Monday, April 15, 2024

Do Barn Cats Need A Litter Box

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Make Sure Cats Have Fresh Water Every Day

How Do Cats Know How To Use a Litter Box

Put out fresh water every day, ideally twice a day. You need to be aware of how cold it’s going to get overnight, however, because water does freeze!

Here are a few tips to help avoid ending up with useless bowls of ice:

  • Fill bowls with hot or warm water to help stave off freezing.
  • Try to place the water where it won’t freeze. Put the bowl somewhere it will be at least partly protected from wind and will get at least some sunlight. You can also position it next to heat sources like grates and pipes.
  • Consider investing in a heated bowl. There are a number of great heated bowls out there, some of which plug into an electric power source, while others are solar powered.
  • If for budgetary reasons, you can’t see your way clear to buy a heated bowl, then you need to put out fresh, clean water in the same place and at the same time. The cats will learn your schedule and will come to drink the water at those times. Cats do like having routines.
  • If you end up using a non-heated bowl, it’s probably best to go for a thick, dark-colored one that is deep but has a small opening.
  • Another option is to go with silicone camping bowls. That way, if the water in them does end up freezing, the ice can be easily popped out and replaced with fresh water.

Use Heated Bowls for Water and Wet Food

Making sure outdoor and feral cats get enough to eat and drink is very important, and using heated bowls will help prevent water and wet food from freezing before the cats actually get to drink or eat them.

Pick The Right Type Of Litter

Research has shown that most cats prefer fine-grain litters, presumably because they have a softer feel.

When it comes to clumping or non-clumping litters, cats have their own preferences. Of course, you might prefer clumping for the ease of scooping.

In terms of clay litter versus litter made from other materials, some cats wont use a box that has corn- or wheat-based litter because it smells like food, Nagelschneider says.

Try out a few types to make sure you get the type of litter that your kitten prefers.

Litter box placement and availability can be a critical factor in encouraging your kitten to use the box.

Dont Hide the Litter Boxes

If the boxes are all in the same corner, they are effectively one big box, which can lead to trouble if your kitties don’t want to share.

Its tempting to put litter boxes in closets and corners because we don’t want them to be visible, but this should be avoided. Remember that cats also don’t like to feel cornered or trapped during toilet time.

Theyll also need some sort of light to see and find their boxes, so if theres no ambient light in the place where you keep the litter box, try using a night-light, Nagelschneider says.

Avoid Distractions

Set up your kittens litter box in an area that has few things to distract them from getting down to business.

Place Litter Boxes on Every Floor

The boxes should be spread out, with at least one on every floor of your home.

How To Train An Outdoor Cat To Use A Litter Box

This article was co-authored by Jessica Char. Jessica Char is a Cat and Dog Trainer, Behavior Consultant, and the Founder of Feline Engineering and Canine Engineering. She specializes in modifying challenging pet behavior problems, such as fear and aggression, using positive reinforcement training protocols. Jessica is a Certified Fear Free Trainer, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, and a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer. She is also a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Jessica received her BS and MS in Biomedical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis. This article has been viewed 45,226 times.

Does your cat need to learn how to use a litter box? Training it takes patience, but is possible to succeed.

Also Check: How Many Calories Per Day For Cat

How To Keep Outdoor Cats Warm In Winter: Extra Safety Tips

There are a few other important ways to keep your cat colony safe during the winter and not just by ensuring they are warm.

Stick to a Feeding Schedule

There are multiple reasons why you may wish to stick to a feeding schedule, but one of the most important applies to helping cats in winter. Cats can tell when its feeding time. They will show up on time to get their nummies. This is very useful if you want to feed wet food so it isnt left out to freeze.

Another reason for feeding schedules that is useful in winter is that because the cats will come to eat on a schedule. You can do a headcount to make sure no one is missing, see if any new cats show up, or if anyone in your colony isnt doing well.

Even if youre feeding 3 times a day instead of 2 like normal, do it at the same time each day. Unless you have a protected area like a garage or barn, I wouldnt leave dry food out all day. It will attract raccoons, opossums, foxes, rats and mice, coyotes and maybe hungry bears in winter.

If you really want to give the cats access to dry food all day, microchip feeders or automatic feeders might be a solution.

Dont Put Food Near the Cat Shelters

You do not want to put the cat food in or near the cat shelters. Cat food will attract wildlife like raccoons and cats will rarely sleep near where they eat, especially if there is leftover food to attract critters. Feed away from the shelters.

