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Working Cat Program

The Thunder Bay & District Humane Society strives to find each and every animal that comes into our shelter a safe and loving home. As former street cats who are used to outdoor life, working cats are not typical indoor pets and have little to no desire to be lap cats. As they are more independent by nature, they are well adept when it comes to keeping vermin problems under control in exchange for food, water, as needed veterinary care and a warm shelter to spend their days.

Why adopt a working cat?

Supporting a working cat is a safe, inexpensive way to control the rodent population while providing a home for a cat who cannot be adopted to an indoor household. There are no poisons for children and pets to get into and no need to set rodent traps while employing a working cat. This environmentally friendly pest control saves money and prevents horses, livestock, and dogs from being accidentally poisoned.

A working cat is a cat that is feral semi-feral (not friendly) or simply too feisty/active. For safety reasons, an inside area (for example, a garage or shed) must be provided for the nighttime.

What kind of care do I need to provide?

  • Provide a warm, secure, dry barn or building to protect them from the elements and predators. (Other examples include: auto repair shops, woodworking shops, wineries, breweries, greenhouses/nurseries/garden centres, churches, storage facilities/warehouses.
  • Commit to keeping the cats confined to a large cage for approximately three weeks to acclimate them to their new environment before release.
  • Provide a daily supply of dry food and fresh water – during confinement and after release.
  • Monitor and provide for the safety and well-being of the cats as their caretakers.
  • Provide licensed veterinary care in the event of a severe injury or illness.

How are cats picked for the Working Cat Program?

  • Feral cats – Cats who have lived outdoors with little to no human contact. These cats do not tolerate being handled or touched and will keep themselves hidden from humans as much as possible
  • Semi-feral cats – Cats who may have had some contact with humans early on but have since lived outdoors without much socialization. They may possibly tolerate the presence of humans but do not allow handling or being touched
  • Cats with moderate to severe litterbox issues who are unable to reside indoors
  • Feisty/more active cats that prefer a job/constant stimulation

The Thunder Bay & District Humane Society will not place kittens under 6 months of age as working cats, unless they are feral or semi-feral without hope of becoming socialized. We will also not place socialized, friendly cats as working cats.  When able, two cats will be placed at the same time. This can be helpful in ensuring that the move will be less traumatic and adjustment to their new home easier if they have the security of one or more trusted companions.

What will the TBDHS provide?

  • All cats will be spayed or neutered prior to placement
  • All cats will be vaccinated against FVRCP & Rabies
  • All cats are provided ear mite treatment, flea treatment and dewormer

The Thunder Bay & District Humane Society will have the cats available for pick up and will provide detailed instructions on safely confining, releasing and maintaining the barn cats.

How do I adopt a working cat?

Because the cats that fit into our working cat program do not do well being contained, we do not hold cats for this program. Therefore, if you are interested in adopting barn cats you will be put on an approved wait list. This way when we have cats that would benefit from your specific environment, we can contact you and move the cats out as quickly as possible. This will enable the cats to spend less time at the shelter, in turn reducing the amount of stress and illness these cats are exposed to.

Is there an adoption fee?

Our working cat adoption fees are by donation only.

Equipment Necessary:

  • 1 Extra Large Dog Crate
  • Litter box with scoop
  • Food and Water bowl
  • Small cat carrier (hiding box) or other appropriate hidey house
  • Bed or towel that fits within the hiding box
  • Large towel or blanket to cover one end of the crate

Interested in adopting a barn cat? Apply today via the application above or contact (807) 475-8803 for more information.