The Most Important Animal on the Farm: The Barn Cat

One of the largest problems beginning farmers face is pest control. It could be that insects are a problem for you, but as bad as they are, something even bigger lurks in the shadows, that being mice, rats, and other vermin. Difficult to handle with trapping alone, these rodents can wreak havoc and contaminate animal feed. They are capable of damaging crops or anything else that suits their fancy. With teeth made for chewing, it can be tough to keep these animals from making their way into containers and feed bins that are not tough enough to keep them out. Even then, it is not possible to contain everything you need and use on the farm, so there comes a time when a choice must be made. Oftentimes that choice is to get a barn cat.

Although it is not always high at the top of our lists to acquire another mouth to feed, having barn cats can make a world of difference when it comes to pest control. Keep in mind that for mice and rats, your barn and farm are quite literally an all you can eat buffet. Poison is an option, albeit a risky one because it can harm or even kill animals for which it was not intended. A cat, on the other hand, with its natural prey drive, is a much more logical solution to the pest problem.

Even if your feed is secure, that is not to say that mice and rats cannot pose a problem. For one thing, they are drawn to and like to chew electrical wires. That means lighting and other electricity is at risk of not only failure to work but chewed, frayed wires present a fire hazard. Aside from that, there is the fact that such animals carry and spread the hantavirus as they move about, dropping feces along the way.

Photo: Feral Cat Focus

Photo: Feral Cat Focus

Though we’ve all heard stories of failed mousers who’d rather lie around and do nothing, most barn cats are attune to their job and very willing to do it. Even so, there are some steps you can take to gently encourage your barn cats to embrace a working lifestyle as opposed to a leisurely one. For starters, get them young–yes, them, as in more than one, since we all enjoy having a buddy for hunting, playing, and keeping warm. Much as you would with any other type of animal, select your kittens from good stock, such as another successful, proven barn cat. If their mother knew and did her job well, she will usually teach her babies, which means that by the time they are a few months old, they will have the know-how to do their job. In the event you do not want kittens, it is often possible to get feral cats in need of relocation through your local animal shelter.

With kittens it is also easy to establish a home area, making them less likely to relocate on their own accord which could be a problem with older, more independent cats. Keep your kittens contained for a few weeks, providing food, water, and litter box access so they will understand that this is their home base. A stall is a good area in which to start them, and as they grow they will likely venture out on their own to explore their world. Once this exploring starts, it is likely that the mousing will, too. Don’t let this be an excuse to stop feeding them or cut them back; a mouse only diet is not enough to sustain, especially during cold weather, and the presence of cat food will reiterate where home is. Just take care to keep cat food in an area away from other vermin; twice daily feedings after which uneaten food is picked up is useful in removing temptation when it comes to other animals.

Don’t forget to provide routine healthcare. This means worming, treating for fleas, and vaccinating. Just as you wouldn’t want unhealthy vermin around your barn, you do not want unhealthy cats. A sick animal is a sick animal, after all, so stay on top of the health care of yours. Also, don’t forget to spay and neuter unless you want more barn cats…and more and more and more. Additionally, part of their health and wellbeing is giving them a place to stay warm. Make sure that place is not your house as it negates the purpose of a barn cat, but set aside a space in the barn where they can get out of the elements and remain warm when the mercury drops.

Though cats are very useful in pest control, it may be necessary to keep them away from baby chicks as those could be mistaken for a snack. Barring incidents such as this, most barn cats truly are worth their weight in gold. Not only do they keep rodent populations under control, they also give you the peace of mind that is knowing your barn and feed is safe from contamination, saving you the time lost and headaches you could have without feline employees on the payroll.

5 Comments on The Most Important Animal on the Farm: The Barn Cat

  1. Wow, could you be any MORE wrong? Where’d you get your idea of “farming”? From your pavement-brained reality in an inner-city slum without even a G.E.D. education before you moved to that 2-acre hobby-farm?

    Using a highly destructive, deadly-disease spreading, invasive-species cat, one that has the largest prey-base of any known predator as rodent control is about the most ecologically irresponsible and criminally irresponsible thing that ANYONE can do. Letting a cat roam free on your lands is just about as intelligent as spreading rat-poison around on all your property, for it too will kill everything that moves.

