Finding the purr-fect home for every cat: Spike’s journey as a working cat

by | Interesting |

Not all cats enjoy the company of people or living inside a home. Sometimes community cats end up in our animal centres and cannot be returned to their original colony site, for various reasons. As former street cats who are used to outdoor life, working cats are not typical indoor pets and have no desire to be lap cats.  

When Spike arrived at the Ontario SPCA Barrie Animal Centre, it quickly became clear he was one of the special cats that would thrive in the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society’s Working Cat Program. What these cats lack in social skills they make up for when it comes to keeping vermin problems under control. 

Spike arrived with fleas, ear mites, and a skin condition that needed treatment. During the process of his physical treatment, staff also assessed his behaviour and personality. After his health conditions had been resolved and he was vaccinated, dewormed and neutered, the team recommended Spike for the Working Cat Program. 

“Spike was a known cat in the neighborhood that had a very successful history of hunting mice and rats,” says Maureen Lilley, Registered Veterinary Technician at the Barrie Animal Centre.  

They found a match for Spike with Katrin, whose family lives on 52 acres. It was a home where he would have the security of shelter, food and veterinary care, and get to do what he does best – hunting mice. 

A new “job” for Spike 

As part of the recommended process to help working cats transition into their new home, Katrin says Spike stayed in their garage for three weeks to help him adjust to his new surroundings. During that time, she says he quickly adjusted to their routine, and became quite friendly. Soon, he was not only comfortable in the garage, but on the whole property. 

“He knows his surroundings. He’s so good in the area, and he just does his thing around the house,” says Katrin. 

A month after bringing Spike home, Katrin and her family adopted working cat Jasper. Now the two cats roam the property together. 

The Working Cat Program 

The Ontario SPCA strives to find each and every animal that comes into our animal centres a safe and loving home. The Working Cat Program gives former street cats, who are used to outdoor life and prefer minimal human contact, a new, non-traditional home environment.  Some examples of these new homes we are looking for could include barns, stables, auto repair shops, woodworking shops, wineries, breweries, greenhouses/nurseries/garden centres, churches, storage facilities/warehouses. After filling out an application, interested adopters are contacted to confirm if the situation would be suitable.  

“A lot of thought goes into proper placement of these unique cats,” says Monica Seto, Manager of Shelter Health & Wellness at the Ontario SPCA. “We don’t necessarily just go sequentially down our waitlist; we do try to pick the best fit for that cat based on each cat’s needs that we witness in the shelter setting. We are thrilled and so grateful that there are so many wonderful adopters willing to give these friends a second chance!” 

Interested in adopting a working cat? Read the FAQ on our website and fill out an application today!