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I apologize in advance, I am new to country living, only been at it full time for about 8 months now.

So I go out last night for a "necessary" about 2am. No external lights on, but there is a full moon. I see a black cat run out from under the house, and hide under the trailer. I get the flashlight and look under the trailer, sure enough, an adult cat, no visible collar or anything.

I have 4 neighbors within about a 1/2 mile radius, and I don't know specifically if they have cats.

I sat there thinking perhaps I'd like to have him (her?) hang around. It's a little lonely out there, and I wouldn't mind having a familiar animal around, even though I know they're not cuddly. Basically something I can set some food out for, but I'll know if I miss a day, he'd be okay, just go grab a squirrel or a bird or something.

How could I set food out so that only he would get to it and not the raccoons?

Maybe I'm being unrealistic, though. Lots of things occur to me:
  • Would the thing become domesticated and dependent, like a "you -feed-it-you-own-it" kind of thing?
  • Ethically I would probably need to trap it and get it fixed, I suppose.
  • If it's a female am I going to have nests/kittens/cat poop/cat whiz everywhere?
  • Maybe also it'd better just to leave it be and make the decision to have an actual pet and commit to the whole care/feeding/expense thing.
  • Or maybe I'm just overthinking it. Just set some little friskies out and see what happens. Worst case, he gets a good meal.
 

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I have been adopted dozens of times in my life. I currently have 12 who were strays. One took a year to tame and he is the most loving and affectionate cats going, to everybody. I think strays generally are wonderful pets. Fix them absolutely. Kittens sometimes are part of the deal, they get fixed, too. My barn kitties have lots of food, shut in at night, hunt, love their people and are slick and healthy. Well worth it.
 

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I live in the country too and have been out here for thirty years. Over that time there has been a parade of cats, mostly long lived once they got here. There are four cats now, down from a high of seven two years ago and they were once all strays that just showed up. Some were easier to tame than others and one acted like he owned the place.

If you're not going to try to run it off, you do have some decisions to make. The main one is getting the cat spayed or neutered, especially if it's a female. If it is female, you will have males coming around to "visit" and I guarantee you will have kittens eventually. Females can first go into heat when around 9 months old. Having a male cat fixed is a courtesy to the rest of your area in helping keep the feral population down. And it will tame down easier.

If you're having the cat fixed, have it tested for feline leukemia while it's at the vet and if it is positive, it would be a favor to the cat to have it put down. Some might dispute that but I've been through that problem and you sure don't want the cat to spread it among other felines in the area.

Cats most always dig a hole and cover the poop but males will spray to mark territory. I've even known female cats get into whizzing contests but not very often. :xeye:

If you decide to befriend and feed the cat, please don't unless you want to have a forever cat. It will take time and patience to get the cat to trust you and there's no guarantee it will ever happen. Every cat's different, shaped by its previous experiences with humans. And it will be fine with as much or as little interaction with you as you allow.

By setting out a little dry food, about as much as it will eat in one sitting so there's nothing left for other critters to eat. You might find more possums than ***** attracted to leftovers! I've never seen a **** eat leftovers but the possums sure will. The cats don't seem to mind.

Eventually you will notice the cat will be waiting for you the same time and place every day or twice a day. It's uncanny how they know exactly what time breakfast or supper is! After a while, try setting down the bowl and then go quietly sit in a chair about 10' away and just watch. Eventually you can keep moving the chair closer until maybe you'll have a lucky day when the cat comes over to nudge you and break the ice.

At minimum the cat will need it's shots, both rabies and feline leukemia. Sometimes you can find free shots being given at a Tractor Supply, or elsewhere in the community.

Cats are great companions. They're pretty independent and like attention on their terms. You don't have to walk a cat and if you go away for a few days and just leave enough food out for it, it won't mind. When you come back it won't jump all over you but look at you as if to say, "Well, I see you're back." Mine even act as watch cats. If there's something amiss outside, someone coming up the drive or walking along the road they'll come flying in through the cat door.

Just be honest with yourself about your decisions for this cat. Maybe check with the neighbors to see if one of them owns the cat or if it's a stray and you just happen to be in it's wandering territory. Good luck and let us know what happens! :)
 

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Cats were not a high priority when we moved here. Then rodents chewed the electrical wiring out of my jeep, the wifes pickup, my atv, and two tractors.
We searched and found (3) female kittens who were trained by the mother to hunt. Two survived and had (5) kittens each.
They were raised with a climbing tree, and we placed their food five ft off the floor.
Now we have 12 cats that climb and hunt, and two sleep on the seat of my atv.
The rodents were exterminated and the snakes left.
Just finnished getting the females fixed. My cat vet/food bill is lower than the car repair bill.
 

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I apologize in advance, I am new to country living, only been at it full time for about 8 months now.

So I go out last night for a "necessary" about 2am. No external lights on, but there is a full moon. I see a black cat run out from under the house, and hide under the trailer. I get the flashlight and look under the trailer, sure enough, an adult cat, no visible collar or anything.

I have 4 neighbors within about a 1/2 mile radius, and I don't know specifically if they have cats.

I sat there thinking perhaps I'd like to have him (her?) hang around. It's a little lonely out there, and I wouldn't mind having a familiar animal around, even though I know they're not cuddly. Basically something I can set some food out for, but I'll know if I miss a day, he'd be okay, just go grab a squirrel or a bird or something.

