Cats won't go into the barn at night

Alwayslooking

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I have had 8 cats in my enclosed barn for months. I recently let them out and hoped to feed them in the barn at night so I could lock them in. They won't come in to eat when I bring food. I don't know what to do. I am so afraid a predator will get them at night. I can't leave the food out with the barn door open. Last night I picked up the food and left the barn door open so they could run in if they were chased and get up high away from danger. It won't help if they wonder away from the barn. Has anyone ever had this issue?
 

ArtNJ

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Well, I lock my cats in my furnished basement at night. Over the years, some cats have given my trouble about it. For most of them, putting dinner in a bowl and bringing it downstairs is enough -- they are fine with the ritual and want dinner. For some cats, I've sometimes thrown a toy or a treat down the stairs to get them to go. Cats like to chase things. Especially likely to work if you throw the toy or a treat sometimes during the day as well. For some cats, that doesn't work either, or doesn't work for long, and I've needed to pick them up and take them to the basement stairs for a time. A few cats have decided to run away from me when they sense its time, and that was a hassle plain and simple. That never lasted more than a few months, but it was unpleasant.

Thing is, I've never had more than 3 at a time, and mostly 2. Based on my experiences, trying this with eight...I don't think its likely to be workable. I'm sorry, but cats don't like to be confined. Many will accept such a ritual . . . and some will not. Your probably better off putting in a cat door.
 
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di and bob

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Yes, I vote for a cat door or at least just giving them access to a safe place. My outdoor cats won't go in the garage now, but you can bet they will next winter when I put out their heated beds. when it gets cold, yours will most likely go in too. Cats hate being shut in, and in the country they just have to take their chances, they are full of instincts and know all the places to hide and escape to. I still worry, but it has come down to, they are so much better off here, with food twice a day, water to drink, and access to buildings, then they were just wandering about the countryside. I do what I can and pray they stay safe!
 

Draco

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a cat door is a great idea. If you could get them microchipped, get a door that would activate with their chips to prevent wild animals from entering the barn that way
 

flybear

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depending on where you live you have to know that the life expectancy of barn cats is not the same as house cats ... they will encounter predators and some will unfortunately not come home ... a cat door into the barn is a good idea and so is a nice heated pet bed - even some outdoor shelters would be great ( like those for feral cats - instructions online ) with two exits scattered around your property- once nights get colder they will like that ... Outdoor cats live the life cats are meant to have - they hunt, they are crepuscular - active at dusk and dawn and they establish their territories ... but the pay off is ... a much shorter lifespan and there is not much you will be able to do for them besides offering them a safe spot to return to ...
 
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Alwayslooking

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Thank you everyone for your replies. I have since lost four of those cats. I am getting ready to bury one of them that I found on the side of our busy road. The barn is not close to the road so I thought predators were getting them. I have been able to get 3 of those that are still here in the barn at night. They were kittens when I brought them to the barn. I have one cat that won't come when I call all the time. I have a cat house set up in front of the barn in case they need to run in. I have another outside cat that I put in the basement that does fine when the weather's cold, but he doesn't want to go in now and it's a struggle getting him in there. I appreciate all your responses.
 
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