Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: could we have cats?  (Read 4815 times)

zoe_emma

  • Joined Apr 2013
could we have cats?
« on: May 25, 2013, 09:43:19 am »
I have never kept cats before- I have always been more of a dog person!

We live on a farm, but the barns etc are used by our landlord, we rent the house and our little bit of land. We are on a busy road, and we have two dogs.

The dogs wouldn't bother me, one because we would want outdoor cats for catching mice etc and two because one dog is blind and the other is a geriatric ex racing greyhound who doesn't get off the sofa other than to eat drink and poo. He has met cats at the vets and wasn't interested.

There are owls in the barn, and the landlord has said he puts rat poison down - so surely this would mean no to cats straight away? I know dogs would eat it but are cats cleverer than that?

I think I already know the answer but wanted to ask the question anyway, you are a very knowledgeable bunch

lachlanandmarcus

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: could we have cats?
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2013, 09:53:20 am »
I would get snap traps baited with choc raisins for the mice. The combo of the risks to the cats from the poison (not so much eating the bait as eating the things that ate it) and the road plus the impact on the wildlife would tip the balance against IMO ....

little blue

  • Joined Jun 2009
  • Derbyshire
Re: could we have cats?
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2013, 09:53:53 am »
yes!

(I am only a couple of cats short of being a crazy cat lady, so you must make your own judgement on my opinion!)

we have 4 cats - two pretty much pets, come in at night, catch the odd rodent & frogs (!) and two brothers who are "farm cats" from a more feral background who spend every night (in good weather at least) reducing the rodent population.

definitely get two  litter mates together, and don't mollycoddle them too much - ours were kept outdoors in a (big!) shed, then a kind of chicken arc so they could look out at their new territory until we felt they were big enough to be let loose!  they come indoors now, and are both really soppy in their own way, but still have the killer instinct and more road sense in one paw than the ex-stray has in his whole, stumpy-tailed body!!

rat poison will damage cats, they are generally clever but will of course kill and eat rats that have it in their bodies  -  speak to your landlord and say you want cats to rat catch - see of you can persuade him its better than poison

 :cat:
Little Blue

Ina

  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Aberdeenshire
Re: could we have cats?
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2013, 10:36:42 am »
I wouldn't want to live without my cat - and it's one reason why I also would never live close to a busy road. And I've seen friends lose a cat from rat poison; not nice. The landlord might, of course, be willing to change his habits, but the road won't go away. Some cats are clever that way, but you won't know until one of them has been killed...

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: could we have cats?
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2013, 10:42:22 am »
Cats and busy roads don't mix.  You will have to have a lot of cats before you get any that get past two years old, IME. 

If you have owls nesting in the barn, you don't need any other mouser, the owls will control the mouse population.

Cats compete with barn owls for prey.  If the barn owls nest in your barn, cats could well stop them being able to find enough food to rear a brood.  So if you do establish cats, you may find that the barn owls winter with you but move out from Feb onwards to go rear their brood elsewhere.  (Ask me how I know.) 

I've never known a cat eat a rat, although I've had cats that were good ratters.  They'd eat mice, birds, voles, but never rats and never shrews.  I think they don't eat moles, either.  I've had cats that hunt on and near farms where rats were poisoned and I've never had a cat poisoned - although I confess I do always worry that it will happen.

Why were you wanting cats?
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 cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

fifixx

  • Joined Mar 2010
  • Shillingstone, Dorset
    • Bere Marsh Farm
Re: could we have cats?
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2013, 10:53:51 am »
Keep the cats in at night, then the baby birds at this time of the year will be safer.  Our neighbour has 3 cats and one is out hunting ALL THE TIME - I find dead goldfinches, swallows, rabbits - in my garden, yard and on the farm.  I try to put up with it as it is a good mouser in the winter. 

zoe_emma

  • Joined Apr 2013
Re: could we have cats?
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2013, 11:22:50 am »
Thanks everyone.

Sally the mice were the main reason, but also I do like cats I have just never been in a position to think about having them before.

The owls seem to stay away from the house and I have seen quite a few mice around. I never thought about the cats competing with them for food.

I think the road would worry me too much. It's not THAT busy but it is a 60mph limit and it only take  one car. I think for now it's best to leave it. I would like cats and it would be a great place for them to live were it not for the issues I mentioned.

Thanks for being a good sounding board folks!

plumseverywhere

  • Joined Apr 2013
  • Worcestershire
    • Its Baaath Time
    • Facebook
Re: could we have cats?
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2013, 05:47:30 pm »
We are on a 40mph road and have had 3 of our 4 cats killed. The last was hit in front of my 4 small children who then saw several cars go over him, he was 13 and a much loved pet and mouser.
We still have 'snowball', we went through a lot of deliberating as to whether she should be rehomed etc and came to a conclusion that we would keep her and shut her in at night to reduce the risk on the road.

13 cats killed in 2 years between a few houses. cats and busy roads don't mix.

we've had blue tits brought in dead the past few days which is horrible but part of what cats do! On the plus side, she is a brilliant ratter and a very loving, affectionate house pet.
Smallholding in Worcestershire, making goats milk soap for www.itsbaaathtime.com and mum to 4 girls,  goats, sheep, chickens, dog, cat and garden snails...

Raine

  • Joined May 2011
  • Lincoln
Re: could we have cats?
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2013, 02:51:20 pm »
 :wave:


We are lucky as we moved away from a busy road into a cul de sac in October.  I hated nights when our old cat would refuse to come back in!


We have a 13 year old tabby and an 8 month old black terror.  Our little terror has just learnt to hunt and brought me a live and un-injured adult sparrow this afternoon!!  He is a love bug as well as a terror and likes nothing more than snuggling up when he can.