How could I set food out so that only he would get to it and not the raccoons?

Maybe I'm being unrealistic, though. Lots of things occur to me:
  • Would the thing become domesticated and dependent, like a "you -feed-it-you-own-it" kind of thing?
  • Ethically I would probably need to trap it and get it fixed, I suppose.
  • If it's a female am I going to have nests/kittens/cat poop/cat whiz everywhere?
  • Maybe also it'd better just to leave it be and make the decision to have an actual pet and commit to the whole care/feeding/expense thing.
  • Or maybe I'm just overthinking it. Just set some little friskies out and see what happens. Worst case, he gets a good meal.
You would have to kill the *****
 

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Cats are a blessing on a ranch. they keep the rodents down. I have a feral cat in my barn along with two rescues. I feed the rescues, the feral runs when it sees me. When I brought the rescues home they left a mouse, or rat, or squirrel every morning by the feed dish. this went on for several months. I picked up a few more feral cats but they took off. Feed the cats some dry food once in a while. As stated above, you have to kill ***** yourself. And do it quickly so they don't reproduce
 

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My Uncle Arliss would always keep a stray around the barn to keep mice and rats out of the tack room. Liked having the pest control, not so much the spraying.

If a new one showed up, and was a Tom, he'd take a boot off and grab it. Stuff the head of the cat down into the boot, and take his fence pliers and *pop!* fix the cat right there... shake the boot out and that cat would run.
Saw him do it. Kind of old school, but that was his way.

Having a non house cat around your barn or shed is a good idea IMHO. Put a little food out by where you want it to focus. Not too much, want to keep it hungry. Better to give it meat scraps so it's not used to dry. Maybe give it a little space where it can sleep.
 

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put the food out on an elevated surface something elevated cantilevered off a shear wall spend a lot of time on the porch the cat will eventually associate you with food.

catch it in a live trap take it and get it fixed there are a lot of places that have organizations that will do it for free or reduced fee.
 

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I use ***** and possums to dispose of leftovers. It's the easy way to make a turkey or rotissary chicken carcass disappear. However I have to crack eggs for them.
 

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My in-laws own a farm but one summer my FIL killed the barn cats, apparenly because he doent like cats. Well, my response was blunt, caustic and predictive (which infuriated him). By the next year, thier farm was over run with rodents, thier garden was decimated before anything was ready for harvest and everything chewable was well chewed. A total disaster. The year after that they hard four barn cats who were barely socialized but were quite blood thirsty. The rodent problem disappeared.

Feed the cat. Fix the females, they are the killers and kitten factories. Rural properties work better with cats in residence.
 

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I root for eagles, owls, foxes, coyotes, cougars and wolves. Not many stray cats and small yap dogs last long around here.

My wolf dogs were better than any cat as mousers. They could hunt them in 5 feet of crusted over snow.
 

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I root for eagles, owls, foxes, coyotes, cougars and wolves. Not many stray cats and small yap dogs last long around here.

My wolf dogs were better than any cat as mousers. They could hunt them in 5 feet of crusted over snow.
Not 5’ but my Dane does the same. Tracks down moles in their burrows too. Neighbor has a bunch of cats that sneek into my barn.
 

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Don't feed the cat, he's already around. I just inherited my family's farm and there's a feral cat here. I know he eats mice so I haven't shot him. We both come out ahead.
 

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Just feed the cat and consider yourself to be a very fortunate person to have been chosen by such a superior creature. Kitties make life better and they are fascinating creatures. I have three formerly feral cats currently and all three have become very affectionate, love being inside and sleeping in my bed. Spay/neuter and all will be good. BTW, it's kitten season.
 

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I love my strays! I put food out for them in my garage, so the city AC officer is less likely to notice, and I've developed a regular following. I also have a security camera out there so I can see if a rat shows up, along with some snap traps of course. I take the food in every morning to discourage daytime freeloaders. And I haven't seen a rat for quite ahwile :D:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
OK, it's decided ... Let's befriend us a cat!

Seems like more votes were for feeding it a little bit, so I think that's what I'll try first. A good friend of mine said to leave the food in the daytime, she has less raccoon problems that way.

Bought a box of dry cat food from the gas station this morning. I like the idea of the platform coming out of the wall. I think I'll screw down a plastic bowl onto a 2x6 and leave it about a foot off the ground at first, to get the cat's attention, then raise it. Seems like I've read that raccoons are not as good of jumpers as cats are.
 

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Don’t forget a clean water dish or two.

Find where you can get/borrow a live trap — call local animal control and/or vet.

Call vet and find out about their feral cat policy and today’s times. They may have shorter hours, do non-emergency surgery on just one day, etc. Get prices for sterilization, leukemia test, 3 year rabie shot and whatever other shots.

Leave life trap sitting around outside. Live trap with a spoonful of canned cat food. Don’t sent trap. When you set it, you might catch some other critter — figure out what you will do then.


*****

Note to all of us in rural/farm areas. It is traditional for ‘people’ to dump cats/dogs because
‘Farmers always have room for More animals’. With the present economic situation I suspect people will be driving around to give fluffy/Fido a nice new home.
 

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