Barn Cats R Us
A volunteer-run program that rehomes outdoor cats to barns and garages where they work as rodent hunters.
Regional Animal Services of King County has a volunteer-run program, Barn Cats R Us, that rehomes outdoor cats to barns and garages where they work as rodent hunters.
Many of these cats are feral or very shy, and so will be seldom seen. Others are friendly, but are too unhappy living indoors to be good house pets. Regardless of the origin of these cats, our goal is to humanely prevent free-roaming cats from uncontrolled breeding.
These mousers and ratters will provide totally organic rodent control. RASKC places barn cats at no charge to you. Once placed, you only need to provide warm, safe shelter, a dependable source of food, and fresh water.
Our volunteers will "install" your new barn cats for you, or you may pick them up at the Pet Adoption Center after filling out an adoption application and being interviewed by one of our barn cat program volunteers to make sure that you are prepared to properly acclimate your new cats so they stay on your property.
On large rural properties with barns, we recommend that you adopt multiple cats to ensure effective rodent control. Urban and suburban garage homes are ideal for one or two cats.
To ensure they are healthy, our barn cats have had a check-up by a veterinarian.
We often have barn cats available for immediate adoption. If not, we will place your name on our barn cat program waiting list. Please fill out our Barn Cat Request Form. We usually place barn cats in King County, but some of our volunteers are willing to deliver them to other areas in western Washington.
There is no charge for barn cat placement service. However, we ask that you agree to the following barn cat adoption requirements:
- Barn cats need an ongoing source of food and water. It is not true that cats must be hungry in order to hunt. In fact, chronically hungry cats can't hunt very well, and they may pack up and leave in search of an adequate food source in someone else's barn or garage if you don't give them enough food to keep them healthy and happy. During the acclimation period, and occasionally thereafter, we recommend that you offer these cats both dry and wet food in order to show them that they are living in a good place with an ample source of tasty food. Read Preparing to Receive Your New Barn Cats for more information.
- Barn cats need safe, warm shelter that is inaccessible to predators such as coyotes and loose dogs. Examples of suitable shelter include a dog house or some other kind of box that contains warm bedding and is placed up off the ground in a barn loft, garage, or shed that cats can access but predators cannot. Several people have built a small outdoor “cat house” attached to the side of a building several feet above the ground. You can find some great examples of barn cat shelters here.
- Barn cats need to be acclimated to their new home for two weeks by securely confining them in a temporary holding facility (e.g., a closed barn, tack room, shed, garage, etc.) so they can adapt to the sounds, sights and smells of their new home. In a pinch, cats can be acclimated inside a camping tent placed in an open barn or shed. If not properly acclimated, outdoor cats may run off and never be seen again. To help your cats settle in, you will need to place a temporary litter box, food and water bowls, and a box or animal crate containing warm bedding that they can hide in inside the acclimation facility. After two weeks the cats can be released and the litter box removed.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Our volunteers will advise you on how to trap the cats so you can take them with you. If you can’t take them with you, we recommend contacting the new property owners to see if they would be willing to care for your cats. If needed, our volunteers will find your cats a new home and assist you in trapping and relocating them.
- Articles about the dangers of rodenticides
- InvestigateWest: Super-toxic rat poisons mysteriously seep into our world
- InvestigateWest: How a new generation of rat poisons menaces children
- Barn cat success stories
- KIRO: Furry exterminators tackle rat problem
- Clean Water Stories: Feral cats take on rodent control duties at South Treatment Plant in Renton
- Los Angeles Daily News: Kitty cops put bite on rodent crime at mounted police barn
- Other Resources