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 an in-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 caught by well-meaning individuals who bring the animal inside, thinking it should live indoors like other companion animals.

Understanding Working Cats

Working cats, also referred to as “barn” or “business” cats, are cats that will more than likely not be successful in a home environment due to being not accustomed to direct human interaction as a result of under-socialization. While they may not always be wholly “feral”, they are not usually overly friendly to people, prefer to keep their distance, and do not enjoy being handled – but are able to co-exist happily if given a “job” like pest control.

We encourage those who have working cats to have at least two cats so they can provide each other companionship and warmth during colder months, which is important for the cats’ long-term health and happiness. They will be more likely to stay in their new location and survive if they have a companion.

With this being said, all working cats have different personalities, so it is possible one may be more inclined to interact with you in a friendly way than another. However, if you are interested in adopting a cat that you are hoping will live indoors with you as a cuddle buddy, please view our other adoptable cats who are better suited for a home environment.

Requirements for Adopters

While working cat adoptions are not considered typical, these cats are still deemed a form of companion animal and should be cared for accordingly. As such, Working Cat adopters will be required to provide their new cat with the following:

  • a safe, insulated indoor/outdoor building such as a barn, stable, or warehouse
  • access to dry food and water (don’t worry, this will not stop them from hunting too!)

Working cats should be kept in a kennel or other safe enclosure to acquaint themselves with what will be their new home before being allowed free roam of the property. 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!

Working Cat Care

All Ruff Start working cats are spayed/neutered and brought up to date on core vaccinations (rabies and distemper) before adoption.
Our current Working Cat adoption fee is $30 before tax. If you’re interested in adopting a working cat, please view our adoptable cats or fill out a working cat adoption application.

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.

Ruff Start Rescue