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Barn Buddy - Working Cat Information

Who are the Barn Cats/Working Cats?

Cats in our barn cat program fall into one of these categories:

  • Cats whose litter box habits make them unsuitable to live in the house.
  • Cats who are social but too feisty in interactions with people.
  • Cats who are shy or fearful of people, and who prefer the company of other cats and animals.
  • Cats that are feral and cannot be interacted with. 

*Please note that we do not adopt cats who are suitable to be household companions to barns, only those cats without other options.*

What We Provide

At the time of adoption, we will go over with you how to acclimate your new cat to their new home. All barn cats are neutered/spayed, FIV/FeLV/Heartworm tested, and receive their first vaccinations. Some friendlier barn cats may also be microchipped. 

The fee for barn cats is donation based (we recommend $30-45) to help cover some of the most basic veterinary care for them. *Keep in mind that this cost is very minimal when considering the cost of a free cat that you would need to get altered, examined, and vaccinated!* WCHS loses money on every barn cat we take in and adopt out, but we still want to find them the best possible home. 

Feral Cats 

Feral cats are cats that have not ever had human contact or their contact has diminished over time. They are able to survive in the wild and should be considered wild animals. Many of our barn buddies may be considered feral.

  • Most feral cats will not be socialized to become friendly - some may learn to trust specific people whom they associate with food. 
  • Kittens under 4 months old have a chance of being rehabilitated and socialized into a loving home and are not generally considered feral. 
  • Cats that have been through a trap neuter release program usually will have a tipped ear to show that they have been altered already. 

You may be a homeless cat's last chance.

Without adopters, these cats have nowhere else to go. If you have a working barn or other structure, there are cats who need you. Having a barn cat/working cat will help keep down the rodent population. The cats will be helping you, while you provide them a safe place to live. And, because these cats are already spayed or neutered, you won't have to worry about endless litters of kittens appearing!

Where can a barn cat/working cat go to work for you?  Here are some examples:

Barns, Stables, Garages, Shops, Sheds, Other Outbuildings, Warehouses, Wineries, Farm lands (if shelter is available), Breweries, and more! 

What You Provide

  • Shelter in a building with adequate heating and cooling to escape extreme weather conditions.
    • If you are adopting a barn cat/working cat during the months of October through April, you will need to provide a heated area until the cold months are over. Next winter the cat will grow a winter coat and will not require a heat source, although they always appreciate one. If you adopt a barn cat/working cat during the spring/summer/early fall, your cat will naturally grow a heavy winter coat as the cold weather approaches.
  • Daily food and water (cats cannot live on mice alone).
  • Long-term veterinary care as needed.
  • A secure place to keep the cat for the first couple of weeks while they acclimate to their new setting. (This should be an enclosure like a tack or feed room). 
    • We can rent you an introduction cage if you need one!

Benefits and Info About Working Cats

The relationship between barn cats and people can be mutually beneficial for both parties!

  • Natural Rodent Deterrent - even cats who are not good mousers can keep mice away as the mice will smell that a predator is in the territory. 
  • Fed cats will mouse and hunt better than those not supplemented with other foods. 
    • Barn kitties are pesticide free rodent control 
    • Adult cats will eat about a half a cup of dry food a day- Don’t overfeed or you will attract wildlife and other animals 
    • All animals should have access to clean, fresh water daily 
  • By adopting sterilized cats from this program, we are stabilizing the population and eliminating the overpopulation of cats which leads to problems for the caretakers. You will also be less likely to have heightened vet bills from litters of sick or abandoned kittens on your property. 
  • Keeping cats in the community will prevent other kitties from moving in as cats will defend and protect their territory from intruders.

How do you adopt a barn buddy?

  • Fill out the Barn Buddy Questionnaire below. 
  • Once submitted, your application will be reviewed by our Adoption Counselors. 
  • We may call for clarification of your answers if needed. 
  • If approved, we will contact you to inform you of your approval and you will be added to the Barn Buddy list. 
  • We will call you when we have a cat that fits the criteria to be a barn cat. 
  • We will call barn buddies’ homes in the order they were added to the list. 
  • The first person to commit to picking up the cat will have priority, so ready any time to answer the phone for us when we call! 
  • Bring a carrier to the shelter at the scheduled time to pick up your cat. 
  • If at any point you want to be taken off the list, just let us know! However, if you change your mind and want more cats, you will need to reapply. 

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