My name is Rochelle and I’m the founder of BarnCatLady.com and the Barn Cat Network. I’m a cat expert, barn cat rescuer, TNR volunteer, cat caretaker, kitten foster, and community cat advocate. For all things cat, I’m your girl!
My focus is to get people in agriculture, barns, farms, ranches, or warehouses to stop letting their barn cats breed and to start adopting community cats for their barn cat needs.
I have over 30 years of experience with cats of all flavors from beloved indoor pets to outdoor feral cats. I love all animals, and they often love me, but I’ve got a special connection with cats.
I found myself feeding and then rescuing barn cats, both feral and friendly, during my time working around horses. At first, I simply fed them as I traveled with the horses. Some cats were permanent residents of racetracks and equestrian centers. They relied on horsepeople for food and the barn for shelter. Most of the time, the cats were fixed.
As I settled at an equestrian center in rural Louisiana, I quickly realized they were overrun with barn cats. They would get them all fixed. Then more cats and kittens would be dumped by people. Then they would start breeding. Rinse, repeat.
After some research and figuring out the area, I contacted a local feral cat nonprofit, the Wild Cat Foundation, to discuss getting help to fix dozens of cats when the worst news possible came.
The facility, where hundreds of people, horses, and cats lived, was closing. Permanently. It was going to be dismantled, barn equipment put up for auction, and the property sold.
Most people worried about themselves and the horses. But I was worried more about the cats. Of course, I was worried about the next place I’d travel to in the back of my mind. But the cats were my real concern at first.
Dozens of cats had lived in the barns year-round for decades. I knew some of the barns would take their beloved felines. But as most didn’t belong to any person or barn, I knew there would be many left behind either because of being forgotten, couldn’t be caught, or because the people didn’t care.
I was right.
With the resources of that same feral cat nonprofit, I trapped, spayed and neutered, and relocated 41 cats that had been forgotten or abandoned. People opened up their barns, trailer courts, back yards to these displaced felines. Some moved to other smaller equestrian centers near there, but I got every last cat I could find out of the closed and abandoned facility. I only got help from one other person.
It took three months. It required long nights and early mornings. I was exhausted after this. Working 7 days a week with horses early in the morning and staying up at all hours? Not fun.
I was relieved to be done and move on to my next adventure at another equestrian center a few towns away. On the first day there, I found kittens.
Now I spend time TNRing barn cats, rescuing cats and kittens dumped at the barns, fostering orphaned kittens, and feeding any kitty that comes into my barn.
Known by people around the barns as ‘the Cat Lady’, you’ll rarely see me about the property without my two cats, or more, following me. I am the lady who everyone seeks out for cat advice or to solve cat problems.
I am the Barn Cat Lady.
The mission of the Barn Cat Lady website is to help community cats of all flavors by educating caretakers and would-be caretakers on how to properly care for the cats.
I am the founder of the Barn Cat Network where owners of barns, warehouses, sheds, farms, and more can be contacted in emergency situations when a community cat needs relocating in their area. It’s where rescues and shelters can find barn owners looking for barn cats in their area.
It’s difficult for feral cat groups to find barns and other safe outdoor areas to relocate community cats when they have to. Relocation is a last resort, but sometimes it happens and they often have a lot of cats to find permanent homes for in very little time. A network of people willing to take in a couple of barn cats occasionally would make this so much easier for rescues. And saves cats!
I also want to show people that barn cats, despite being ‘unadoptable’ can still have long, joyful lives in the barns by showing off my colony of beautiful cats. I want to educate the uninformed that by properly caring for your barn cats and other working cats they can live decent lives for more than a couple years.
To Help You Help Community Cats
After extensive contact with people during my cat rescuing projects, I found many of us are flying by the seat of our pants. We often have no resources, no funds, and some don’t know what to do when situations arise with their community cat colonies. There are many excellent resources we can turn to in times of extreme emergencies. But in most cases, their funds and space are very limited and we are on our own.
I want to help save these cats. Help reduce their populations by spaying and neutering. I want to help inform the uninformed. Help you figure out what to do in various situations and find the best products and services available to help you save these community cats. I want to educate barn owners, farmers, ranchers, and others about why adopting a working cat is important, instead of breeding them.
