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Old 04-23-2021, 01:12 AM
 
Location: Portal to the Pacific
8,464 posts, read 7,468,358 times
Reputation: 12400

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Last year we bought a little hobby farm as a second/guest home. It's not even 10 miles from home. Eventually we will move out there, but we still have a kid in school and our current neighborhood is better for them. I wasn't sure how many animals I could get until we move full-time, but I had the conservation district (government land and livestock consultation entity that often fits county boundaries) come out and say that I could easily get bees and chickens going... so this year we're getting bees and next year we'll get the chickens!

My neighbor next door (at the farm) has lived there a long time and he manages 3 different feral cats in addition to a couple indoor cats. I've never lived rural so this is the first time I've been exposed to actual barn cats. Indeed, that's where they live. My neighbor set up a bed for them in a covered, open shed and says that one of the cats has been living out there for 18 years. Two of them seem to be bonded. The third comes out from a different corner of his property.

Anyway. So last summer we got a new kitten after losing our senior tabby. I adopted him through a Craig's List ad. He was 9 weeks old, stinky and had fleas and was described as a barn cat's baby. I wasn't concerned because I figured he would learn and adapt to our ways.

Now, 11 months later I'm not sure. There is no other way of putting it: He's a mean, nasty cat. He is very cute and he's got a cute meow, but otherwise I don't enjoy him and he doesn't enjoy us. We play with him. We give him toys, but he's the least interested in humans I have ever seen.

I know cats. I worked as a cat sitter for 6 years. I quit when the pandemic started and we got inheritance. I have been around dozens of cats. Possibly a couple hundred at this point in my life and although I've been around scared cats (MANY times at work) there have only been a handful of times I've been around cats like this... and mostly they were in developing nations... or the hobby farm...

I know that the counties here have barn cat programs where you can adopt semi or completely feral cats. I'm interested in having a few cats at the property because I love them and I'm happy to provide food, shelter and entertainment (mice, bugs, birds, other cats). And I'm happy for them to keep mice and critters away from my bees and gardens.

Instead of adopting a cat I'm wondering if I should just try taking my newer cat out and seeing if it's a better fit for him. I have no idea how I'd go about testing these waters. Part of me thinks it's incredibly mean, but the pragmatic, livestock-managing farm girl thinks that this might be his true nature. Thinks that he'd be best joining the feral cat colony (all the cats are neutered, so it doesn't grow).

Have any of you heard of this? Usually it's the other way around.. you find a cat, you bring it home, it becomes your bestie. The end. It doesn't usually happen that kitty becomes a scratching, ankle-biting demon.
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Old 04-25-2021, 09:14 AM
 
Location: NW Nevada
17,222 posts, read 13,912,865 times
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I'm born and bred rural. Grew up on a ranch and took the spread over when my Dad passed. The barn cats were my best buddies growing up and a couple of them I was the only one who they would come to. They were like your cat. Plumb ornery. Some critters are just that way. I agree it is odd for a house cat to be that way but it does happen.Your kids can't even get close to him? Most of the time an ornery critter like that will cotton to a young'un but only one. Hmmm.

Yeah, I'd say his nature is calling him to the outdoors. And trust me h'ell be fine in the barn. If he even sticks around. Or he may just come to visit and maybe for chow but take off and actually live in the lands around your farm. Fully feral but OK with the dry food pan. Our barn cats, even the nasty ones, would still leave dead rodents and such they caught (and probably tortured to death as cats do)as "gifts" on the porch. To show they were at least singing for their supper.

Sounds to me like this feline of yours is that sort of cat.
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Old 04-25-2021, 10:44 AM
 
Location: Portal to the Pacific
8,464 posts, read 7,468,358 times
Reputation: 12400
Quote:
Originally Posted by NVplumber View Post
I'm born and bred rural. Grew up on a ranch and took the spread over when my Dad passed. The barn cats were my best buddies growing up and a couple of them I was the only one who they would come to. They were like your cat. Plumb ornery. Some critters are just that way. I agree it is odd for a house cat to be that way but it does happen.Your kids can't even get close to him? Most of the time an ornery critter like that will cotton to a young'un but only one. Hmmm.

