Barn Cat Program

Carson Cats' Barn Cat Program gives an opportunity for those cats that are not able to be tamed to live out their lives in your backyard.  These cats provide a great service as they are a natural deterrent to rats and mice and also a great solution for people who love cats but cannot have them indoors due to allergies.  Please email us at info@carsoncats.com if you are interested in adopting. 

Our Barn Cat Program is designed to find homes in barns, warehouses, farms and other safe locations for cats that have traditionally been deemed un-adoptable through “normal” adoption programs; Formerly outdoor, or indoor/outdoor, semi-social or semi-feral cats that are not suitable for adoption into family homes. We strongly recommend having 2 or more barn cats because they keep each other company and can huddle together for warmth in cold weather. 

When you adopt a cat through our barn cat program, the cat will be:

  • Spayed or neutered

  • Up-to-date on vaccines

  • Tested for common feline diseases

  • Treated for worms and fleas

  • Ear-tipped

  • Microchipped


The barn owner who adopts a cat through our barn cat program should be prepared to provide:

  • Shelter in a barn, outbuilding, or stable, away from high traffic streets with enough hiding places to keep away from predators

  • The Shelter should be warm enough in the winter so the cats are not freezing. If you don’t have a barn that is warm enough, you must provide an insulated home for the cats.  See additional handout for instructions.

  • Daily food and water

  • Litter box and litter

  • Long-term veterinary care, as needed

  • A secure place to keep the cat for the first few weeks, while the cat acclimates to your barn.  This can be a tack room or an indoor enclosure that they cannot escape from.  A large crate works well. If you do not have a large crate, you can borrow one from Carson Cats Rescue   

Acclimating your new cat
Your barn cat must be confined in a large crate or indoor enclosure for several weeks. Confinement is essential and critical to successful relocation. Confinement in a large, spacious, enclosure from top to bottom, lets the cats adjust to the environment in safety and accept it as their new home. If cats are set free upon arrival, they will attempt to return to their former home and will likely be lost. The cats may try to find a way out the first day or two, but will settle down once they realize they’re safe. Successful confinement periods range from 3 to 4 weeks. A long confinement period, such as three to four months, is unnecessary and can be harmful to the cats and to the relocation project.

  • Place the cat in a large cage or kennel within the building they will be calling home.  Give the cat a small towel lined carrier with the door held open with a small bungee cord, food and water, and a litter box.  Clay litter is better than clumping in this environment, as clumping litter can get wet or in the water bowl, making a sticky mess that is more difficult to clean up.

  • Clean the litter box and give fresh food and water daily. This can easily be done by closing the cat inside the carrier (the one you have bungeed open) to keep the cat safe while you are tending to its needs. Providing appealing canned food during confinement helps cats to accept their new home.

  • If you are unable to provide a small carrier for the cat to hide, you can use a small box with bedding.

  • The cats being relocated are usually feral (wild). They fear people and are more afraid of you than you will be of them. Expect to be hissed at, spit at, and lunged at when you are close to their holding crate or opening the crate. It's their nature and they should not be scolded or yelled at for it. The cats will often sense your emotions and can tell if you get angry with them. Always, ALWAYS, talk to them in a gentle and soothing voice.

  • New caretakers should make contact with the cats daily by talking to them or by playing a radio softly so that they get used to human voices. Usually those people who make the effort to communicate with the cats will have the most successful relocations. Leaving out food in their presence while talking to them with a calm voice reassures them that you are not a threat. You do not have to give them the food directly, just let them see you leave it for them if possible.

  • Newspapers are good for keeping the confinement cage from getting too dirty. Sections of newspaper can be placed around the box in the crate without disturbing the cat too much (they will mostly crouch down in their box to hide) and the newspaper can then be pulled out and replaced as needed.

  • If a cat does escape, set food and water out and sprinkle their used litter (for scent) around the barn. Cats often hide for a period of time but will often stay on the premises. Leave them plenty of food and water to prevent them from leaving in search of food.

  • After 4 weeks, you can open the cage door. Food and water should be kept both inside and outside of the cage. Once the cat leaves, he/she may never want to go back into the cage.

  • After two more weeks, the cat should be comfortable in the new home and the cage and supplies can be taken away.

  • Caring for your barn cat is as easy as providing fresh food and water daily. Some barn cat caregivers keep litter pans inside their barns, but often are rarely used. Never rely on outdoor cats to sustain themselves on rodents alone, they need a nutrient rich diet to sustain a healthy life.

Example of how you would set up relocation cage set up for our barn cats (we can supply the cage and litter box if needed). 

© 2020 by Carson Cats Rescue

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