they are well fed although mine have missed a meal here and there when I see them eating pigeons simply because I have finally learned, after several years, that they won't leave a pigeon feast for store bought cat food or even their favourite treat - KFC skin. My well-fed boys have happily been bringing me dead mice and voles all spring; those three are killing fools and I encourage it.
You might suggest a closed feeder that dispenses dry food into a dish if canned food isn't an option. Do they at least supply water for the poor cat?
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Even my house cats, who get to go out, are hunting fools. I'm always finding little gifts lying around. And they seem to always be eating when they're in the house. If I'm not careful and monitor them closely, they'll bring their catches inside...sometimes not finished off.
My barn cats have ALWAYS had food out for them. And they've ALWAYS been killing machines.