Just before we picked up our new dog Rocky, one of our hens was killed during the day outside the fences. It could have been any number of predators – a fox seemed pretty likely though foxes aren’t usually likely to be out in the middle of a sunny day.
But it turned out it wasn’t a fox. We had seen a cat occasionally around the pastures in the weeks prior, but didn’t think a cat would normally attack an adult chicken. However, after the hen was killed, we saw the cat with increasing frequency. The cat was hanging out just outside the fences watching the other chickens. The cat was even spotted hanging out just outside the chicken coop door at one point.
We decided to email the neighborhood list to see if someone’s cat was loose. Receiving no positive responses, we decided to try to trap the cat.
We put out a trap with a plain can of tuna in it, expecting it to take a few days before the cat felt comfortable enough with a new box in its environment to try to get inside. We were wrong. Checking on the trap after an hour or so of putting it out, the cat was already inside.
He was not very happy to be in a trap. We quickly put on protective gear (think coats in case he tried to scratch) and moved him into a large dog crate to give him some more space.
We took the cat to the vet to check for any microchips. The vet didn’t find any. A vet did notice an eye injury on the cat from an infected wound. Their best guess was that it was an injury picked up from a beak or nail from attacking a chicken. Either he tried and failed to get a second chicken or the first hen went down fighting.
We re-homed the cat to the same horse barn where we board our horse. The cat is now living there as a barn cat named Louie. He is still pretty wary of people but he is seen now and again around the barn, hopefully hunting mice and rats and enjoying his new home.