A straight forward list but I liked what was posted about feeding the outdoor cats. I used to treat my outdoor cats to liver from the grocery store. Not too often and bring enough so they aren’t sharing (chicken livers worked best). Generally, I gave them a can of cat food each day. Sometimes there was left over meat from dinner or cooking. I never gave them bacon grease, that would probably make them sick. But, meat we boiled for soup, scraps we cut off from steaks and so on, gave the cats that little extra. They were never fat house cats but always healthy and we never had mice in the house as long as we had cats around. (I can’t say the same about skunks though. For some reason my cats became friends with the skunks. Really, not being sarcastic about that).
- Spay and neuter. Outdoor cats can have 2 litters of kittens each year. Don’t let it happen and end up with too many cats.
- Vaccinations at the Vet.
- Space in the barn for shelter on really cold days. (If they choose to use it).
- Don’t collar them. Collars can get caught on things.
- Keep track of their comings and goings (so you notice if they go missing).
Since they work so hard, our barn cats deserve to be treated like other high-performing work animals. I have heard people state opinions about how you shouldn’t feed them much because then they won’t be hungry enough to chase their own dinner! Nonsense! If you want an animal to perform work for you, then you should feed it adequate nutrition so it has the energy and stamina to perform.
Cats need a diet that contains quality protein. Living outside, chasing rodents, eating rodents, running from the big dogs, all these activities require strong bodies and lots of energy. Cats are carnivores. They only eat meat. Cats do not need vegetables, sweets, or grain fillers. Cats often do not drink enough water. Feeding the canned cat food in addition to the dry, increases their water intake. In the winter, when bringing warm water to your backyard chickens and dairy goats, make sure you save some for the cats, too. I know my barn cats enjoy a warm drink of water on a freezing cold morning.
Try to give the cats a place to eat where they won’t be chased off by livestock entering the barn, or in our case the dog trying to “share” the dinner. We put shelves up in the barn that the cats can access, and we feed the cats on the shelves.
Source: Countryside Daily – How to Raise a Barn Cat Right