Outdoor Mousers

Feral/Working Cats

Here at Axhayes we are always looking for farms, small holdings, stables or workplaces to home our out of work mousers. These cats are great for hunting vermin, deterring rats and mice and also providing you with the presence of a cat who needs much less care than a domestic pet. Our out of work mousers come from similar backgrounds to those we site them to so are happy to live in outdoor barns, sheds, stables etc. they do not wish to live in indoors with people.

Our outdoor cats are looking for a new permanent home where they can provide you with great pest control service in return for food, water, shelter and veterinary care if needed.

Please note: we are only able to site cats in Devon and the surrounding area to minimise the distance our cats travel. If you are outside of this area please use the find us page to locate your nearest Cats Protection centre or branch. www.cats.org.uk/find-us 

How does it work?

  1. Contact us by phone or email to register interest for outdoor cats
  2. During initial phone call/email we will discuss where the cats will be sited, the shelter available and how many cats you would like
  3. We will take a look on google maps at the property and/or home visit if needed (sometimes home visits are helpful if you unsure where best to site your new cats)
  4. If there is no enclosed shelter available we can provide pens to start the cats off (we take a £50 refundable deposit for the use of pens). The pens will be set up in most cases before the cats arrive to ensure the site is suitable.
  5. Now the site is ready for the cats to arrive we can arrange to go out and trap some outdoor mousers looking for a new home (this may be an overgrown colony on a farm or cats which have moved onto a site which is not safe for them to stay at etc.)
  6. Once the cats are trapped, neutered and ready they are sited to you with a starter pack of food, bowls, litter trays and beds
  7. As we are trapping cats on demand we cannot always guarantee we will catch the cats immediately or guarantee sexes, colours or ages.
  8. All cats will be checked over by our vet when neutered, vaccinated and blood tested for FIV/FeLV
  9. There is no charge for outdoor cats but if you can make any donation towards the cost of their care with us or the equipment provided it is always greatly appreciated
  10. The cats will need to be confined for 2 – 3 weeks to ensure they get used to their new surroundings and stay on site once released
  11. After a few weeks we will do a quick check up by email or phone to see how your cats are settling in
  12. We are always on hand if you need any advice or are looking for more cats in the future


We can answer any questions you may have about these cats during our initial phone calls and siting, but here are a few frequently asked questions:

Why do I keep the cats in a secure pen?

The cats need to learn there is food, water and shelter provided for them. They are kept in this pen for 2 – 3 weeks so they can learn this and then on release they should stay on the property.

Should I have one or two?

Cats are solitary animals so will happily live on your land as a single cat making the most of resources and shelter but they can also share this resource too. We often find outdoor cats living in large colonies – often made up of siblings/offspring so can find several cats to site to one location or integrate separate cats to live together. Once released these cats have plenty of space to either live together or apart.

I took on cats to hunt on my land, why do I need to feed them?

Although working cats are used to hunt and to keep rodent populations down it is essential they are still fed for them to work efficiently. A hungry mouser is not a happy hunter.

I have just let my cats out of their pen/enclosed environment and I haven’t seen them for a few days, now what?

It is normal for feral cats to disappear once let out of their enclosure. This is an important time for them to get to know their surroundings and establish territory. They should return and be seen in a few days but it is important to continue to have food down in their original enclosure for them. Some feral cats may never be seen by their owners but this does not mean they are not around.

Will I see the cats?

Feral cats often spend most of their time undetected working where they cannot be seen. As they are frightened of human interaction they are happy to lay low and come out to hunt when it is quieter. However in some cases we have cats that will become more sociable over time and you may see them at feeding times or simply lounging on the hay bales. If you are looking for a cat which you will have some interaction but are not expecting the confidence of a domestic pet we often have cats that are looking a home like yours where they can access the house if they chose.

How do I take my feral cat to the vets?

Outdoor cats are sent out of the centre neutered, blood tested, vaccinated and either ear tipped and/or chipped. Feral cats can’t easily be caught once released so it is not essential to continue ongoing vet treatments like a domestic pet but in cases of neccesary vet treatment due to illness or injury this will be you responsibility. You can contact us for advice and to borrow a trap to aid this.

An example of our pen set up:


Are you happy to home a mouser on your property? Why not give us a call/email to chat further.
01395 232377 exeteraxhayes@cats.org.uk