How to Raise a Barn Cat
The average house cat lives a relaxing life filled with naps, naps, and more naps. But barn cats have a serious job to perform—controlling the rodent population in barns. You can help keep your hardworking barn cat happy and safe by providing the necessities: veterinary care, comfortable shelter, food, water, and fun. Let's take a closer look at each one.
Patrolling a barn takes a lot of effort, and working cats take their jobs seriously. Your barn cat might seem independent and resilient, but he also relies on you for some very important things. Regular veterinary care is essential, so talk to your veterinarian about any necessary appointments, vaccines, and procedures (like spaying or neutering) that your barn cat might require.
A Spot to Sleep
It might seem like you have this one covered already—after all, your barn cat has the run of your barn with plenty of places to snag a nap. But while the lofty expanse of your barn certainly provides your barn cat with basic protection from the elements, your cat may also appreciate some additional comforts, especially on cold winter nights.
An outdoor kitty house gives your barn cat another option besides bunking in the open barn. These houses can be heated or unheated and provide a cozy place where your kitty can relax during her downtime. Or opt for a heated pad that provides a warm and comfortable place for your cat to snuggle down when she's taking a break from rodent patrol.
Another option is a self-warming hut that can work well in areas where access to electricity isn't an option. These insulated hideouts provide warmth and comfort for your barn cat.
More Essentials: Food and Fresh Water
Your barn cat probably gives the impression that he can take care of himself, but when it comes to mealtime, he will definitely appreciate having reliable access to a steady supply of cat food. For his safety, always feed your barn cat in a location that is inaccessible to wild animals.1
In addition to food, fresh water is very important.2 Wintertime can complicate the process of providing continual access to fresh (unfrozen) water, especially in drafty barns. Warming bowls make it easy to keep water from freezing while also making it a more palatable temperature for your cat. Combination food and water dishes do double-duty and keep both food and water warm, and stainless steel bowls make for easy clean-up.
Provide for Play Time
You know the old saying about "all work and no play," and the adage holds true for working cats too. So you might want to consider giving your barn cat the option to have some fun during her periods of downtime. Interactive toys (such as roller toys) make it easy for your barn cat to fight boredom and keep her mental skills sharp. And 4-in-1 interactive toys allow her to climb, scratch, play, and groom while she waits for her next barnyard assignment.
Your barn cat provides a wonderful service in your barn. By providing for all of his basic needs, you can always show him you care!
Hughes, Kate. "How to Best Care for Barn Cats," PetMd.com, https://www.petmd.com/cat/care/how-best-care-barn-cats
Becker, Dr. Marty. " How to Help Outdoor Cats Stay Warm and Safe in Winter Weather," Vetstreet.com, January 2016, http://www.vetstreet.com/dr-marty-becker/how-to-help-outdoor-cats-stay-warm-and-safe-in-winter-weather