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Author Topic: Feral cat rehoming - do they help?  (Read 4549 times)


  • Joined Aug 2018
Feral cat rehoming - do they help?
« on: September 20, 2019, 11:04:42 pm »
I keep thinking about rehoming a feral cat. I have an outbuilding or two they could choose from. I imagine the one holding the hay would be preferable. However when
I asked elsewhere for peopleís experience someone said they can cause sheep to abort. Iíve tried to research and this and not sure if this is only cats under a certain age. Can anyone verify? I donít want any abortions.
Also I have chickens - canít see
that a cat would go for a chicken? A chick or young bird, maybe.
From what Iíve read feral cats keep themselves to themselves? I have a dog - would it normally just avoid being seen out and about? I donít want them scrapping! (The cat would probably win...)
I seem to have a number of rodent holes and burrowed our trails in my fields, despite there being a number of birds of prey and foxes etc around. I thought a cat might help, as well as being able to give a cat that needs it a home. (I fill the holes in with dirt sometimes but they come back.)


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Feral cat rehoming - do they help?
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2019, 12:47:32 am »

What you are thinking of is toxoplasmosis, which cats catch from eating infected prey.  This can be passed on to humans and to sheep, and can cause abortion in both.   The problem with having feral cats in your barn is that they  :poo:  in the hay, which will infect sheep when they eat the hay.  You would need to be sure that you could keep your feral cat wormed regularly, or that it didn't have access to the hay.

"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

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Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Feral cat rehoming - do they help?
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2019, 12:44:05 pm »
My understanding is that toxo in cats, in relation to sheep, is only a problem when they are kittens not adult cats.
Rehoming a feral cat or cats will help by giving you a warm fuzzy feeling. THat's always nice.

My chum got two - Ronnie and Reggie. Big grey cats. After a year or so, they were in the house, sitting on your lap, along with their Persian housemate. Thye never lived inside - they had an armchair in the garage, but were lovely cats.

Terry T

  • Joined Sep 2014
  • Norfolk
Re: Feral cat rehoming - do they help?
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2019, 10:59:51 pm »
I rehomed a feral cat and was advised I needed to keep it caged for 6 wks before letting it out. I found it really hard and rather cruel. Unfortunately she only hung around for a couple of days after I let her out


  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Feral cat rehoming - do they help?
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2019, 08:27:09 am »
I have rehomed Semi-Feral cats several times and would again. I have had them from Cats Action Trust in carmarthenshire and the woman (Linda I think) was very helpful and set up the cages and advised on everything. They are tough cats and keep to themselves but if you feed at a cetain time of day in the same place I've always tamed them enough to stroke, but never pick up.

I have dogs who are not cat friendly so would only ever rehome adult cats.


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Feral cat rehoming - do they help?
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2019, 07:39:43 pm »
Our vet in Cumbria said that the risk of Toxo (which is the one that can cause ewes to abort) is highest in kittens (and, I think, the mother of the kittens) so recommended getting adult cats (already neutered).  But then keep them wormed as for any farm animal; there are other impacts on livestock of cat or dog poo, itís not just toxo.

And yes, itís the cat poo on the hay that gets to the sheep.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Feral cat rehoming - do they help?
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2019, 04:55:15 pm »
Our cat (rehomed as a stray a few years ago, already adult then and neutered male) has so far not used the hay as his toilet - and he spends the best part of the year sleeping on hay bales (either in the polytunnel or when we store them in the goathouse, where he lives and gets fed.

Also sheep become immune to toxo if they are exposed to it one year. I honestly wouldn't worry about it, as long as you get an adult neutered cat.
We kept ours in a goat pen, covered with mesh for a wee while (he also had an injury when he came, which kept getting infected as he kept licking it... so vet bills galore right at the start), and he lives in there now.

Unfortunately you will find that cats do not usually take on adult rats.... he does catch the odd young one, mostly it's voles. So I don't know how much pest control he actually is....


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