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I'm afraid to let my barn kitties out!

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  • I'm afraid to let my barn kitties out!

    I knew this was going to happen...

    I adopted 2 cats from BARCS barn cat program. A female and male, both over a year old. Right now they're in two separate large dog crates. The female was very shy at first, but she has become very sweet and likes to be petted and meows when I come into the tack room. The male has always been friendly and will crawl up in my lap if I let him.

    I was told to keep them in the crates for 2 weeks, then let them loose in the tack room, then let them out.

    Problem is.. I'm afraid to let them out!

    I know they'll be safe in the tack room, but I'm worried when I open the door to go in they'll run out (it's a shed row barn so they wouldn't be in the barn.. they'd be OUT).

    I want them to be able to bond so they have a better chance of staying. I want to let the female out first, so she can investigate the male with him still enclosed, and then let them out together to make friends.

    How can I let them out of their cages but make sure they can't leave when the door is opened? Do I only let them out if I'm in the room and then put them back? I don't usually sit around in the tack room for hours. It's small and there's not much for me to do in there! haha

    Any suggestions?

  • #2
    I would start with a couple of days of letting one or the other and then both out with you in the tack room with them. Can you read a book? Clean tack? Go on COTH with your phone? Then maybe leave the one that seems to be more settled out into the tack room when you're not there (the theory here is that it might be easier to contain one flying cat than two).

    But I'm no expert, though I do have some practical experience.

    When we first got our barn cat we crated him and then started letting him with us in the office with the door shut. Even once we started letting him out out (that was an interesting and heart-stopping day) we would still crate him in the office at night as we were concerned that someone would open the office door and he'd come flying out and get eaten by a coyote. Eventually we progressed to letting him roam around in the office at night.

    Then we moved to a cat-unfriently barn and I took him home for awhile. Went through the same heart-stopping experience the first few times I let him out (after progressing from his room, to house, so he lived there almost a month before I let him out), though I had more faith that he'd come back this time. And he did, indeed, figure it out.

    Then we moved yet again (that is two moves and three barns in the last 12 months if anyone is trying to keep track) and I brought him back to the barn as he and my cat were having epic wars. Locked him in the crate in the office for a few days and then let him out on a day when we were all around. He figured it out yet again. Even though the first barn is across the street, he doesn't try to go there (at least as far as I know). He can escape out of this office through the eaves so we keep him locked in the crate at night.
    The Evil Chem Prof


    • #3
      Originally posted by 2LaZ2race View Post
      How can I let them out of their cages but make sure they can't leave when the door is opened? Do I only let them out if I'm in the room and then put them back? I don't usually sit around in the tack room for hours. It's small and there's not much for me to do in there! haha

      Any suggestions?
      What about giving them some yummy cat food in the tack room so they associate it with good things once they are out.

      I don't have any experience with barn cats, but I did take in a feral cat who accidentally got out when I allowed her to roam my house after she spend a month in my spare room.

      I thought she was a goner for sure when I saw her squeeze under my fence into my neighbors yard. I was worried sick for a few hours and then she came back and announced her return with many a meow.

      Is it your barn? If so, when they are out, you can open the door carefully when you go back in. There will be so much to explore they will probably be distracted.
      Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!