    Cats are NOT good rodent control. The myth about cats being good rodent control has been disproved on every island where cats were imported to take care of the imported rodents. Hundreds of years later and there’s nothing but a thriving population of cats and rodents — all the native wildlife on those islands now either extinct or on the brink of extinction — even those native species which are better rodent predators than cats (such as many reptiles and shrews which destroy rodents right in their nests), the cats having destroyed them directly or indirectly.

    The rodents reproduce in burrows and holes out of the reach of cats, where they are happy to reproduce forever to entertain cats the rest of their lives, and make your own lives miserable, on into infinity. On top of that, when cats infect rodents with cat’s Toxoplasma gondii parasite, this hijacks the minds of rodents to make the rodents attracted to where cats urinate.

    Cats actually attract disease-carrying rodents to where cats are. The cats then contract these diseases on contact with, or being in proximity to, these rodents. Like “The Black Death”, the plague, that is now being transmitted to humans in N. America directly from cats that have contracted it from rodents. Yes, “The Black Death” (the plague) is alive and well today and being spread by people’s cats this time around. Totally disproving that oft-spewed LIE about having more cats in Europe could have prevented the plague — more cats would have made it far far worse. Many people have already died from cat-transmitted plague in the USA in the last 2-3 decades; all three forms of it transmitted by CATS — septicemic, bubonic, and pneumonic. For a fun read, one of hundreds of cases, Cat-Transmitted Fatal Pneumonic Plague —
    “Recommendations to avoid zoonotic transmission: ats are considered the most important domestic animal involved in plague transmission to humans, and in endemic areas, outdoor cats may transmit the infection to their owners or to persons caring for sick cats (veterinarians and veterinary nurses).”

    Cats attracting these adult rodents right to them further increasing the cat/rodent/disease density of this happy predator/prey balance. It has been documented many many times. The more cats you have the more rodents and diseases you get. I even proved this to myself when having to rid my lands of hundreds of these vermin cats by shooting and burying every last one of them. A rodent problem started to appear about the same time the cats started to show up, 15 years of it. Then all rodent problems disappeared after every last cat was shot-dead and safely disposed of. All the better NATIVE rodent predators moved back into the area after the cats were dead and gone. Not seen one cat anywhere nor had even one rodent in the house in five years now. (So much for their manipulative, deceptive, and outright lie of the mythical “vacuum effect” too.)

    No cat population anywhere has EVER been able to eradicate rodents. But native predators can — easily. Many reptiles and the more voracious smaller mammals can destroy rodents at their very source. Even the tiny little 1.75-inch Masked Shrew (not a rodent) in N. America, a David and Goliath story, can wipe out rodents. They are the only mammal in N. America with a poisonous bite, specifically designed to prey on rodents in places where rodents hide from your cats. (Your cats which then destroy the valuable shrews when your cats spot them, or valuable snakes — your cats destroying an even better rodent predator. Nice plan. So smart!)

    See how that works? No? Didn’t think so. You’d need at least a high-school freshman level of education in ecology to know this. Even children in elementary-school are aware of these things today.

    Too bad that you people know so little about nature, ecosystems, and the real world. Or you wouldn’t be making such silly claims — just because generation upon generation of fools before you made the very same claims that were just as foolish and stupid then as they are now.

    Don’t go adding to everyone’s weekly cat-shooting-quotas by releasing more of these pestilent vermin. “Cute” they are not. They ALL need to be destroyed. There are dozens of native predator species that are MUCH better suited for rodent control. Ones that eat rodents only and don’t destroy everything that moves, like cats do. There’s a good reason one species was even named the “Barn Owl”. Gray-Fox being another excellent mouser, they don’t even have European fowl on their menus and will even climb trees to keep squirrel populations in check. Even the 1.75-inch Masked-Shrew, a David & Goliath success story, evolved a poisonous bite specifically for preying on rodents right where they breed. Even the scent of these miniature marvels being around drives away rodents. But what do your cats do? They destroy these most beneficial of all rodent predators the very first chance they get.

