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Feed on

Barn Relocation Class

I recently had the privilege to attend a class on how to successfully relocate feral cats to barn homes. The class was organized by the Community Cat Coalition (CCC) and was taught by Nancy, my TNR mentor. As with all the TNR classes I have taken from the CCC, this one was very informative and helpful. The class had a lecture part and a demonstration part.

There were 13 of us students. I was amazed at how far some people traveled to take the class. Several people drove over 100 miles and over a mountain range to attend! Wow! It’s great to know that people all over are interested in TNR and are doing what they can to care for their local community cats.

The class was quite comprehensive. We covered the ethics of relocation as well as what kinds of situations warrant relocating feral cats (cats in danger, reducing colony overcrowding, caregiver leaving, etc.) A local spay/neuter assistance organization, South County Cats has put together a comprehensive Barn Cat Guide which details the steps involved in placing feral cats into barn homes. Each of these steps was covered in great detail in the class. One of the things I learned is that the relocated cats should be acclimated in a safe, contained space somewhere in their new home where they can get familiar with the sights, sounds and smells of their new home. The acclimation period is 2-3 weeks.

For the demonstration portion of the class, Nancy showed us how to setup the relocation cages with everything that’s needed to make the feral cats comfortable while they acclimate.

Here is the finished product (although the cages would be zip-tied together if it were the real deal). The cats have safe, comfortable places to hide and sleep, toys, a litter box and food and water. Nancy emphasizes that we are creating a temporary home for the cats not a prison, so the cages or location space needs to be comfortable and safe. It needs to be arranged so that the litter box can be regularly emptied and the food and water filled.

“Hmmm. This looks cozy, maybe I’ll give it a go…”

Nancy says it’s common to not see the cats for a while after they’re released which can make it difficult to know if they’re still around after release. Even if the food bowl is being emptied, it could be a raccoon rather than the cats. So, to ease the anxiety of the humans, Nancy uses technology. She uses either a wildlife trail cam that takes pictures when it detects motion or a webcam/laptop setup that she rigged up.

Some of you might remember this setup, I actually borrowed it from her last Spring to monitor who was eating the food from the Dining Hall (Feral Watching). It’s a slick setup of a laptop computer and a webcam all housed in a large Rubbermaid storage container. A small hole in the corner allows the camera to see out but remain mostly shielded from rain. The computer is setup to take a picture every five seconds. So, you position the camera on the feeding area, activate the program and come back the next morning and look through the pictures!

Thanks to Nancy for teaching this class, for Pasado’s for hosting the class and for the CCC for bringing everyone together! I’m not sure if barn relocating is the part of TNR that I’ll get actively into, but regardless, I do want to be versed in how to do it. Since I learn best with hands on learning, I’ve already asked to ride along on a few of Nancy’s upcoming barn relocations so I can gain more experience with this great service.

One Response to “Barn Relocation Class”

  1. Katie Isabella says:

    I thoroughly enjoy these blogs from here as well as your own cats’ blog.

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