Can Barn Cat Become House Cat? 5 Facts You Should Know

Barn cats, aka farm cats, dwell outdoors on agricultural holdings. These cats dwell in semi-feral or feral environments and can be of mixed breed. 

The potential of farm cats becoming indoor cats cannot be completely ruled out. Not all barn cats, nevertheless, can live indoors. The cat’s personality will determine whether or not it can successfully leave the farm cat lifestyle and venture into the indoor world. 

It is common for cat lovers to cuddle cats, whether they are indoor cats, feral cats, or barn cats. Yet, it is not always possible to bring cats home and expect them to become house cats. Sometimes, the cat’s personality does not match being an indoor or house pet.

So, here is a post for you dedicated to exploring if a barn cat can become a house cat. Along with this, we will also respond to some of the most often asked questions about the topic.

Can Barn Cat Become House Cat
Image Credit: Black barn cat by Lisafern (CC0 1.0) from Wikimedia

What makes a cat a barn cat?

We usually categorize cats depending on where they live. Cats are usually indoor/ domestic, outdoor, feral, semi-feral, or barn. So, what makes a cat a barn cat?

If you discover a cat living in a feral or semi-feral environment on agricultural property, you can designate it as a barn cat. Most of these cats live in colonies and are afraid of people. Barn cats typically have little to no human contact and dwell in various environments.

Barn cats may possess particular characteristics that define them as such. What characteristics do they share? The list can be found below.

  • Not very social
  • Prefer to avoid humans and other animals
  • Does not enjoy spending time with humans
  • Good rodent hunters
  • Great survival skills
  • Smart and agile
  • Prefer not to be touched (most of the time)
  • May feel distressed when kept in an enclosed area

Above are some common characteristics barn cats will exhibit. But these traits are not universal in them. Also, keep in mind that cats have varying personalities depending on their living conditions.

Can any cat be a barn cat?

During ancient times barn cats were domesticated with the perception that they would hunt down rodents. This was a primary reason that domestication of cats came into existence. 

Any cat can get transformed into a barn cat if abandoned or uninvited by humans. However, some cat breeds make the best barn cats due to their efficiency of mousing. In addition, any outdoor cat can become a barn cat if it finds prey on farms or agricultural lands.

In many cases, feral cats are called barn cats. This is done just to attract humans’ attention to these cats who have farm buildings that draw rodents. Barn cats can be excellent rodent hunters. 

In many cases, these cats may despise staying indoors. Hence, you can make an outdoor safe space for them to live. They would also need a supplementary food supply to live a better life. Also, it will help if you focus on their regular vaccination, deworming. 

Can a house cat become a barn cat?

Image Credit: Domestic cat by  TiHa (CC BY-SA 2.5) from Wikimedia

There have been debates regarding if indoor cats can be transformed into barn cats. This is especially pertinent to those with huge properties or farm buildings. Such households may think of changing their indoor cats into barn cats.

An indoor cat can transition into a farm cat. However, the transfer process needs to be done carefully and takes time. Keep in mind that a farm cat would not live in the same conditions as an indoor cat. While an outdoor cat can thrive indoors, doing the converse may be more challenging.

Encourage your indoor cat to go outside while being closely watched. However, don’t leave your feline friend outside all the time or for an extended period at first. Additionally, help your cat to socialize with farm or outdoor animals, as it would help it to survive better. 

Insuring your indoor cat’s safety and keeping track of its whereabouts outside. Additionally, add a fluorescent collar to it to be seen by cars and prevent accidents. Before putting your indoor cat out onto the barn, two other important things to think about are timely immunization and neutering.

What type of cat becomes the best barn cat?

If you are considering getting a barn cat, you may want to learn which breed makes the best barn cats. Remember, sometimes a barn cat will get friendly with you yet want to live outside independently.

Here is a list of feline breeds that tend to become the best barn cats. 

Cat BreedFeatures
Maine CoonIncredibly smart
Excellent hunters
Scottish FoldAlert
Cornish RexHighly athletic
Very active 
Japanese BobtailAgile
Great mousing capacity 
Perch birds 
Highly vocal
Likes human contact
Phenomenal hunters 
Pixie BobSensational hunters
Blend well outdoors

Domestic longhairs and shorthairs are wonderful barn cats in addition to these purebreds. These cats are a combination of DNA rather than one particular breed. Domestic longhairs and shorthairs are often friendly, playful, intelligent, and would keep mice off your farm. And they do have a survivor mindset.

Should you get a barn cat or train your home cat to become one?

Image Credit: Baby Barn Cats by
Art Anderson
(CC BY-SA 3.0) from Wikimedia

You might be thinking of getting a barn cat if you have a farm. Hence, it is worth finding out which one is suitable- adopting a barn cat or training your indoor cat to become a barn cat.

Your personal preferences and the indoor cat breed will determine the response. Unfortunately, as we previously mentioned, not all cat breeds make good farm cats. Consequently, the first step in answering the question above is to become familiar with your cat’s personality.

It will help if you consider the environment outdoors in addition to your cat’s personality. That said, feral or semi-feral cats are frequently available for adoption at shelters that foster barn cats. These cats are more accustomed to the outdoors than fully grown who live exclusively indoors. A cat that lives indoors could struggle to survive outdoors if they are unfamiliar with the environment.

Before choosing whether you want to train your indoor cat to become a barn or farm cat, we encourage you to consider all of these needs.


Barn cats share many of the same demands for survival as indoor cats. Therefore, if your indoor cat possesses the qualities a barn cat should have, you can turn it into a farm or barn cat. However, not all cat breeds make suitable farm cats. Therefore, the personality of your housecat will determine if it can go outside in your barn.

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