When we initially decided to start a backyard flock, we were a bit concerned about our neighborhood's cat population. There are lots of cats that consider our backyard to be part of their territory - some are feral, some have homes.
The morning after our hens spent their first night in their outdoor coop, there were multiple cats perched on top of the coop trying to size up the birds. We shooed them away, and they soon lost interest.
We like to let the girls out of their run to stretch their legs and munch on fresh grass (their pen gets awfully muddy during the rainy winter months), so we were especially watchful at first, since there would be no protective barrier of chicken wire between the hens and the cats.
I'm not sure if our experience is typical or not...but we've had absolutely no problems with the cats. Cats still like to come through the yard while the chickens are out, but once those girls fluff up their feathers, the cats are gone in an instant. For the most part, the chickens don't even bat an eye while the cats circulate around them.
I took the above photo this afternoon - a neighbor's new kitten had gotten a bit too close, so Penny stared her down until she ran away. (Note: Penny's molting right now and isn't looking her prettiest).
The biggest danger for our hens is at night, when they're sound asleep and unaware of impending danger. Otherwise, they seem to intimidate the daytime predators.
Have any of our readers encountered any cat problems?
Update: I came upon this lovely photo at South Sound Hounds today. How peaceful!