Questions about the MCP Barn Cat Program? 

Below are FAQs. If these don't answer your questions, drop us a line at We’d love to hear from you about placing cats onto your farm or rural property!

Are the cats friendly?

Generally speaking, the cats that Madison Cat Project places in rural or farm properties are independent cats that prefer to limit their interaction with people. With time, they may come around to be friendly, or they may stay independent or fearful of people.

Can I have baby kittens for my barn?

Typically, MCP does not place cats younger than 4-5 months old into rural placements. Very young cats are typically easily socialized to live with people and will be adopted through our Tame Adoptions program. Also, very small kittens can be prey items for hawks, owls or other hunters. If you are looking for young cats, let us know – we very often have older kittens (4-8 mos old) available for adoption to rural homes!

Why do you recommend groups of cats?

Cats are social animals who prefer some company, either of people or other cats. Because our cats are less social with people, having other cats can provide your new cat with a sense of security and a social connection. Cats placed independently onto properties are more likely to leave, seeking out other cats with which to interact. We have a higher success rate of cats staying on the property when placed in groups of two or more cats.

I’ve heard that female cats are better with my chickens. Can I adopt all females?

We get this question often! There is no evidence to suggest that female cats are any more or less likely to negatively interact with chickens. Certainly any cat can view a small chick as a prey item and chicks should be in a fully secure area, away from cats. Once the chickens are at their adult size, they are a very unlikely prey item for a cat, male or female. We have placed many cats in barns with chickens without incident.

Why do I need to keep my cats locked up for 4-6 weeks?

A cat that knows where resources are is more likely to stay on your property. Giving your new barn cats time to adjust and acclimate to the sights and sounds of your property, along with giving the cats a chance to learn that your property provides food, shelter and safety gives you the best chance of the cats staying nearby. The acclimation area can be a tack room, a small milk room or even a large wire dog kennel. The room should be secure with a roof and solid walls. If there are rafter spaces, please secure those so the cats cannot climb the walls and escape through the beams. Providing a hiding spot and a perching spot (like a bale of hay/straw) will help the cats feel safe. The acclimation area should have a litter box (as appropriate) and food and water.

If you use a kennel, it should be large enough to house a litter box, food/water dishes and a hiding spot. 

We recommend one like this: either 42″L x 28″W x 30″H or 48″L x 30″W x 33″H.

We do have crates that we can loan out intermittently. If you need one, please ask!

What does MCP provide?

Each cat we place is sterilized (spayed/neutered), vaccinated for both feline distemper and rabies and has been found to be healthy by our veterinary team. We will give you all of the medical records we have for the cat and provide a supply of the dry cat food we feed at our shelter (Mounds Purrfectly Natural). If you need one, we can lend you a large wire dog crate for use during the acclimation (and ask that you return it to us when the acclimation is complete). For an added fee, we can microchip your cats as well, but please let us know ahead of time so we can plan for this.

Do you charge an adoption fee?

MCP rural placements are fee-waived but a suggested donation of $15 or more per cat is greatly appreciated. You may donate more if you are able and would like to. We are a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization and rely on generous donations to continue helping cats. All donations are tax deductible, as allowable by law.

What do I need to provide for the cats?

Adopters should have a safe place to acclimate the cats and a safe barn or large shed where the cats can live during the winter. If the place where the cats will overwinter is not heated, you should provide a heated water bowl so the cats have access to fresh water. We also ask that the cats have access to dry food all year round. Please also ensure the cats have plenty of hiding spots like a box or hay bales to hide in or around.

Why do I need to provide food?  Won’t they catch their own?

Your barn cats will likely hunt and eat prey items (rats, mice, ground squirrels, etc) but we can’t guarantee that the cats will be good hunters or that there will be an ongoing supply of prey items. Keeping dry food available help them to stay on your property and keep them healthy to chase mice!

When can I get cats?

We almost always have cats available — fill out the application and we can get going right away on finding the right cats for your property!