I do it to help others like me. But mostly, I do it to help you help the kitties.
Why the Barn Cat Lady Website?
I am the Barn Cat Lady. I’ll share my experiences, my knowledge, and my research as thoroughly as I can. It’ll include every resource, product, and service available to us that I can find. I’ll network, I’ll advocate, and I’ll be a voice for the barn cats and other outdoor kitties that need someone on their side.
I’ll speak for them and help you do the same. Together, we can make a difference!
Questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to leave them below.
12 thoughts on “About the Barn Cat Lady”
I am so glad you started this site Rochelle. There is such a need for this information. I can’t imagine how much time and effort it took to help all those cats. I wish I was closer to help you!
I look forward to working with you online in any way I can!
Hi, Jessica! Thanks so much for visiting my brand new site!
Amazing how much work all that relocating did. I did it mostly alone too, it was crazy. I could have definitely used the help as you know cats too! Thanks for the offer, I’ll definitely take you up on it eventually!
What a wonderful selfless challenge you have taken upon yourself as far as varying degrees of feline rescue.
I must commend you royally. I have a few friends who do canine rescue and adoption, so you know there can definitely be some challenges in that arena.
They say that life has a funny way of working itself out. I think that you are going to be just fine and the kitties too…
Aw, thanks so much for your kind words! I truly appreciate it when someone takes the time so say things like this. It’s definitely tough and frustrating and heartbreaking sometimes, which is I created this site. Hopefully, it makes a difference.
Thanks again, Colleen, for your wonderful words!
Hi Rochelle, another cat lover here. My story is very different from yours. I was a much bigger dog lover, but since my husband adores cats and my son wanted a pet, I somehow agreed to get a cat.
And later I fell in love with my cat. That love is so contagious that now my two friends have also taken cats. And all that, thanks to a girl like you. She takes cats out of the street, takes care of them, vaccines them, and gives them to families.
Happy to meet a fellow cat lover!
What a great cause! I live in the country, and I wish I could say people in my area were as concerned for the feral cat population as you are. I found your story compelling, and I am glad you included it in your article. Relocating those cats after the training center closed seemed truly to be a labor of love for you. Keep up the great work! I look forward to reading more from you.
Thanks so much!
Hello – your site has such fantastic information – it is validating to send this as a resource to barn owners asking about “working cats”. Can you recommend any micro-chip activated cat doors or cat/ “flaps” to control entry/exit into living & working areas on a farm that are safe for feral working cats?
THANK YOU IN ADVANCE & THANK YOU FOR THIS FABULOUS WEBSITE
Thanks so much for your kind words! I truly hope it helps people looking into adopting working/barn cats as well as feral cats in general.
I’ll have to do some research on microchip activated cat doors to see if any of them would work well in barn or shop areas. There are a TON of microchip activated flaps and doors to choose from and it’s an EXCELLENT idea for an upcoming post. This will also help to keep the cats safer if they’re able to come inside tack rooms or living areas any time they wish, but raccoons or coyotes and such cannot. Thank you!
This week’s post is about keeping feral cats warm in winter as the weather is turning, and I was including this idea in the post, but I’ll have to do a more in-depth one soon. Thanks again!
I was wondering if you had any advice on transitioning a barn cat indoors? Is it a good idea?
My cat Leo passed away after 13 years this past spring. But enough time has past and I am now ready to adopt a new critter. My girlfriends cousin’s barn has an adorable little cat Shy. I haven’t met her yet but by all accounts she is super sweet and very personable. I have been considering at least fostering her through the winter. I’m just concerned that she will be miserable indoors.
Transitioning a friendly barn cat indoors is certainly possible! It all depends upon the cat really. Some cats are happy about it, some require time to get used to the idea, and some become so miserable or destructive or hell-bent on escape.
Fostering her would probably be best at first. And with you not being in the house next to the barn she lives in, it should be easier to convince her she doesn’t want to go outside. Barn cats forced into the house on their property, still know their home is right there and want to get out. Across town, though? The cat will not know where she is.
I would start her off in a small room with a litter box and food/water, like the bathroom or dog crate, for a few days so she understands the litter box. Then allow her to be confined to the bedroom for a few more days. Then give free reign of the house.
Hopefully that helps!