How to Keep a Barn Cat

When the cat's away, the mice will play. This old adage is especially true in a barnyard situation. Most barns are outdoor homes built for larger farm animals, and where there are large animals, there are large sacks of grain, hay and sweet feed. This is the perfect environment for mice to live and prosper. Getting a barn cat can keep those unwanted rodents out of your feed, as well as add a warm, furry touch to your barn.

Things You'll Need

  • Cat dish
  • Cat food
  • Cat litter box
  • Cat litter
  • Litter box scoop
  • Old blanket


    • 1

      Pick a cat or kitten that is friendly. This will make your barn cat an animal you enjoy. If you're only interested in a mouser, you may pick the nastiest cat, or even a feral cat. A feral cat will be a good hunter, but won't give you much of a relationship. Visit your animal shelter online at, or Craig's List to find many available cats, sometimes for free.

    • 2

      Set up a dry, cozy area of the barn for your cat. Put a kitty litter tray in the corner, with cat sand in it. Put down a cat bed or folded blanket on which your cat can sleep. Put out a food and water dish. Your cat may enjoy sleeping on the hay, so you might consider arranging your cat area near the hay bales.

    • 3

      Bring your cat directly to the barn when she comes home. Set her down next to her food and water, so she sees where her area is. Avoid bringing in dogs or other animals for her to meet during this initial introduction to the barn. Spend some time playing with her as you do your chores--dragging a hay bale string across the floor can be fun for your cat to chase.

    • 4

      Introduce your cat to the other animals. Hold her up so the horses can smell her. Supervise whenever the dogs are around until they get used to one another. When you leave the barn to go back to your house, make sure the cat has access to the barnyard through a cat door or open barn door. This will help him learn to explore his outdoor area during the day.

    • 5

      During evening feeding, make sure to feed your cat. After your chores are done, you'll want to close up the barn, and shut her inside. This will keep her safe from outdoor predators like coyotes or hawks, and keep her supervising the barn for mice, which is the job you hired her to do.

Tips & Warnings

  • Clean your cat's litter box once a week.
  • Buy a collar and tag for your cat if he tends to wander during the day.
  • Spay or neuter your cat.
  • You may want to de-flea and worm a new cat.
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  • Photo Credit cat image by Krzysztof Kiercul from

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