Outdoor Mousers

Feral/Working Cats

Here at Exeter 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 and just by being present can deter rats and mice. Our outdoor mousers come from similar backgrounds to those we site them to so are happy to live in outdoor barns, sheds, stables etc. as they are mostly unsocialised to humans 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 your 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 visit the property to check it will be suitable and discuss the process in more detail with you 
  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. Suitable shelters you may already have will need to be completely secure, ventilated and large enough for the cats to spend their first couple of weeks in.
  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 they are neutered, given a 1st vaccination, treated for fleas and worm, ear tipped and blood tested for FIV/FeLV.
  7. Once the vets have given them a clear bill of health they are ready to be sited to you with a starter pack of food, bowls, litter trays and bedding
  8. As we are trapping cats on demand we cannot guarantee we will catch the cats immediately or guarantee sexes, colours or ages. It may take a few weeks to successfully trap and site cats to you. 
  9. There is no charge for outdoor cats but if you can make any donation towards the cost of their veterinary care and/or the equipment provided it is always greatly appreciated
  10. The cats will need to be confined for 2 weeks to ensure they get used to their new surroundings and stay on site once released, during this time they need to be provided with fresh food and water daily, their litter trays cleaned and not handled.
  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 weeks so they can learn this and then on release they should stay on the property. Confinement is very stressful for these cats and should not last for longer than the recomended period of time. During this time the cat is likely to spend most of it's time hiding and should be left to do this.

Should I have one or two outdoor cats?

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 work with sites where the outdoor cats are living in large colonies – often these colonies are made up of siblings/offspring - these cats are more likely to accept living with other outdoor cats. Where this is not an option we can integrate separate cats to live together. It is important that once released these cats have plenty of space to either live together or apart and are provided with seperate resources. Speak to us on your home visit if you are still unsure whether to have one or two cats.

What treatments will my new cats have had completed?

During the cat's trip to the vet they will have the following treatments completed:
   Neuter - spay for females and castrate for males - this will be done under general anesthetic and will help to reduce cat populations
   Ear tip - this is completed under the general anesthetic, the cat will have the top 10mm of it's left ear removed which is a universal sign that the cat has been neutered. This is essential for all cats being homed outdoors to avoid them needing further trips to a vet to investigate their neuter status.
   Vaccination - a 1st part of a vaccination course is given to give the cat the best start, as a second part would need to be given 3 weeks later it is is too stressful to keep the cat in a pen for this length of time so this is not completed
   Blood test - cats are blood tested for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus and Feline Leukaemia Virus - if a cat tests positive for either of these then they will not be sited to you for medical reasons.
   Parasite treatment - the cats will have a treatment for fleas and for worms using products provided by our vet. 

What does and ear tip look like?

For more information on ear tipping please click here.

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

Although working cats are likely to hunt and to keep rodent populations down it is essential they are still fed for them to work efficiently. A complete cat food diet must be fed daily. 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. Wildlife cameras are a good resource to put up in the area and see if your new cats are visiting overnight when the site is at it's quietest.

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 neutered, ear tipped, blood tested for FIV/FeLV, part vaccinated and treated for fleas and worms. Feral cats can’t easily be caught once released so it is not essential to continue preventative treatments like a domestic pet but in cases of neccesary vet treatment due to illness or injury this will be your responsibility. If you feel your cat does need veterinary care you can contact us for advice and to borrow a trap to catch your cat.  

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