Index Home About Blog
From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.rural
Subject: Re: Feed outdoor/barn cat, but not raccoons?
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2005 21:07:37 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On 20 Jul 2005 14:02:53 -0700, "Mitich" <> wrote:

>Hi Folks,
>Although I'll never allow a cat in my house (Google "crystallized cat
>urine behind baseboards" and "disgusting previous owner"),

If you nut the kitten before puberty, that isn't a problem.  A
properly nutted male cat pees in one place only and that's the litter
box.  Anyway.

>I'm tempted
>to install an outdoor cat to patrol the lawn and garden for mole
>control and bird repelling.
>First, will this work?

Pretty much.  I keep a small herd of feral cats around my restaurant
for vermin control.  For that they work very well.  I don't know how
they'd work for mole control, as there is no unpaved land around here.
Hasn't worked very well at all for the birds.  They've learned to stay
off the ground.  Now they just sit on the power lines and crap on the

>Second, assuming Fluffy is more deterrent than hunter, I expect I'll
>have to provide food and water. How can I keep the local 'coons from
>joining in?

I've never fed mine.  They seem to catch enough of something to stay
reasonably fat.

>Finally, how would one acclimatize a kitten into an outdoor, barn-grade
>cat? As you might can tell, I'm not a "cat person", but I'd feel (a
>bit) bad if Fluffy came to a bad end unnecessarily.
>I have a house with sheltered areas (covered decks) and a barn in a
>forest clearing in the Pacific NW, if it matters.

Probably the best method is to trap (Hav-a-hart, etc) a pregnant
female feral cat, turn her loose on your property and let her calf.
She'll train 'em to hunt and to avoid people.

Second best is to go to the pound and pick out the wildest non-spayed
female you can find.  Turn her loose and wait for kittens.  If there
are no other cats in your area, get a male while you're at it.

You'll want breeders.  Cats are small critters and are pretty low on
the food chain.  All sorts of larger critters consider them to be nice
hor d'oeuvres.  Breeding will keep the stock replenished.  One thing
that will help the population is if you can provide some "hideyholes"
that the cats can get to but larger predators can't.  Storm drains
provide that shelter here.

There seems to be some sort of natural regulation at work here.  Maybe
it's fertility variations in response to the general nutrition.
Whatever, I notice that my feral cat population remains approximately
constant, despite the steady "turnover".  About the only thing that
really impacts the population is a raid by the animal control nazis.
Then I have to go to the trouble of "inoculating" the population all
over again.

Even though cats are born with hunting instincts, they are taught most
of what they know by their mothers.  A cat raised by a non-hunting
mother or by humans will hunt but won't be all that successful.


Index Home About Blog