Check Your Shelters Regularly!
Check Your Car Engines!
Watch That Antifreeze

Tips For Barn Cat Success

Litter Box Farmhouse Style Credenza
  • Get kittens. Older cats may be more likely to leave and try to return to their former home.
  • The kittens should be from other farms. They are accustomed to living outside, and their mother has already taught them to hunt and eat rodents.
  • Although most shelters will not adopt a cat to anyone who says the cat will be kept outside, some feral cat programs might do so.
  • If you have a building or a stall where you can keep them locked up for a month, that will acclimate them to their new home so that they know where theyre fed. It will also give you a chance to watch them and be sure theyre healthy.
  • Get your cats spayed or neutered. If you have an intact female cat, she will stray when she is in heat, and she will attract males to your farm. If you have an intact male cat, he will go looking for girlfriends, and he will get into fights, which can wind up with one of the cats dead or nearly dead. Plus you will wind up with lots of kittens, and if a cat is having kittens twice a year, it will take a toll on her health. I make a point of always getting males because neutering usually costs about half as much as spaying.
  • Read Also: How Long Can Wet Cat Food Stay Out

    Build Or Buy A Cat Shelter

    The best way to keep your outside cat warm in winter is to have a safe place for it to sleep. A cat needs shelter during the long, cold winter nightsjust big enough for a cat , but not for a dog, raccoon, possum, skunk, or other outside creatures. Personally, I have a couple of different places set up for my outside cats.

    In one spot, I have an outside “closet.” There’s a small cat door for them to go in and out. The closet provides a good windbreak. Just cutting down the amount of wind makes a big difference in the temperature and comfort of the cats.

    Encourage Your Cat With Pheromones

    Artificial feline pheromones can help your cat feel confident and comfortable in their surroundings. If your cat smells feline pheromones around their new litter box, theyre far more likely to feel like the litter box is something familiar that they can feel happy using.

    Inside, you can use a calming diffuser, which needs to be plugged in, but you can also regularly spray the litter box itself with a pheromone spray.

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    Make The Litterbox Appealing

    Every house should have one litterbox per cat, plus one. Get two boxes for your new cat and place both boxes in locations that your cat likely is going to want to go: one by the door leading to outside where she would normally eliminate and one in a more private area. Some cats prefer litterboxes that are more hidden, so placing one behind a cat-safe plant or other barrier can help her feel more secure. In order to be sure your cat uses the box and not the plant as her bathroom, temporarily cover the plant’s soil with pieces of tin foil.

    Choose your litter carefully, too. While scented litter is appealing to us because it eliminates scents, for many cats, the scent can be offensive. Opt instead for unscented, clumping litter, which most cats prefer. Certain cats are extremely choosy in their substrate of choice. Experiment to discover your cat’s favorite litter by choosing a couple of different types, such as clumping and non-clumping versions. Put one option in each box and let your cat decide which she prefers. Donate the less preferred litter to your local shelter. If your outdoor cat is conditioned to use only a certain substrate, such as dirt, you can help her transition by mixing the litter with the outdoor substrate phase out the outdoor soil addition over time so that eventually she’s just using kitty litter in the box.

    Caring For Your Farm Cat

    How to Train Your Cat to Use a Litter Box (Petco)

    There is a myth that barn cats wont catch mice and rats if they are fed, Frances says. This is absolutely not true! Barn cats should be fed twice daily and have fresh water at all times. A heated water bowl must be provided in the winter. The cats should also have access to shelter, such as a tack room or hay loft or stall.

    Eldredge adds that feeding your cat nightly with canned food will draw the cat into the barn at night and help protect it from night predators such as coyotes, raccoons and owls.

    In addition to predators, barn cats are more susceptible to parasites and diseases. It is a good idea to deworm twice yearlyboth for roundworms and also tapeworms, Eldredge says. Make sure vaccines like rabies, feline leukemia and distemper are up to date. A topical flea and tick medication may be needed.

    Eldredge also recommends spaying or neutering your cat to deter wandering from your farm.

    Recommended Reading: Getting Mats Out Of Cats

    Prevention Of Litter Box Problems


    • The rule of thumb for the number of litter boxes is: one per cat in the household, plus one. Extra litter boxes are necessary because some cats like to defecate in one and urinate in another. Sometimes others will not use a box that has already been used by another cat. Different areas for the litter boxes can prevent location-avoidance problems. If space is an issue, try a Corner Litter Box from SmartCat.
    • Clean the litter boxes DAILY. The single most common reason for a cats refusal to use a litterbox is because the box is dirty. The box should be scooped daily, add fresh litter to top and keep depth of litter to about 3, and the litter changed and the box washed when soiled. The cheaper clumping litters that break-up easily and will need to be dumped more frequently as the non-clumping litters.
    • Choose a litter that appeals to the cat. Recommended litter SmartCat® Natural Clumping litter , also read on the Proper Usage of SmartCat® litter, most cats prefer the texture of the sand-like clumping litters. Be sure to select a brand with no dust, that clumps into a firm ball, making scooping easier and cleaner. As a health precaution for kittens that might be prone to ingest the litter, use a non-clumping litter until the kitten is under four months old.
    Secrets of Litter-Box Success
    Litter box Dos and Donts:

    Male Or Female Barn Cat

    I have both and in my opinion the female cats are WAY better hunters than the males. I also did a little research and this tends to be the norm. The boys are sweeter and tend to sleep a lot, lol. Calico and tortoise shell girls tend to be the best hunters. That is definitely true for our little Georgia.

