Linda's Working Cats

The mission of the Linda L. Kelley Animal Shelter is to provide compassionate, humane care and treatment to the shelter population and to responsibly re-home animals into the community. That includes our animals who come into the shelter and who aren’t suitable for adoption. 

We have a number of cats who aren’t accustomed to human contact or following the “rules” of living in a typical home environment. We want to give these cats a shot at a great life too, so we’ve created the working cats program. 

Working Cats

A working cat is an under-socialized outdoor cat who can provide natural rodent control on a property.

Benefits and Placement

Working cats provide eco-friendly, non-toxic pest control. They are ideal for those with a barn/shed, farm, warehouse, retail store, body shop, car dealership, stable, greenhouse, nursery, vineyard, distillery, scrap yard, large garage or other similar structure. 

Supplies Needed for the Programbarn-cat

  • Cat food (canned and dry)
  • Food/water dishes
  • Litter boxes
  • Cat litter
  • Large crates
  • Blankets/sheets
  • Hidey boxes

Adoption Information

An adoption fee of $20 is required to offset the cost of supplies and medical expenses. The first step in the process is to fill out a Working Cat Adoption Application. To do so, proof of residency and/or approval from a landlord if you rent is required. After initial review of the application, a shelter employee will contact you to match you with the right cat to suit your needs.


We are willing to provide guidance and resources to ensure the best outcome for you and your working cat. All cats are altered, tested for feline leukemia, vaccinated for rabies and distemper, microchipped and dewormed.  

Acclimation Period

The acclimation period allows the cat to recognize the sights, sounds and smells of its new home. The acclimation period lasts 3-4 weeks to ensure that the cat recognizes its new feeding grounds. This is an extremely important time because cats who are released too early may try to return to their original home and may never be seen again. During the acclimation period, the cat should be kept in a crate with a hidey box, litter box, blanket and food/water dishes. The crate should be located where the cat will typically spend its time, such as a barn, shed or garage area. Position the hidey box away from the opening of the crate so as not to cause anxiety. The litter box and food/water dishes can be placed at the front of the crate for easy access. 

After the Acclimation Period

Following the acclimation period, open the crate in the evenings so the cat can safely explore his/her new home. If the cat is inside a barn, stable, etc. keep the doors and windows closed. After a few days of inside exploration, open the doors and windows and allow the cat to venture outside. Leave the acclimation crate set up for the next 5-7 days or until the cat no longer uses it.

Long-term Care for a Working Cat

Feed your cat in the same location and typically around the same time for consistency. It is very important to keep the cat’s rabies vaccine up to date, as it is required by law. If you are able to handle your working cat, a flea preventative is also important. Learn your working cat’s behavior so that you know when something is wrong and when veterinary attention is needed. Always provide a warm and dry place for your cat to be free from the elements; we recommend the area the acclimation period took place. Fresh water should always be available.


The Working Cat Adoption Application must be approved before cats will be placed. Google Maps will be used to determine if the requested location is appropriate for a working cat. Adopters must understand the responsibility of owning a working cat, including the 3-4 week acclimation period, and they must obtain a license through the county Animal Control Division. Additionally, working cats will need routine veterinary care, flea preventatives, food and water twice a day, and a secure shelter. Any supplies borrowed must be returned to the shelter so that future adopters may use them as well.


If you are interested in adopting a working cat, please email our Acting Volunteer and Rescue Coordinator Jamie Hash or call 410-535-7387.