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Breeds of Cats for Outdoors

 
A. Soto
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Location: FL
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After doing some research on cats and how they were employed to keep pest populations down way back in time, I'm beginning to think that they are more useful than the lap ornament I made them out to be. I apologize to cats for my ignorance.

I believe that they could have a place on my future homestead, which I intend to implement with permaculture influences. Preferably, the human residence itself would be situated in a clearing or at the foot of a forest, with all the rest of the farm attributes(Chickens, Cattle, Garden, etc. enclosures) closeby.

Assuming I am able to teach these cats how to catch mice and introduce them to other viable prey, what kinds of breeds do you recommend, or would many breeds effectively carry out the task?
Thank you!
 
Kyle Mays
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Location: Eastern Panhandle West Virginia
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In my opinion domestic cats should be kept indoors. If you can keep them in a barn fine, but outdoor cats kill more than just "pests". You will lose songbirds and many other beneficial animals to an outdoor cat.
 
A. Soto
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Is it possible to keep them out of certain areas? That might relieve said problem. I don't need them in the garden as I intend to employ frogs to annihilate the pest bugs. Can I fence them in around the house? Not 100% free roam.
 
Ann Torrence
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It's absurd, but we use a house cat on a tether. Short story *taught as a kitten on a big city street to tolerate a dog harness for outdoor privileges. We moved to a rural area. Cat wants out, too ignorant to be trusted. Goes where we want the voles and mice controlled on a tether or zipline. We actually mow the orchard in a pattern to concentrate the voles in autumn, tether the cat out there for a few days, resulting in a decimated population going into winter. He got 11 in one weekend. We are working him in the hoophouse this winter, and fenced garden/woodpile interface as snow permits. He loves his job. Cat has taken a bluebird or two. My responsibility is to install more bluebird habitat and keep the hummingbird feeders full to make up for it. You will probably have to worm a working cat.

The prey drive is pretty instinctive, I don't think you need to worry about training or breeds. Get a free kitten from the neighbors before they drown it. Do need to watch out for dogs, coyotes and raccoons. Best to feed it inside, if you want a part-time pet, neighborhood feral cats will spread viruses through food.

*Longer version: city cat who is over-trusting, everyone is his pal, thinks a llama is valid prey, and no respect for neighbors' roaming dogs. Our ranching neighbors think we are nuts, which we are about this cat. Cat is DH's beloved pet. Cannot risk losing him now. We also taught him to tolerate car rides by first taking him on ice cream runs. Our next cats will be barn kittens that will have some field sense, but this one doesn't. He's a diligent worker even so. His sister, not so much, didn't like to get her paws dirty. Get a farm kitten raised on prey by a working mama cat. Get two at the same time, if they will ever spend time without humans indoors. They act like they hate each other, until they need each other.
 
Johnny Niamert
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The shelter in my area actually adopts out 'barn cats'.

Cats which are too aggressive to be good house cats get spayed or neutered, then are offered as outside only barn animals.
Better than the needle.
 
David Livingston
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Best breed of cat for out doors ?
Obvious Tigers . Happy in the snow keep down all sorts of unwanted pests even chase away people from the department of sad .
Anything smaller will decimate your local small bird population .
If you want to control voles etc encourage Owls build owl nest boxes for instance

David
 
John Elliott
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At one time, I had a Maine Coon cat. Sampson was a huge beast -- 25 pounds....or more. When he sat on my lap, it was like I was holding a suitcase. He wasn't too interested in songbirds, but he was murder on the squirrel population. Every so often there would be a few squirrel remnants on the back deck. I wish I had him now to take care of the marauding squirrels I am plagued with.
 