    Orange tabbys tend to be males and are very sweet and affectionate like our Oscar. If a male is not neutered he might tend to run away to find a mate somewhere. So ensure theyre neutered and spayed. We have tried to catch our girl Sunny and have yet to spay her. We are on litter number 2 and they multiply quick. So do all you can to get them fixed. i am working on getting her fixed ASAP.

    If youre going to have barn cats i would recommend to get them spayed and neutered first thing.

    Oscar and Sunny

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    What If My Kitten Is Already Litter

    Should I retrain an already trained kitten? Yes, you should. Even when your kitten has been adequately litter-trained at the breeders, you should still take some time to retrain it. For one, unless youre continuing with the same litter, you should retrain it to get used to the new litter.

    Also, your new kitten, while already litter-trained, is likely already used to the litter box positions in its old home, and unless you teach it to use the new space, it can affect its littering habits. Training does not end at any particular age. Your kitten may still need refresher training and positive reinforcement, especially when its still getting used to the new home and the new litter box positions.

    How Does The Barn Owner Acclimate The Cat To Their Property

    21"  Starter Cat Condo and Litter Box Enclosure Door ...

    Shelter Me, Inc. recommends a 5-week acclimation period.

    For the majority of the barn cats we placed, Shelter Me, Inc. used a large acclimation cage that we purchased on Amazon, and when we were acclimating two cats often bought a smaller dog crate to connect to the front of the big cage where we placed the litter box, free-feeder for food and the water bowl.

    The extra cage gives the cat room to hide in the back when the barn owner cleans out the litter, adds food to the feeder and provides fresh water.

    The physical set-up of the barn is important because it determines where to place the cage .

    The main considerations are these The cats need to bond with the new environment they should be able to see people and farm animals coming and going from the barn. The cat need fresh air and light their cage should be next to a window or in a center aisle, or a busy tack room.

    What do the barns need to provide in the way of supplies?

    · Cat food dry is essential wet food is a bonus.

    · Most of the rescue people we know recommend Purina One for dry food and Friskies for wet if you are budget conscious.

    · Large water bowl.

    · Food bowls separate bowls for wet and dry are ideal.

    · Litter any kind.

    · Smallest litter pan you can buy.

    · Soft blanket or cat bed cats like soft places.

    · If the cat is feral, definitely a little house for them to hide in a small cat carrier can fit in the cage. It is also helpful to cover the top of the cage with a blanket.

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    Bringing Home A Barn Kitten

    Training a barn kitten so its use to being outside is a bit different than training a house cat so its an indoor/outdoor cat. The best way is to contain your kitten or cat in the barn or structure for a couple of weeks. If you have a free animal stall with tall walls, that might be the perfect place to keep your kitty. About the time it takes for the kitten to figure out how to get out of the stall, its probably ready to explore. If you dont have a stall or building that will contain the cat, put the cat in a large crate to contain it. This is a great diagram for setting up a crate.

    Provide a litter box. In this case you want to be sure to use non-clumping litter. Your cat wont be using a litter box once it has access to outdoors and the non-clumping, unscented litter best mimics the great outdoors where theyll be doing their business in the future.

    This is not the time to force a relationship with a skittish cat. The cat will bond with you when it realizes you provide food.

    How To Keep Mice Out Of Sheds And Barns

    Its a tale as old as time. Cats go with barns. Our hard working barn cats are essential as a natural way to get rid of mice. Not only do they keep mice at bay, they also use the rodents they catch as snacks and gifts! What a pleasant surprise to find as you head into the barn on a chilly morning. A few of our barn cats have been gifted to us and some have been sought out. When we lose a couple to old age or illness, we do adopt some new cats for the barn. Our barn cats are an integral part of homesteading today for us, but anyone interested in working cats should first research how to raise a barn cat.

    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 shouldnt feed them much because then they wont 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.

    You have the farm, or homestead, and the barn for your animals. Now you have added the barn cats or they have found their way to your barn on their own. How do you care for these somewhat independent felines so that they live healthy long lives?

    Spay or Neuter All Cats

    Veterinary Care


    Nutritional Needs

    To Collar or Not to Collar

    If losing your barn cat is a concern for you, microchipping, performed by a veterinary office might be a good alternative.

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