Yeah, I'd say his nature is calling him to the outdoors. And trust me h'ell be fine in the barn. If he even sticks around. Or he may just come to visit and maybe for chow but take off and actually live in the lands around your farm. Fully feral but OK with the dry food pan. Our barn cats, even the nasty ones, would still leave dead rodents and such they caught (and probably tortured to death as cats do)as "gifts" on the porch. To show they were at least singing for their supper.

Sounds to me like this feline of yours is that sort of cat.
My boys are closing in on 18 and 15 and mostly ignore the cats (and us) as teenagers are wont to do. He actually likes the younger son the most... he hangs out in his room and will actually have a drool and purr fest with him a few times a week. Makes me so jealous... I'm the one who cleans and feeds him!

He's really okay as long as we don't try to be his friend. He sleeps all sprawled out with legs, tail and back going all sorts of directions so you know he has to feel at least comfortable enough to expose his belly like that. (and it's adorable).

I do think he'd love being outside, but I just don't know if I could or should take him outside like that. It's not what I've been raised to do with animals.
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Old 04-26-2021, 09:08 AM
 
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I dont think you should! What if he doesnt like the other cats and they fight and he gets beat up or worse he runs away because he is scared and gets eaten by a coyote or a hawk. He didnt grow up out there to learn how to live out there like the others did.

He just needs you to give him space, let him come to you when he wants pets. Give him a cat tree where he can sit up there and have his own safe space. Get a wand toy (a toy on the end of a string) that you can drag around and let him chase it. He needs to get his energy out in a constructive manner. and at the same time you will be creating a bond that it doesnt sound like you have yet. Dont play roughly him. Be gentle with him. Be patient and let him come to you.

If his only crime is he is not interested in you, thats no reason to put him out.

When in doubt, dont.
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Old 04-26-2021, 10:14 AM
 
4,010 posts, read 2,007,788 times
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That’s a terrible idea and cruel. He may change over time. Regardless once you adopt a animal you accept them for who they are for life. It’s a commitment. My in laws fed a horse for 30 years for their kids to ride and it wouldn’t cooperate. Despite not allowing riders they petted it daily and took care of it for life. That’s the commitment I have to my dogs.
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Old 04-26-2021, 10:56 AM
 
3,866 posts, read 2,090,368 times
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LOL.... people that have bad personalities aren't considered Barn people.

If your unpleasant cat has not been outside the barn would come as a total shock. Don't just dump him in there. A large cage where he can see what's around him and a box to hide in to start with. After a week if he's adapting ok, then give him his freedom but be sure he has a safe place to hide.
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Old 04-26-2021, 12:45 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
2,837 posts, read 3,179,254 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingsaucermom View Post
My boys are closing in on 18 and 15 and mostly ignore the cats (and us) as teenagers are wont to do. He actually likes the younger son the most... he hangs out in his room and will actually have a drool and purr fest with him a few times a week.
This is the reason why you should keep him. It's clear he adores your younger son.

He is also at that "teenage" stage where he has a ton of energy. I remember my Tucker, many years ago, during this stage. He wasn't always the most lovable. But a couple of years later he mellowed and became my heart cat.

Give this guy a chance, especially if he adores your son, and don't put him outside.
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Old 04-27-2021, 04:15 PM
 
3,997 posts, read 2,043,048 times
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Ideally a barn cat doesn't need any pampering. Being part feral is what/how you need them to be. He has a job outside hunting and making his own meals eating mice, snakes, squirrels, rats, birds. The barn is nice and cozy for them in summer and winter just with some hay in the loft for them to rest on and sleep in. Don't worry about feeding him, petting him or making him a friend. That's not your job.
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