Please review the following information prior to submitting your application for our Working Cat Program.
The Working Cats we place are typically adult feral or semi-feral cats that would typically be considered unadoptable in a shelter environment. Most of these cats are not used to human contact or not suited to living in a traditional home setting. In fact, most Working Cats would not be happy as house cats. Our Working Cats are looking for jobs at the following types of locations:Farms / Barns or Stables / Horse Stalls / Warehouses / Factories / Stores / Workshops
/ Breweries / Wineries / Greenhouses / Nurseries and more!
Although they are very independent, Working Cats have many of the same needs as any other cat. You will need to provide your Working Cat with shelter, fresh food, clean water and vet care when it’s needed.
All of the cats we place are healthy, have been spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchiped. There is no fee to adopt a Working Cat from our program. However, we welcome your donations as this helps us to offset the costs of vet care and supplies for our program.
Basic Relocation Information:
The First Day
Upon arrival to your barn or building, you will need to transfer your Working Cat(s) to their relocation area or crate. If you are borrowing supplies from Tails Humane Society, please be sure to follow the directions given to you and set up the relocation crate before releasing the cats. This new area will serve as your Working Cat’s home for the next few weeks. It is important to set up the relocation area inside the barn or building you want the cat to reside and work in. The cat(s) should be able to observe the area and get used to the sights, sounds and smells of their new home. It should also be an area that is easily accessible for you to feed/clean the cat’s area for the next few weeks.
Once your relocation area or crate is set up and ready for the cat(s), place the cat carrier into the relocation area (towards the new hiding area or “hidey box”) and open the door. The cat should exit the kennel and hide. Quietly remove the carrier and secure the relocation area door. You will want to leave your Working Cat(s) alone now so that they can relax and begin to comfortably explore their relocation area or crate.
The First Four Weeks
The most important thing that you can do for your Working Cat(s) is to KEEP THEM IN THEIR RELOCATION AREA OR CRATE for the first 2-4 weeks. (Two weeks is the absolute minimum, four weeks is optimal.) Your new Working Cat(s) are understandably frightened and confused right now, they do not know where they are and they do not understand that you are trying to help them. If you let them out of their relocation area or crate prior to the 2-4 week period, they WILL run away, get lost or possibly meet an even worse fate. Your new Working Cat(s) will need time to adjust and feel safe in their new surroundings. It is your responsibility to help them do this.
You will need to make sure to feed your cat(s) and provide fresh water daily. During the relocation period, you should be feeding your cat(s) dry kibble and wet canned food. Most adult cats should be fed about ½ cup of dry food daily. In addition to the dry, you should also feed a small amount of canned or wet food daily. While you are feeding your Working Cat(s), talk out loud to them, make “kitty, kitty” calls etc. This will train the cat(s) to understand that the sound of your voice means food!
Your Working Cat(s) should also have clean warm bedding (i.e. blankets, towels, hay/straw, etc) at all times. Make sure to change the bedding when it becomes soiled.
The relocation area or crate should be maintained on a daily basis. Most cats will stay away from you when you are in their relocation area. They will likely hide in a corner, the back of their crates or inside their hiding box while you are cleaning or feeding. Most cats will NOT try to escape, but use caution and close the relocation area door or block the crate door with your body at all times.
While in the relocation area or crate, please be sure to clean the litter pan daily by scooping the dirty litter away. The litter can be changed as needed. At the end of the relocation period, you will need to decide whether you will continue using a litter pan or not. If your cat(s) will be working in a barn, it is up to you whether or not you choose to continue having the cat use a litter pan. Many farm/barn owners allow the cats to eliminate freely as the other livestock do. If your cat will be kept in a building or warehouse, you will most likely wish to continue using the litter pan. The litter pan should be in a quiet area of the building that the cat will have constant access to. It should also be easily accessible for daily cleaning. All cats, whether pets or working cats prefer a tidy litter box and will find other places to eliminate if they find the box too dirty.
Relocation Complete: Releasing Your Working Cats
At the end of the 2-4 week confinement period, simply leave the relocation area door or crate door open after the morning feeding. The cat(s) will venture out at their own pace and begin to explore. It is important to leave the relocation area or crate in place and continue feeding nearby, but outside the crate. Often, the cat(s) will continue to use the relocation area or crate to sleep until they are comfortable. You should continue talking to the cat(s) or making your “kitty, kitty” calls at feeding time. After the cat(s) have been released, continue to provide cat food and fresh water daily. We also recommend feeding a spoon or two of wet food in addition to kibble at meal time. Wet (canned) cat food can be a very important tool in keeping your Working Cat(s) excited about mealtime. It also discourages them from leaving home in search of the “good stuff”. Remember, Working Cats will hunt best if they are fed daily meals. They cannot live on hunting alone and they will leave your barn or building in search of a new habitat if you do not provide food daily.