The Great Outpaws! Charity looking for outdoor homes for nervous cats

By Animals Correspondent

The RSPCA has launched a new rehoming campaign to help find alternative homes for cats who prefer the great outdoors.

The project started after data showed that it’s much harder to find homes for ‘farm cats’.

It aims to find homes for farm cats and other nervous felines who need less human interaction than a typical domestic cat. 

Farm cats often nervous around people

The project aims is to educate the public that not every feline is happy to be a lap cat and to find outdoorsy homes for these cats much more quickly.

A spokesperson said: “Farm cats are often nervous around people but still need someone to provide food, water, shelter and veterinary care when needed. 

“As the name suggests, they would most likely be best suited to a farm, smallholding, or riding stables but some have even found quirky homes such as a model village, an orchard and a gazebo company!

“Potential owners don’t necessarily need to have a farm or riding stable to rehome a cat who enjoys the great outdoors. We’re looking for homes of all different shapes and sizes to match the variety of different cats we have in our care.”

90% of centres and branches find it harder to rehome ‘farm cats’

The RSPCA rehomes over 20,000 cats a year and even during the pandemic, they rehomed 18,274 cats in 2020. 

However, their recent survey found that 90% of centres and branches find it harder to find suitable homes for outdoorsy cats than other, more sociable, cats.

Alice Potter, RSPCA cat welfare expert, said: “One of the most interesting things about cats is just how varied they are. No one set home is going to fit all cats. 

“Cats’ personalities are a varied spectrum – from an affectionate, lap cat, an ‘inbetweener’ cat who needs less but still some interaction, all the way to a feral cat who will happily live independently from humans.

“There are all sorts of reasons why some cats need this type of lifestyle. They may have lived for a long time as a stray and aren’t familiar or comfortable being close to people or it may relate to their early experiences or genetics. Whatever the reason, we try to find the perfect home for them.”

She addd: “We know that our centres and branches often struggle to find homes for our farm or outdoor cats and often one of the reasons cited is that there is a lack of awareness amongst the general public that these cats exist and that they will be much happier living an outdoorsy lifestyle.

“Many people think of a cat curled up on the sofa, popping in and out of the cat flap for fuss, but the kind of cats we’re talking about here may never come inside the home.

“They may never come for fuss, but they need someone to look out for them and provide them with year-round shelter such as a shed, barn, stable or even a treehouse where they can sleep at night. They’ll also need constant access to water, to be fed daily and to receive veterinary care whenever needed.”

To register your interest in becoming a farm cat adopter, contact your nearest centre or branch.

How to adopt a farm cat

Taking on a farm cat gives them a second chance in the type of home where they can live their best life. Seeing a rescued animal roaming free, dozing in the sun and exploring to their heart’s content can be really rewarding.

All the cats will be in good health, neutered, microchipped, vaccinated, where appropriate and treated for fleas and worms.

The minimum requirement for an adopter will be to provide a weatherproofed shelter, food and water at least daily and to keep an eye on the health of the cat and seek veterinary help when needed. They will also need access to land to roam, and vegetation such as woodland, fields or gardens.

Find out more about adopting a farm cat.

Did you know? A new filter has been added to our rehoming webpage so that potential owners can search for farm cats online? Check it out.

To register your interest in becoming a farm cat adopter, contact your nearest centre or branch. https://www.rspca.org.uk

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