Just hoping he progresses onto killing mice and rats soon.


jaykay

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: could we have cats?
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2013, 07:41:42 pm »
I am on a very small B road, but unfortunately they go very fast past my house.

I lost three young cats on the road, got together as rescue kittens -  none made their 2nd birthday. So the two new kittens, rescued to keep the last cat company, who were still too young to go out when the last cat died, have become indoor cats.

I'd far rather they could go out but until b$€#%¥ idiots start driving at a speed commensurate with their brain functioning (which would be very slowly in many cases), the cats will have to stay in.

When I voiced my guilt about this to some American friends, they pointed out that all their cats have to live indoors as coyotes and other big critters would eat them.

The house is big, there are plenty of mice indoors to keep them busy - they seem ok.

Beewyched

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • South Wales
    • tunkeyherd.co.uk
Re: could we have cats?
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2013, 08:43:42 am »
We were concerned about how our 2 farm cats would manage moving back down with us to "civilisation" having been brought-up on a small-holding with no neighbours for over half a mile away - we had even thought about re-homing them with our farmer landlord.
 
They seem to have taken to it really well (but then traffic can't pass here over 30mph due to the road layout).
 
Does your landlord know that you have resident owls?  Just a wee bit concerned about the rat poison  ???
Tunkey Herd - registered Kune Kune & rare breed poultry - www.tunkeyherdkunekune.com

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Re: could we have cats?
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2013, 10:32:57 am »
Is it not more sensible to let cats out at night and take them inside during the day - traffic is far less at night, cats can see better than humans at night.  My Rio walks teh railway metal tracks, but I reckon he'll feel the vibrations quicker than he'll see the train.  And he stays away from the bypass.  That said I'm not sure I'd get another one when he goes, he's a pretty wily lad, and he had a minor contretemps across in the estate when we first moved in here, so hopefully is now savvy with cars.
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

plumseverywhere

  • Joined Apr 2013
  • Worcestershire
    • Its Baaath Time
    • Facebook
Re: could we have cats?
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2013, 12:38:38 pm »
3 of mine have been run over - 2 at night, 1 during the morning rush hour. The 2 killed at night were black (as were the neighbours 2) they say that male cat (even neutered, ) are more likely to be hit. That was true too - out of the 5 I've mentioned - all 5 were boys!
 I think the traffic is at its height here at 4am (farm workers for the food producers up the road haring along at 70mph adn there's loads of them!)  just hard, I hate the idea of a cat free existance but after Snowball, we won't have any more.
Smallholding in Worcestershire, making goats milk soap for www.itsbaaathtime.com and mum to 4 girls,  goats, sheep, chickens, dog, cat and garden snails...

Mammyshaz

  • Joined Feb 2012
  • Durham
Re: could we have cats?
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2013, 10:31:18 pm »
One of my theories about cats going out at night is that the roads are quiet. The cat thinks the road to the adjacent field is a safe, quiet passage as nothing is around. Cat plays hunting in field. Car comes along. Cat hears the noise and heads back to safe haven of it's own garden. Cat gets hit by the car as it darts across the road.

During the day the crossing of the road is a more scary scenario as there are more activities and noise all around. Any attempt to cross is met by a vehicle passing or a noise not too far away that is scary. Result is cat feels more comfortable in the surrounding gardens rather than risk the road.

This is my theory based on more cats being brought to us hit through the night than daytime. Any other theories welcome  :sunshine:

ellied

  • Joined Sep 2010
  • Fife
    • Facebook
Re: could we have cats?
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2013, 09:57:42 am »
I live by a main road and have had cats die on it and cats live happily beside it.  I have also tried not having cats but the mouse problem makes that very unpleasant and I like the company but don't have the fitness/health at present to commit to dogwalking needs.

Two I had when I moved here from an offroad farm cottage lasted 2 and 3 years after the move but both were eventually hit, both overnight when the busy traffic dropped to less frequent odd vehicles.  I remember my mum saying she stopped having cats in a rural village on a minor junction of B or C roads where traffic had to come to a complete halt right outside the house, because not having enough vehicles passing meant the cats got complacent and thought it their right to sunbathe across the tarmac or saunter about without looking, so it makes sense to me that if there is a road, then almost better a heavily used one than an occasional car passing.

I tried not having cats til the mouse population in my living room was too high, then tried kittens brought up indoors - that lasted 6 months and was cruelty to both them and me.  I still have 2 of those at nearly 6 years and one of their kittens that I kept who is now between 2-3.  I had kept another which died after establishing a regular hunting pattern over the road when there were silage bales stacked one year, by autumn she knew she'd find a meal there and I couldn't stop her tho I did try and keep them all in at night when the traffic was low.  She was eventually hit while I was away running a workshop down south last year and the sitter couldn't persuade her to come in :(

It's horrible when one is hit, but I would still have another kitten if I lost all 3 of what I have now.  There are pros and cons but if more than half get by and they all have a good and healthy happy life, if not a long one, then I reckon that's better than being pts as an unwanted kitten or mauled by kids, dogs and folk that want a cuddly accessory rather than a cat.  I don't know what the cat would choose but if only folk in ideal situations and with good common sense on care had cats then there would be far more in the shelters or dead - and I live with a less than perfect situation and currently 3 happy healthy cats whose only complaint is probably my lack of appreciation for the gifts they bring in, some of which are dismantled, others ignored and not worthy of their eating, and a few which escape to flap around the house or run about the bathroom til I can get a hold of them and put them out again ::)

Barleyfields Smallholding & Kirkcarrion Highland Ponies
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