Since the beginning of the cat and human relationship, historians and scientists believe people learned a long time ago that having cats around can be pretty darn useful. Whether an ancient child first found a kitten that simply followed them home, or a hardworking farmer discovered a couple of cats hiding in the granary, it seems simple enough that humans would have quickly figured out cats were great at keeping rats out of the food storage, pests out of the homestead, and just maybe, kittens were as fun to play with back then as they are now.
But no matter how it got started, many of today's cats still retain a strong instinct to hunt. For some felines, it never gets past the playing with toys stage. For others, hunting is a sport, and for still others, killing and eating small rodents and other animals is a matter of survival.
For our purposes, a working cat is any cat that "works" in exchange for room and board. It's a simple arrangement: as "owner" of the cat, you provide a shelter safe from bad weather (rain, excessive heat, etc), predators (coyotes, stray dogs, raccoons, etc) and traffic. You make sure the cat(s) have fresh food and clean water available. In return, the cats help keep your property free of mice, rats, other small pests, and sometimes even bigger critters, such as gophers and ground squirrels. It's clean, relatively easy, all organic pest control. And a win-win for those cats that would otherwise be euthanized in an animal shelter or spend short, miserable lives starving in the streets.
To be perfectly honest, we would prefer most cats to be indoor only, pampered pets. But to also be perfectly honest, there are plenty of cats out there who are never going to be happy as house pets. Sometimes these cats were born feral, became feral after being dumped, were unable to be socialized, or even in some cases, have litter box issues that prevent them from happily living indoors. Whether they are friendly, pretty cats or shy, battle-scarred ferals that will never willingly allow human touch, these cats can still have long, useful, productive lives. These deserving cats can also sometimes be the answer when one or more family members desperately wants a pet cat, but other family members are highly allergic to an indoor cat.
If you think a working cat or two might be a good fit for your situation, give us a call. We've adopted cats to large home workshops, wineries, vineyards, storage areas, horse barns, hobby farms, a feed store, and more. If a working cat works for you, we'd love to work it out!
We want to know why you want a working cat, if a working cat really will work in your situation, the level of care you will give the cat, and the environment the cat will be living in. We will ask how many people will be around the cat on a regular basis, any other pets/livestock on the property, amount of traffic/machinery on the property, and other questions that help us determine the right cat for your situation. A quiet vineyard might be a great match for an extremely timid feral, for example; an outgoing, friendly cat might be a better match for an active family with livestock and outbuildings.
You provide a safe, secure enclosure for the cat(s). The first 2 weeks--or up to a month--the cats will need to be kept in a smaller, enclosed area. The cat must learn that you are the caretaker--you provide food and clean water. The cat must learn who you are and that you can be trusted. Meanwhile, you must learn about the cats--their markings, personality, daily routines, how tame or feral they are and if that can be changed.
The cats can only be turned loose after they have had this mandatory acclimation process. Aside from the initial enclosure, the cats will need a shelter that keeps them dry/out of the weather (even a simple hay shed will do), and a consistent feeding schedule. Once they know where home is, they are usually pretty low maintenance at this point.
We will go over all our training methods and tips to help with the acclimation process. We only adopt out outdoor cats that have already been spayed/neutered. We appreciate your serious consideration of working cats!
NOTES: We do NOT relocate feral cat colonies.
We do not always have feral cats or kittens available.