Marshfield Area Pet Shelter Introduces New Program for Hard-to-Adopt Cats

Marshfield Area Pet Shelter (MAPS) Introduces Working Cat Program

For the cat that isn’t quite into humans, Marshfield Area Pet Shelter (MAPS) has a special “Working Cat” adoption program that gives it a second chance to find a home.

“This program is something that MAPS has been wanting to do for a very long time,” said Kaitlin Loberg, Shelter Manager. “We often have numerous cats that come into the shelter who are the product of generations of stray cats breeding many times a year. These cats have never had positive human contact, so they are fearful and oftentimes lash out when captured.”

Cats that qualify for the program are placed into outdoor locations like barns, sheds, and heated garages. These cats are those which are afraid of people, dislike human contact, prefer to spend time with cats, or are used to being outdoors and cannot adjust to life indoors.

“These cats do not make good house pets, and it is inhumane to try and force a feral cat to adapt to human contact. This is why we started the working cat program,” said Loberg. “We get these feral cats spayed or neutered, vaccinated and dewormed, then find a place where they can live freely while still being taken care of.”

The shelter may have one or two cats at any time which need a barn or shed to call home, and staff work to get them placed as soon as possible for the safety of volunteers and the well-being of the cat.

“We have a list of people who are looking for ‘working cats,’ and if we get any of these cats in, we give them a call and send the cats out ASAP,” said Loberg. “If people are interested in getting their name on the list, they simply call our main shelter number, give us a little bit of information about their location, then wait for the call that we have another working cat available.”

There is no adoption fee, but a donation is appreciated to further the shelter’s mission and offset the costs associated with the working cats. Additionally, the shelter will provide a large amount of supplies to get an owner started with a working cat location. “So even if you don’t know the first thing about having a working cat, you won’t be doing it alone!” Loberg said.

There are a few simple needs for an outdoor cat. They will need a barn, workshop, or other outdoor building that has indoor/outdoor access, and a daily supply of dry cat food and fresh water. During the first two weeks, the cat must be confined to the building with food, water, and a litter box in order to get it accustomed to its new home and to prevent it from running away. Owners should keep an eye on the cat and monitor its well-being.

“In return, these cats will keep your property free of unwanted rodents and pests and can even become a quiet companion for your daily chores!” Loberg said.

The shelter is dedicated to finding working cats a home, but also stresses the importance of alleviating the problem at its core by spaying and neutering.

“As a community we have an intact, multiplying stray cat population that will not go away on its own. We must all work together to help these animals who cannot help themselves,” added Loberg. “Our shelter keeps up with the latest research on how to solve these stray cat population problems, and now we are asking our wonderful community for help.”

Fixing stops the cycle of feral cats forced to adapt to harsh conditions to survive and gives them a chance in a safer environment. “It is not the fault of these cats that, for generations, they have been left to the wilderness and have adapted to such a life. We must do what we can to prevent the generations from continuing,” she said.

Fixing also combats overpopulation and stops the spread of disease in a highly populated area. A barn cat that is fixed will be more likely to stick around, versus an intact cat which will wander off looking for a mate and risk being hit on the road or injured by another animal.

Someone who has an appropriate spot and is interested in adopting a working cat or learning more should call the shelter at 715-486-5140.