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Barn cats may never enter our homes, but they are undoubtedly members of the family. Of course you want to keep them safe!

However, taking care of barn cats is a difficult task with so many predators ready to pounce as soon as it gets dark.

What’s the best way to protect barn cats from predators?

Let’s find out!

Who are barn cats’ predators?

Unfortunately, barn cats do not have an easy life! They’re resilient creatures, but they face a lot of challenges.

Between having to brave the elements and defend themselves against a host of predators, it’s no wonder that many barn cats suddenly disappear, never to be seen again.

Let’s take a look at some of the main predators for barn cats.

Once you know the enemies, you’ll be more prepared to combat them.

  • Coyotes and foxes

Coyotes run rampant across all of the continental United States. You are probably well accustomed to their shrill howls that blow through the trees once the sun goes down.

Coyotes are some of the barn cat’s biggest predators.

Coyotes are drawn to your land by an abundance of food and animals, and barn cats often make easy prey.

Since coyotes are so much larger and stronger than cats, it’s no contest.

  • Dogs

While your farm dog may get along well with your barn cats, other dogs may not.

Packs of dogs are a common problem for farms as well as anyone who has outdoor pets and lives in the country.

A single dog may not do any harm to your cats, but dogs become entirely different beasts when they’re acting as a pack.

Their mentality becomes much more similar to that of wolves or coyotes.

Dogs that may never harm a cat on their own may become a fierce hunter when running in a pack.

Luckily, barn cats can escape from dogs if they can climb out of reach.

  • Farm animals

Believe it or not, farm animals can actually harm your barn cats.

While farm animals are probably not planning for your cat to be their next meal, they can be lethal nonetheless.

Many cats have met their end at the end of a horse’s hooves.

There is not a great way to protect your cats from this fate.

In this case, the most you can do is hope that the cats learn to avoid pestering other animals without serious harm coming to them.

  • Hawks and other birds of prey

Birds of prey are some of the most difficult predators to defend against.

They’re swift, keen predators that are great at swooping in at the worst of times for your pets.

Also, they routinely target farms looking for small animals like barn cats.

As your cats grow to maturity, birds of prey become less of a threat but are still dangerous.

However, hawks can be especially lethal for small cats and kittens.

Best way to protect barn cats from predators

With all of these predators on the loose, how can you possibly protect your barn cats?

The truth is that you will never be able to completely protect barn cats from every danger that comes their way.

But you can do a lot to help increase their chances of survival.

  • Make sure that plenty of hideouts are in place.

Barn cats need tons of spaces to hide from predators. This is especially true during the spring and summertime when kittens are being born!

Apart from the barn, give your cats several places to hide throughout your property. They don’t have to be high-tech or fancy.

They simply need to be structures that your cats can get into while other creatures cannot.

You can limit the height, size of the hole, and location of the structure to protect your cats.

Give cats plenty of rafts and lofts in the barn so that they can easily climb to safety if needed. 

If kittens are present, be extra vigilant and install even more layers of protection to your barn before kittens are born.

  • Only feed cats during the day.

Predators may be drawn to cat food. So, it’s best to limit the availability of it — especially at night.

Try to feed cats in the morning or in the afternoon at the latest. 

Most predators begin roaming about at night.

If you can keep cat food out of the range of their noses, predators will be less likely to come onto your property.

  • Feed cats close to your home, and remove the food when they are finished eating.

Predators are largely afraid of humans, and they are not very likely to come near hubs of human activity.

In general, barn cat predators steer clear of your home.

However, your friendly barn cats are not afraid of you and will gladly eat a meal near your house.

Feeding the barn cats close to your home is a good idea because this keeps the source of food far away from predators.

  • Provide substantial shelter at night.

Since most predators are nocturnal, cats are particularly vulnerable at night.

The best way to protect them is to give them plenty of shelter.

Consider partially closing your barn at night and making sure that there is plenty of bedding for them above the ground floor.

  • Deter predators.

Finally, take the issue of predators into your own hands. 

You can actively watch for predators and force them away from your farm if needed.

You can also install fences, motion activated deterrents and sensors.

These devices will help you track predator movement and potentially get rid of any unwanted guests.

Talk with your cat’s veterinarian about the best way to protect your pet from potential predators.

Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com