Working Cats

When Animal Outreach of Shelby County (AOSC) rescues unsocialized or feral cats from the shelter, sometimes we have to consider non-traditional adoption placement. Or, in other cases, cats in a trap-neuter-return program can’t return to their colony.

These cats are healthy, sterilized, vaccinated, and in need of a new outdoor home, such as a barn, stable, garage, or warehouse. Barn Cats are not suited to be indoor pets and, as unsocialized animals, they have no desire to be lap cats. These are working cats, former street cats who are used to outdoor life, prefer minimal to no human contact, and who will happily tend to any mouse, mole, chipmunk, or vermin problems for the small cost of a bowl of cat food and water set out daily, as needed veterinary care and shelter in a garage or barn.

AOSC believes these kitties don’t deserve to die simply because they can’t go into a typical home environment or return to their colony. We recognize that they deserve shelter, access to food and water, and the stimulation of “critter hunting” that a barn placement provides.

And because we spay/neuter these cats before they leave AOSC, adopters never need to worry about endless litters of kittens!

Interested in adopting a barn cat? Read the FAQ below and apply to adopt at the bottom of this page!

How much does it cost to adopt a barn cat?  The adoption fee is waived. You will be responsible for ongoing veterinary care (as necessary), food, water and shelter. Your donations help sustain the program and continue saving cat lives.

What do I do when I bring the cats home? When you bring the new cats home, they will need to be confined to an escape-proof room or enclosure like a tack room, garage, coop, or XXL dog crate for 2-4 weeks while they acclimate to their new surroundings. You will feed/water and clean the litter pan daily during the confinement period. After this period of confinement, the cats will usually accept their new home and may be released. You will continue to provide daily food and water and allow them access to shelter such as your barn or garage.

Are they spayed or neutered?  Yes. All barn cats come spayed or neutered, current on vaccinations, treated for worms and fleas, and tested for feline leukemia.

Do you have any friendly barn cats?  Sometimes. The cats in the barn cat program generally cats that are not social, friendly cats or suited to be pets. They have no desire to be “lap cats” and cannot be touched, or may take a very long time to trust enough to pet. We strongly encourage adopters to offer cats in this program an independent outdoor life complemented by appropriate care and shelter like a barn or garage. But occasionally, we do have cats that are friendly but not suited to indoor living.

Do you have any barn kittens? The youngest cats in the Barn Cat Program are approximately six months old. AOSC will not adopt younger kittens as barn cats, as they don’t yet have the knowledge, size, or skills to remain safe outdoors. Most cats in the barn program are young adults between one and five years of age, though we do have younger and older cats available occasionally. If you have an age preference, just let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you!

What do the barn cats require? The cats require shelter in a permanent building or structure like a barn, shed, stable, or garage in a suitable rural area where they will be safe. The property should be at least .5 miles away from busy roads. Daily food and water must be provided, as well as any future medical care needed. The cats must also be kept confined for the initial 2-4 week relocation period to ensure a successful transition to their new home.