20 rescued cats from the famous Camp Fire will be barn cats but how do they know they are not pets?
The video shows a reporter in an animal shelter discussing the placement of 20 cats rescued from the devastating Camp Fire in California. Some are in very small cages. I don’t want to be critical, I just want to be observant. These small cages are too small by quite a margin.
The major point that I’d like to make is these cats must have been wandering around, loose, at the site of the fire. They have been rescued and the shelter has decided that they are to be barn cats.
I guess they don’t have microchips but that does not mean that they are not domesticated. They must have decided that they are suited to be barn cats because of their behaviour.
Their behaviour must have been that of a semi-feral cat, namely, a bit wild and aggressive. But I wonder if it is possible to make a good judgement on the character of a rescued cat under these circumstances.
There are two factors which might encourage a domestic cat to demonstrate semi-feral cat characteristics. Firstly, the cats would have been frightened having experienced terrifying conditions and devastation. Their owners (if they had one) had disappeared. If they had owners they were abandoned, not by choice but by circumstance. They were alone, living wild for days. These circumstances alone might make a domestic cat difficult to handle.
Secondly they are in a strange place with other cats and perhaps dogs handled by strange people and surrounded by strange sounds and smells. These are other factors which might drive a normally calm and well behaved domestic cat to give the impression that they are semi-feral and aggressive (defensively aggressive).
Therefore I would argue that it is tricky to make an accurate decision that these cats should be barn cats.
If the shelter factored in all the above and still decided that the cats were semi-feral cat, that’s okay but did it happen?
Because if some of them are true domestic cats used to living in a home, being a barn cat is not going to be comfortable. Barn cats live much like feral cats or community cats. Domestic cats are unsuited to that lifestyle.