• HATS Staff

The Barn Cat Program

Specifically created for wild cats who prefer little to no human interaction, our barn cat program is intended to match spayed or neutered feral cats to barn homes.

The program allows people who are looking to a barn, or garage/shop, cat to their family to obtain cats who not only have been altered, but have also been FIV/FeLV tested, vaccinated, and ear-tipped. It also allows cats who otherwise would not have been able to find a home to go into a setting where they can live their best lives.

Here are some of the questions that we often receive about our Barn Cat Program:

What does 'feral' mean?

A feral cat is a wild cat that is not socialized with humans. It is not a cuddly domesticated cat that would enjoy an indoor home with human interaction. We often remind people that feral cats are the equivalent of a raccoon or squirrel. They are wild animals. People are often confused because we mentally picture a cat living in a home and being a loving pet. However, just because an animal lives in a cat's body doesn't mean it is socialized and will enjoy human attention.

Aren't cats safest if they live indoors?

We prefer that domesticated cats live indoors. This keeps them out of deadly situations like moving cars, car engines, poisons, cat fights that can lead to the spread of disease, dogs, wild animals, and unkind humans. However, indoor homes aren't the best case scenario for wild cats. Feral cats are most comfortable in an outdoor setting, and since they have grown up in that setting. Because they have grown up in that setting, they are street savvy. Outdoor homes with food, water, and shelter are the best places for unsocialized cats to live their dream.

Why the ear tip?

An ear tip is a universal identifier that is used to show that a cat has been spayed or neutered and is being cared for. This happens because feral cats cannot be safely picked up to have their spay/neuter status determined. While the cat is under anesthesia during its spay/neuter surgery, the top 3/8th of the ear is removed in a straight line. This is a small trade off for potentially life saving identification later in life. Ear tipped cats can be let back out of live traps if caught, and they can also be left alone if seen in an outdoor space. There is no fear of them reproducing and chances are they are being cared for.

What makes a successful barn home?

We ask that people who adopt through our Barn Cat Program provide food and fresh water for the outdoor cats that they take home with them. Since rodents are not a sustainable food source for cats, it is important that outdoor cats are given cat food daily to keep their energy levels up enough to hunt. Fresh water is not always easy to find, so that is important for outdoor cats to have access to also. Shelter is important in outdoor homes and we ask that there be at least one building or safe place of outdoor cats to use. Lastly, we coach barn homes on slow acclimation periods so that cats will stand a better chance of remaining where they are released.

How can I adopt a barn cat?

If you're interested in adopting a barn cat, please email hats.operations@gmail.com, or call (989) 775-0830 to join our barn cat wait list.


Humane Animal Treatment Society

1105 S. Isabella Rd. 

Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858

(989) 775-0830


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