Adopting with Ruff Start Rescue

Adoption applications are the best way to show you are interested in an animal and are not a contractual obligation. Please submit an adoption application if you are interested in adopting or have questions about an adoptable animal.

We remove animals from the website when they have received a surplus of promising adoption applications or when they are adopted, whichever comes first. If you submitted an adoption application for a specific animal, you will be contacted about your application’s status via email. Please check your spam folder for correspondence.

Further questions about the adoption process? Check out our main adoption page.

Need a Little Help?

Whether you’re looking for a feline friend, a canine confidant, a bird buddy, or some other critter, we have a few options to assist you in finding your perfect pet! We know the adoptive journey can be a little overwhelming, and we’re here to help.

If you’d like to chat with a human regarding what qualities you’re looking for in a companion animal, please email our Adoption Matchmaker at to get the conversation started! Our Adoption Matchmaker will look for good potential matches for you based on the criteria you specify. Please note this process can occasionally take awhile, as many animals are adopted quickly once they are made available for adoption on our site.

Adoption Programs & Promotions

We are proud to offer multiple programs that make it easier for our foster animals to find their perfect forever families. Learn more about our current adoption programs and promotions, including our Foster-to-Adopt program, by clicking the link below.

Adoption Center Animals

Ruff Start is lucky to partner with adoption centers who house special cats (and critters) awaiting their forever families*. We currently partner with the following centers:

*Many of these locations are same-day adoption centers, meaning animals housed at these locations can be brought home directly from the store without a lengthy application process. Please call your preferred location to ensure there are animals available for adoption there before visiting with the intention of adopting.

Working Cats

In a perfect world, all cats would be happy to live in a home as a lap cat. However, we don’t live in a perfect world, and we all know cats make the rules here!

Our Working Cat Program covers cats that come into rescue but are not suited for a home environment due to under-socialization and/or an increased need to be outdoors with limited human interaction. Many times these specific cats are from trap-neuter-return (TNR) situations or are trapped by well-meaning individuals who bring the animal inside, thinking it should live indoors like other companion animals.

While these adoptions are not considered typical, these cats are still considered a form of companion animal and should be cared for accordingly. As such, Working Cat adopters will be required to provide their new cat a safe, insulated indoor/outdoor building such as a barn, stable, or warehouse, as well as daily food, fresh water, and necessary veterinary care like immunizations.

Working cats will require at least three weeks in a kennel or other safe enclosure in the area they will be housed in to acquaint themselves with what will be their new home. Fresh food and clean water should be administered in the kennel daily, along with freshly cleaned litter in a box for excrement. Once your kitty recognizes this area as their safe space, they should be allowed to roam as they would wish and will more than likely earn their keep by hunting down rodents!

All Ruff Start working cats are spayed/neutered, Feline Leukemia (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) tested, and brought up to date on core vaccinations (rabies and distemper) before adoption. Ruff Start will conduct an on-site inspection to ensure the adopter’s building is safe for the cat(s) before adoption. We also encourage those who have working cats to have at least two cats so they can provide each other companionship and warmth during colder months. The Working Cat adoption fee is $30 before tax.

No Working Cats available? We can save your information for next time! If you think a Working Cat would be perfect for your property, please reach out to us at to be put on our potential Working Cat adopter list.

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