When most people think of a cat they tend to think of litter boxes, scratching posts, and silly toys, if not allergies. Cats are a common choice for people in small homes or apartments that want to have a pet. It makes sense, they are smaller than a Great Dane, and can use a litter box. But in reality, if given the opportunity, most cats would love to be outside hunting and exploring, it’s in their blood. Any self-respecting cat would love to be on a homestead, and here a few reasons that might want to consider having one on your homestead.
Perhaps the most obvious reason to have a cat on your homestead is pest control. Rats and mice can contaminate your food storage and spread disease. Poisoning pests can be counter-productive by inadvertently poisoning their predators like owls, trapping them can be costly and difficult. But for a cat, hunting and killing rodents is combining business with pleasure. And aside from the rodents that are killed, the smell of a cat will make any rodent think twice about setting up shop.
Your barn cat might not be as bold as the cat that became an internet celebrity for chasing away a bear, but that doesn’t mean it can’t help keep you and your homestead safe. Armed with radar-like ears and eyes capable of seeing just as good in near complete darkness, your cat is going to know if something is nearby. If your cat seems agitated or fearful, it is a good chance that there is a potential predator in the area. Getting an early warning of a racoon or fox will help you save your chickens or even your corn from wood be thieves.
As with a house cat, a barn cat can provide a nice companion on what might otherwise be a lonely homestead. Being smaller, and better hunters, a cat requires less food than a dog and will therefore be a cheaper option. And even a small cat in your lap on a cold night can put out a lot of warmth and make a big difference.
Even if you have never been a “cat person” before, because you don’t like the smell of a litter box, or your couch being scratched up, you might want to give some thought to whether or not you could benefit from having a “working cat” on your homestead.
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