    Get an education so the rest of us don’t have to teach you a valuable lesson by shooting and burying every last one of your free-roaming invasive species vermin cats for you.

    Here’s too a good read to show you what happens to every last one of these invasive-species disease-infested vermin feral-cats that people dump-off on farms and in other rural areas in ANY location of North America.

    All you are doing is adding to the cat-shooting quotas of everyone who lives rural. What a nice waste of your money and time. I personally shot and buried literally hundreds of these invasive-species vermin cats to stop them from gutting-alive and skinning-alive the last of the native wildlife on my lands. Cats that morons adopted-out from “humane” barn-cat programs. Many hunting-forums even pass along contact information of any new “barn cat programs” — for free delivery of practice-targets between hunting seasons. I don’t condone this, because if they miss then I have to shoot them myself when they wander into my own lands. “Hello? Yes, I have a bad rodent problem out here in the country. Can you bring out about 6 of your cats? Thanks!” (A week later: BANG! BANG! Damn, missed one. BANG! BANG! BANG!) Your cats are “valuable”, alright. But not in any way that you might ever think.

    You might also enjoy knowing …

    If people advocate for cats as rodent-control on farms and ranches they’ve already doomed them to being destroyed by drowning or shooting when it becomes a financial liability more than any asset. Ranchers and farmers worldwide are fully aware that cats’ Toxoplasma gondii parasite can cause the very same birth defects (hydrocephaly and microcephaly), still-births, and miscarriages in their livestock and important wildlife as it can in pregnant women. Consequently, this is also how this cats’ brain-parasite gets into your meats and onto your dinner-tables, from herbivores ingesting this cat-parasites’ oocysts in the soils, transferred to the plants and grains that they eat. Herbivores can contract this parasite in NO OTHER WAY. Not even washing your hands in bleach nor hydrochloric-acid will destroy this parasites’ oocysts if you have contracted it from your garden or yard that a cat has defecated in.

    This is why any cats are ROUTINELY destroyed around gestating livestock and wildlife-management areas in the most efficient, humane, and least-expensive method available. Common rural practice everywhere. The risk of financial loss from dead livestock and important native wildlife from an invasive-species cat is far too great to do otherwise. This cats’ parasite is now even killing off rare marine-mammals (dolphins, seals, otters, and even rare whales) along all coastal regions around the world from run-off containing this cat-parasites’ oocysts.

    Children on farms and ranches also learn how to be a good steward of their lands when it comes to invasive domesticated species like cats, with one simple statement from the ecologically responsible parents (those who are directly dependent upon the very lands on which they live, including yourselves), “If you see a cat more’n 100 yards from any building, shoot it! It’s up to no good.” They don’t bother with expensive spaying and neutering cats, that’s too time consuming and costly for a work-cat that’s breeding out of control.

  2. Do I detect a bit of obsessive cat hatred there? Might I suggest deleting all the narcissistic hatred of cats? Some people talk out their #%^!

  3. I hate and despise criminally-negligent and criminally-irresponsible pet-owners, but I have never hated cats. Though to be perfectly honest, I find all other animals on earth now far more worthy of my respect and admiration after what I’ve been through with cat-lickers and all their vermin pestilent cats. Even worms and slugs have more class and are worthy of more admiration than they are. I had to legally shoot and bury literally hundreds of these invasive-species vermin to stop them from gutting-alive and skinning-alive the last of the native wildlife on my lands. Apparently gutting-alive and skinning-alive animals with everyone’s vermin cats, tortured to death just for their cats’ play-toys, no other reason, is perfectly acceptable to you. Yeah, you’re a fine upstanding “animal-lover” who respects all other lives around you and all other life on earth, aren’t you.

    Destroying cats is neither hating cats nor a fear of cats.

