Barn cats, also known as farm cats, usually live outdoors, but someone is taking care of them. Usually, they are referred to as feral or semi-feral cats, since they rarely go inside, and are adapted to the conditions outdoors. These pets are pretty independent, but if you give them extra care, and of course, food, you will improve the quality of their life a lot.
The difference between a pet and a barn cat is that you keep the first ones at home and they do not go out. The second ones have provided living conditions within your yard, but still, we all know that cats often walk around and hunt mice and birds. However, this does not mean that they do not need your care.
Barn cats are neither a separate category nor a breed. Nowadays you will come across the term feral cats more often. In the past, with the help of food and care, humans domesticated these animals so that they could stay close and hunt mice and other pests that ate food supplies. But even today, we often attach ourselves to them and treat them like pets.
Someone will ask, why do not we keep them at home? The answer is usually very simple, because they feel better outside, free. There are also risks due to constant exposure to external conditions, but in general, they are stronger and healthier than pets, but the average lifespan is shorter.
Therefore, it is understandable that we want to give the most comfortable life to these furry outdoor friends, to be sure that we have done our best. Here are some ways to do this:
1. Monitor their behavior
Cats often do not show any signs of being sick or something happening to them. It is often too late to notice. The least you can do for them are regular veterinary examinations, vaccines and parasite medications, and occasional detailed tests. Note that their parameters differ from those of a pet cat. In general, barn cats have stronger immunity and are more resistant to certain health conditions. But if you notice a change in their usual behavior, it would be good to isolate that cat and call a veterinarian. That way, even if there is a disease between them, you prevent it from spreading.
2. Food enrichment
Of course, these cats primarily feed on what they catch. But of course, in order to keep them in your environment, you also need to provide them with food. Your pets may enjoy kibble, with occasional treats, but barn cats need so much more when it comes to calories and nutrients.
You can enrich their food with raw or cooked meat, or learn more about how to use a bone broth for cats. By doing so, you supplement their hydration, which they need to maintain balance and focus. You can also add boiled eggs, tuna (in moderation), as well as pumpkin puree, or other fruits and vegetables that are safe for cats.
3. Provide them with shelter
It can be a box or a handmade house, a makeshift home, which will be their shelter if it’s raining or snowing outside. Usually, these cats do not have any problem with the weather, so it can be said that they enjoy the snow or when the sun is strong. But of course, sometimes they need to take shelter and feel at home.
Cats generally like small spaces where they can nest and feel safe from outside threats. So, if you provide them with a part of your yard or outside the room and turn it into a home for them, they will remain loyal to you. Although they are almost not interested in getting inside your home, they actually enjoy all that care and sometimes you may get purrs and cuddles as a sign of gratitude.
4. Spay and neuter
Cats breed uncontrollably. A cat can give birth to several kittens, including females and males, which will further grow and reproduce. As inhuman as it may sound, humans can take control of it. Spaying and neutering is the solution you need, but you can always rely on regular monthly therapy, especially if you want to stop it and allow it to multiply once every few years.
Kittens need extra care, sometimes mother cats reject them for various reasons, which is an additional expense for both money and time for you. So, think about how you can help them, whether with a permanent solution or with monthly therapy to control their hormones.
5. Love them as pets
Barn cats come in a variety of characters. Some will not want any contact with you and will just wait for you to put food to eat. Others will caress you and be attached to you. These animals deserve all the love in the world. Try to provide them with the best possible living conditions, because as we said, their average life expectancy is much shorter than with the pets we keep at home. We are sure that you are doing everything to improve the quality of their lives and that is really welcome, knowing how many careless animals there are on the streets.
Of course, the care brings material costs and responsibility, but surely your yard full of barn cats is much more beautiful than the one where no animal approaches. And even when the cat gives you love back – there is nothing better than that.
Barn cats take the best care of themselves, but they certainly will not refuse if you offer them extra food during the day or more care. And you will feel better when you do that, knowing that you are helping at least a few animals that would otherwise be out on the street. Your move is amazing and never wonder if you are doing the right thing, as there is nothing more humane than caring for feral cats and their basic survival needs.
And you are doing it great!