A. Soto
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David Livingston wrote:Best breed of cat for out doors ?
Obvious Tigers . Happy in the snow keep down all sorts of unwanted pests even chase away people from the department of sad .
Anything smaller will decimate your local small bird population .
If you want to control voles etc encourage Owls build owl nest boxes for instance

David


I'm not sure if it's a good idea to promote any birds of prey in an area where I keep relatively free-roam chickens... :/

And uhh.... not sure if I want to take my chances with a tiger lol
 
amanda boyce
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Hi! As a girl who has had many, many cats all my life, let me tell you that they either hunt or they don't. It's not something that you can train them to do. I have found that females, on the whole, are better hunters and more motivated to do so. I think this is leftover from being lions where the women do the hunting.
Male cats, once they are fixed, seem to lose all ambition to hunt as well as a lot of their self preservation instinct.
As far as breeds go, it is very difficult to find a cat true to breed anymore unless you want to pay big $$ and go with a rwgistere breeder.
We live in the city with a rather large stray cat population, and it gets very cold here in winter (30 below is pretty normal). There are at least two out there that have "lived off the grid" for upwards of seven years, they look a little rough but they are healthy and never miss breakfast!
 
Su Ba
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In my experience, it's not the breed that matters when it comes to hunting capability, but the individual cat. That being said, some breeds are not designed for the outdoors, such as the long haired heavy coated breeds like the Persian and Ragdoll.

I have a 20 acre homestead farm that uses cats for rat control. Living next to a macnut farm, rats are a fact of life. But they drive me crazy when they get into the house, barn, equipment, greenhouse, etc. They can do a lot, lot, lot of damage. After trying a number of rat control ideas, the cats turned out to be the best solution although I still use the battery operated rat traps in the tool shed.

Over a period of a few years, I added cats here and there. I currently have 8 and that group is working out. Out of the 8 cats, two neutered males are active ratters. Another neutered male is capable of nailing rats, but has inconsistent interest. A spayed female wants to be a ratter but has terrible eyesight and can't see a rat unless it is within 4-5 feet. She needs glasses! Another spayed female is good at the chase but not the catching. The rest are freeloaders. Until he died, we had another neutered male that was an incredible hunter. He was the only one in the group that was also good at catching birds. About once a week he'd bring a Zebra Dove or a Japanese White Eye into the house.

Our cats have free access to come and go into the house. Some prefer indoors, others outdoors. I accept the fact that outdoor cats on average have shorter lifespans, but I allow my cats to choose their own lives.

Contrary to the high figures of bird kills that cat haters tend to quote, I haven't found that my own cats kill much in the way of birds. Other than the one cat who killed about 50 birds a year, my other cats stalk birds but have not managed to develop a successful technique for nailing them. In the past ten years, perhaps they've managed to kill a dozen, if that. I never bothered to inhibit Harry from taking his weekly bird since the doves and white eyes are in over abundance here and steal my grain crop. But if I were concerned, then I'd mostly bell the cat.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Su Ba wrote:Our cats have free access to come and go into the house. Some prefer indoors, others outdoors. I accept the fact that outdoor cats on average have shorter lifespans, but I allow my cats to choose their own lives.


Mine too and me too!
 
David Livingston
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Well a Barn Owl is not going to eat a chicken and young chicks dont tend to be out late at night but they will make a hell of a dent in a vole population
See here http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/outdoor-recreation/woodworking/build-barn-owl-nest-box

David
 
wayne stephen
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I recommend a barn cat . No particular breed .
 
dawn shears
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Why not adopt a local feral cat colony as barn/farm cats? People here have done that at the local community garden. It's a win/win solution.

There are a number of non-profits that have information on how to work safely with feral colonies and when and how to relocate them. Here is one: Alleycat.org
 
Kelly Smith
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Johnny Niamert wrote:The shelter in my area actually adopts out 'barn cats'.

Cats which are too aggressive to be good house cats get spayed or neutered, then are offered as outside only barn animals.
Better than the needle.


care to PM me where/which shelter has them? assuming full clawed and outdoor aware, along the frontrange.
we are looking to get a pair of barn cats, and i didnt realize shelters adopted barn cats out.


we have a cat deficiency (vole problem)
 
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