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What Is A Barn Cat?

The term “barn cat” can apply to any cat that helps keep a barn or other outdoor area vermin-free.   A "barn cat" is any community cat that is deemed to be not adoptable as an indoor pet. Most often the cats are feral, which means they were born and raised "in the wild" with little or no human contact. Others are hard strays, cats that were once domestic but reverted to unsocialized behavior after long periods of surviving outdoors on their own.

The best solution for feral cats is to spay/neuter them, vaccinate them and then return them to their original location where they will be fed and monitored under the watchful eye of a caregiver. Sometimes, however, it is not feasible to return them to the environment from which they came. This occurs when there is no caregiver, the environment is dangerous, or the neighbors do not want the cats around. Usually, these cats are not socialized and are not adoptable as pets.


Benefits of Keeping Barn Cats

  • They Make Great Friends – Barn cats are not necessarily great companions for the farmer, but they are often great companions to the other animals.
  • They Eat Bugs – This is definitely a reason to invest in keeping a barn cat (or two).  Bugs get into animal feed.  To help keep those bugs at a minimum, a barn cat will enjoy hunting and killing those pests.
  • They Make Great Exterminators – Mice and rats are notorious for destroying animal feeds.  With barn cats on the property, you will notice that your rodent population declines.
  • They Save You Money – While a barn cat will still need proper care (food, water and shelter), they will save you money too.  Each rodent and each bug they deter, becomes one less pest that is consuming your feed.
  • They Make the Barn a Happier Place – Cats have a way of making people happy.  They are peaceful and calm creatures.
  • They Are Low Maintenance – In general, barn cats are low maintenance animals.  They only require food, water and shelter for day-to-day living.
  •  You Give A Homeless Animal a Place to Live – Barn cats are usually strays that have nowhere else to live.  By giving them a place to live, you not only give them a home, but also a purpose.

All of GRI’s cats have been spay/neutered; tested for FIV/FeLV; dewormed; vaccinated and examined by a veterinarian.

GRI places barn cats for a nominal fee. Once placed, you need to provide warm, safe shelter; a dependable source of food; fresh water and occasional veterinarian care.

On large rural properties with barns, we recommend that you adopt multiple cats to ensure effective rodent control. Urban and suburban garage homes are ideal for one or two cats.

If you are planning to adopt barn cats, please read our  Preparing for Your New Barn Cats page.  Click here for our Barn Cat Adoption Application.


PO Box 257 •  Kilmarnock, VA 22482  •  (804) 480-2066 •  garfieldsrescue [ at ]