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Barn Cat Program
How It Works
The Caroline County Humane Society is pleased to announce their Barn Cat Placement Program. We are looking for cat lovers who have a barn or other secure outdoor structure that are interested in adopting cats that are not suitable for life inside of a house or are unhappy living inside. Cat temperaments range from feral to friendly.
This program is designed to find homes for cats that have traditionally been deemed un-adoptable through our “normal” adoption procedures. If you have a safe, warm barn and would like to adopt barn cats, please call or fill out and return a Barn Cat Application. Recommended reading: Safe Relocation of Feral Cats.
Barn cats benefit their caretakers! Supporting a barn cat is the safest way to control the rodent population in your barn. There are no poisons for children and pets to get into and no need to set nasty traps. They will help keep rodents away from grain and food storage areas, and you'll enjoy watching the cats as well as have the satisfaction of giving them a much-needed home! Consider adopting a barn cat. We will assist you while the cats settle into their new home.
Due to the nature of the program, we may not have suitable cats available immediately, but will try to fill your request as soon as possible. We will maintain a waiting list, as the number of cats available as candidates for the Barn Cat Program will fluctuate. Filling out an application is the first step to adopting. A CCHS staff member or volunteer will visit the proposed location to ensure it will provide suitable shelter. When we have Barn Cats for you, you will be asked to sign an Adoption Contract.
Cats that are placed into our Barn Cat Program fall under three main categories:
We will not place cats who are best suited to be house pets as barn cats and we won't place kittens under age 4 months as barn cats, unless they are feral/semi-feral without hope of becoming socialized. (This “may” be waived on a case by case basis.) A minimum of TWO cats must be placed at the same location at the same time. We will determine if the cats can peacefully co-exist prior to placement.
What Will You Provide?
What will CCHS provide?
What is the cost to the adopter?
The adoption fee for two fully vaccinated, spayed, neutered, eartipped cats is $100 (for both). This does not cover the cost of veterinary care that they have received, but does help to offset a portion of the costs. You are welcome to make a larger, tax-deductible donation if you would like.
Why two cats?
Alley Cat Allies recommends that at least two cats always be moved together. They should be cats who have formed a bond or at least get along with each other. The move will be less traumatic and adjustment to their new home easier if they have the security of one or more trusted companions.
Why do they have to be confined for the first 2-3 weeks?
How are the cats confined?
CCHS will provide the adopter with an extra-large dog crate, or with a large exercise pen covered with mesh wire. We will also provide a small, plastic crate that will be placed inside and to the back of the larger enclosure. This provides a hiding place for the cats. These items will be returned to CCHS at the end of the three week confinement period. The cats will be provided with: a litterbox, which need to be scooped or cleaned daily; dry food and fresh water at all times; and a portion of canned food every day. It is recommended that a portion of the cage/crate be covered with a sheet. This will allow the cats to feel more protected and “hidden”.
In winter, the small crate should be bedded with thick towels, or straw. Additionally, the caregiver may wish to place bales of straw around the enclosure to help maintain warmth for the confined cats. During spells of freezing weather, the caretaker must be sure to give fresh water throughout the day as the cat’s water becomes frozen. There are various devices available to keep water from freezing. We can provide sites where these can be purchased. In summer, proper ventilation is vital to prevent overheating. Cats can and do become overheated.
What happens after the confinement period?
It’s best to close all doors and windows in the barn, open the cage door in the evening, then leave. The cats will want to explore their new surroundings all night, as they are nocturnal. By morning they will have found good hiding places, although they may prefer the security of their cage. You can ease the transition by continuing to place their food and water in the cage for a few days with the door open. You will need to continue providing daily food and water after the cage is removed. Cats are territorial creatures. They will usually maintain a home base once their scent has been established, a continuous food source is provided, and they feel safe.
DO NOT RELEASE IF IT IS RAINING or the POTENTIAL FOR RAIN - Cats find their home by scent and rain will wash it away. Waiting one more day will not hurt. Leave the cages up for an additional five days, so the cats can get back in if they want. After the release, we hope they think of that barn as home and decide to stay.
What if the cats don’t like their new home?
They will like the regular food and water you provide (cats cannot live on mousing alone). They may even begin to show affection. The key to success will be your patience while they adapt to the sights, sounds and smells of their new surroundings. Continue to speak softly to them, try hand feeding treats, and leave a radio on to help them get used to human talking and singing.
Caroline County Humane Society, 407 West Bell Street, Ridgely, MD 21660 410-820-1600