What is a working cat program?

There are often cats that come our way who are in need of shelter but don’t fit in a traditional home environment.  Perhaps they were strays who have lived independently for too long to re-acclimate to living in a home, or they didn’t receive enough socialization as a kitten to feel fully comfortable with people.  And sometimes there are cats who get overlooked at the shelter time and time again because they don’t present well to potential adopters- the stress of being caged causes them to have a “short fuse,” they aren’t cuddly, or they don’t want to be picked up.  However, these cats are full of skills and potential – it’s not in their nature to be caged or on the sidelines. Working cats are a valuable part of our community and are waiting to get out there and showcase their skills. These cats work independently and pounce on every opportunity!

Homeward Bound created Paws on the Job, our working cat program, to address the needs of these cats.  We see each cat for who they are and look to help them find their perfect spot within our community, whether it be in an office, a warehouse, a feed mill, a store, a brewery, or a horse stable.  The potential alternative homes are boundless!

Why would I adopt a working cat?

Well, why wouldn’t you?!?

  • Working cats provide eco-friendly, non-toxic rodent control. Did you know that cats were originally domesticated to keep rodents out of the grain at breweries and feed granaries?!
  • There is no better way to start your work day than walking into your workplace in the morning to find a kitty waiting to greet you.
  • Cats in the workplace have been proven to lower the stress hormone cortisol, lower blood pressure, and increase oxytocin (the happy hormone).
  • Cats in the workplace encourages teamwork and increases morale, which reduces conflict, animosity, encourages communication, and raises productivity.
  • Cats in the workplace can increase customer traffic and attract publicity (create their very own Instagram account!)
  • Then there is the added feel-good benefit of knowing that you not only helped save your cat’s life, but the lives of other cats that are able to be taken into the shelter because of the space vacated by the cat you “hired.”
  • And lastly, because cats RULE!

So fire the Orkin Man, send your HR department on vacation, fire up social media, and hire a working cat!

But I'm not a cat person...

Contrary to what folks may think, you don’t need to be a “cat person” to adore having a cat join your staff!  In many cases, these cats aren’t exactly the cuddling type.  Instead, they simply want to work for you and showcase the positive outcomes they can bring to your business.

Working cats are not temporary employees- adopting a working cat is a commitment to being the primary caregiver for the rest of the cats life; providing shelter, food, water, medical care, and affection (for the kitties who want it).  All working cats adopted through Homeward Bound are up do date on core vaccines, have been spayed/neutered, microchipped, and have been tested for Feline Leukemia and FIV.  They will continue to need regular flea/tick preventative and routine medical care.  We are looking for working cat employers who believe in the mission to find homes for these over-looked cats and who will see the mutual benefit of having a cat join their team as their next employee!

How much does it cost?

Working cats request a sign-on bonus of $35 (otherwise known as an administrative fee).  As mentioned above, all working cats are up to date on core vaccines, have been spayed/neutered, microchipped, and tested for Feline Leukemia and FIV.  They come with enough food and litter to get started, and a care package of supplies that might include a litter box, toys, a bed, food dishes, etc. (you can pick and choose the contents of the care package!).  You will also receive a voucher that waives the office visit fee of your new employee’s first vet visit!  (Please see the linked document above for more information).

We stand by the animals we adopt out, and working cats are no exception!  We are here to support you and your cat every step of the way, whether you’ve had the feline employee for two weeks or two years.  While we consider hiring a working cat to be a commitment for the lifetime of the cat, if you are not able to continue caring for your working cat we ask that they be returned to us.

Ok, you sold me!  What do I have to do?

  • First, take a few minutes to read through this document to learn what to expect in the first few weeks, what we expect from you as a working cat employer, and how to have the best chance of a successful cat employee/employer relationship.
  • Next, submit Paws on the Job application to Homeward Bound.  Submitting an application does not commit you in any way, it expresses your interest in hiring a cat and provides a starting point for dialogue.  Once you’ve submitted an application we will reach out to you to discuss your needs, answer any questions you have, and determine whether we have a cat that would be a good match.  If we don’t, we will hold on to your application and notify you when we have a cat that is a match.

The Fine Print

  • Only select cats are eligible for the working cat program.  If you are interested in a cat that isn’t eligible for the program we will consider a traditional adoption depending on the situation.  We will not place cats who have only lived indoors in an outdoors-only position.
  • We do not have the space or resources to accept cats into our shelter specifically to be placed in this program.  The program is intended to help find placements for cats at the shelter who are struggling to adjust or will not be good adoption candidates.  If you are looking for help with feral or barn cats, please visit our Trap-Neuter-Return page.  Thank you for understanding!

Contact Details

236 Boardman Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Adoption Center Hours

Tuesday - Saturday
12pm to 5pm