    Why do mentally-unbalanced and psychotic cat-advocates always presume that if someone is removing a highly destructive, deadly disease spreading, human-engineered invasive-species from the native habitat to restore it back into natural balance that they must hate that organism? Does someone who destroys Zebra Mussels, Kudzu, African Cichlids, Burmese Pythons, or any of the other myriad destructive invasive-species in the USA or elsewhere have some personal problem with that species? (Many of which are escaped PETS that don’t even spread any harmful diseases, unlike cats.) Your ignorance and blatant biases are revealed in your declaring that people who destroy cats must somehow hate or fear cats. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    It is people who let a destructive invasive-species roam free that tortures-to-death all other wildlife, wasted for their cats’ play-toys, that have zero respect for ALL life. They don’t even care about their cats dying a slow torturous death from exposure, animal attacks, diseases, starvation, dehydration, becoming road-kill, environmental poisons, etc., the way that ALL stray cats suffer to death. And if VERY VERY lucky their cat will be humanely shot to death or trapped & drowned; for those are, by far, the MOST humane deaths that any of their free-roaming cats will ever hope to meet. They don’t even respect their fellow human being. This speaks more than volumes about your disgusting character. People like you should be locked up in prison for life for your cruelty to all animals, cruelty to your own cats as well as all the native wildlife that you let your cats skin alive or disembowel alive for their and your entertainment. If you let cats roam free you are violating every animal-abandonment, animal-neglect, animal-endangerment, and invasive-species law in existence.

    If people do hate cats today, have LEARNED to hate cats today, you have nobody but yourself and everyone just like you to blame. YOU are the reason people are now realizing that all excess cats must be destroyed on-site and on-sight. You’ve done so much to make people care about cats, haven’t you. If you want to do something about it, direct your sadly and sorely misplaced energies at those that are causing the problem, not at those who are actually solving it AND HAVE SOLVED IT 100% by hunting them to extinction (or extirpation in the case of these man-made cats) — the ONLY method that works on an invasive vermin species like cats that out-breed and out-adapt to ANY trapping method known to man.

    THIS IS YOUR FAULT and THE FAULT OF EVERYONE JUST LIKE YOU. You have NOBODY but yourselves to blame.

    You can take that all the way to the very last shot-dead cat’s grave.

    You are aware too, aren’t you, that out of ALL types of pet-owners on the face of this earth, that cat-owners are directly responsible for the suffering deaths of more animals and more species of animals than any other pet-owners on the planet. CAT-OWNERS ARE A TRIPLE-THREAT TO ALL ANIMAL LIFE ON EARTH. If not having animals killed for their own consumption, then they are having animals killed and crammed into bags and cans and having a “CAT FOOD” label slapped on them for their cat’s consumption, and if they let their cats outside then they are senselessly torturing billions of native animals and countless thousands of native species to death yearly just for their cats’ play-toys. As well as the countless BILLIONS of offspring of all those animals that are either starved to death or never get born. How many animals are you going to have senselessly killed or tortured today for your entertainment and your wholly and purely self-serving “but cats make me feel good!” values?

  4. “Woodsman” your mind is twisted with hatred.

    The ONLY other person I ever encountered who hated cats as much as you was an obsessed “Birder”.

    He shot any neighborhood cat he could, firing right across a busy highway, and at neighbor’s yards where children play.

    Despite the fact his birdhouses were on twelve foot high posts and immune to even the most athletic cat on Earth !

    You’re the one shooting hundreds of cats, and you accuse normal people of being “mentally unbalanced” ?

    Someone needs to tip you off so you can get professional help.

    You’re obsessed and insane.

  5. Wow, this guy is pretty out there. I figure him to be a birder with that kind of hatred towards cats. He also sounds very mean and ill-spirited to a surprising extent, you typically don’t run.into that kind of crazy too often! I don’t know what experience he is referring too, but most farms have cats and there is a reason for that as they do provide safe and effective pest control. Barn cats aren’t the group of wild feral, unhealthy animals that some old folks feed on the edge of town. They are purposefully kept, meaning numbers controlled, vaccination and additional medical provided as needed, etc. I don’t know how one can say that cats alone are responsible for wiping out beneficial native pest control species, yet not able to put a noticeable dent in a mouse population? That seems to be quite an arbitrary statement alone.

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