Working Cat FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Who are these Working Cats?

Working Cats are feral or semi-feral cats (ages 6 months - 8 years) that entered the Los Angeles Animal Services system and are not able to be returned to their communities. Our Working Cat program allows these cats to live out the rest of their lives by doing what they do best, getting rid of unwanted critters! These cats want little to no human contact and they live outside. All they need from you is a bit of food daily, fresh water, and a place to stay out of the elements. They get to live out the rest of their lives in a safe place and you get a hard-working employee!

How much does it cost to adopt a Working Cat?

Adopting a Working Cat is completely free. We only ask for you to provide the necessary supplies to care for the kitty for the remainder of its life. We also ask that you provide an “escape-proof enclosure” (see question #6) at the time we deliver cats to you. Working Cats come fixed, vaccinated, and microchipped. Any donations you want to make to help us support the work we do would be appreciated!

What is the process for adopting a Working Cat?

1.Fill out an application to adopt a WC: You can fill out the application by clicking HERE. 2. Schedule a phone interview: A WC specialist will get back to you to set up a time to do a phone interview. The interview will help to answer additional questions you may have, determine the amount of cats ideal for your location, and assess the space/equipment needed for a “transition” enclosure, and set up a time for “installing” your WC.

3. Set-up your space: We set-up appointments for installing cats to give you time to get ready for them; at least two week lead time. This includes setting up your escape-proof enclosure, bowls, litter boxes, food, and anything else that your kitties will need to make themselves at home. A WC specialist will give you examples of what types of enclosures will work for a “transition” space.

4. Wait for your WC to arrive: Kitty Bungalow staff will deliver your new employees to you and help set them up. We will give you detailed instructions on how to proceed with their “transition” time. We will process the adoption on-site and go over their medical paperwork.

5. Help them “transition” into their new space: Once set-up in their escape-proof enclosure, WC should be fed in their enclosures at the same time every day for 2-4 weeks. We call this the “transition” period. This establishes a routine for them but also helps them understand that they are home and will always have a source of food.

6. After 2-4 weeks, open the door to the enclosure and let them start to roam and explore! Continue to feed your WC at the same time every day.

What do I need to provide for the cats?

Prior to placing the cats, we do ask that adopters have an escape-proof enclosure for the cats to transition into their new homes. This can be a garage, a covered crate, large dog enclosure, shed, coop, etc. If you are unsure of the type of enclosure you need, our Working Cat specialist will go over any concerns/ideas you have during the phone interview. The cats will remain in their escape-proof enclosure for 2-4 weeks. After that time, adopters can open the doors to allow the cats to roam. The 2-4 week transition period is CRUCIAL to a successful placement of Working Cats. In addition to a secure space, adopters need to provide basic care supplies (food, water, bowls, litter, litterbox, and a few old towels).

Can I adopt just one?

We have found that Working Cats do better when adopted with at least one other Working Cat. A new environment can often be scary so having a buddy to hang out with makes transitioning into a new home much easier! A WC specialist will suggest a number of cats based on your properly size, distance we have to travel, and extent of rodent problem.

Can I select the cats I want?

We can try to accomodate gender, age and color as best we can, however, the cats selected for this program are cats that are at greatest risk for euthanasia at the shelter. Working Cats are generally between 6 months to 8 years of age - at the age where they will be most effective at their mousing job.

Do Working Cats get along with dogs?

We have had successful Working Cat placements in homes/businesses that have dogs. Kitty Bungalow is staffed with employees with a background in dog training. We are happy to assess your individual situation and make recommendations!

Who is responsible for the aftercare?

Once placed, adopters are responsible for any aftercare necessary. Usually, it’s little to none. Cats come fixed, chipped, vaccinated and given flea preventatives so there is no immediate need for any kind of veterinary care. Working Cats can live for years without the need for subsequent medical treatment. We do recommend a daily supplement to ensure your Working Cats remain as healthy as possible! Feel free to ask for recommendations during our phone interview. If any of your Working Cats become injured, we can help with loaning you a trap to take them to a vet. Your vet will be able to make recommendations on the best treatment for your Working Cat.

What is “green” or “eco-friendly” about the Working Cat program?

Glue and snap traps are inhumane and don’t always result in quick deaths for the rats and mice, but rodent control products sold for commercial use can be harmful to children, pets, and the environment. Rodenticides are made up of anticoagulant compounds that, if ingested by pets and children, can cause serious illness or death. In addition to the harmful effects rodenticides can cause if directly exposed to them, animals that consume poisoned mice or rats can suffer similar effects. The toxins accumulate in their bodies over time and can have devastating effects on the population. Studies done in California found that rodenticides were found in 84% of San Joaquin kit foxes, 92% of raptors in San Diego, and 78% of mountain lions. Adopting Working Cats eliminates the need for using traps and toxins which can have devastating and lasting effects to pets and wildlife.

But I live in an area with coyotes. Will that be a problem?

We understand that this is a sensitive subject. Working Cats are feral cats from the mean streets of Los Angeles that made their way into an animal shelter. These cats are used to urban dangers such as vehicles, dogs, and people. They have learned to avoid such dangers by finding places to hide-out. The more time the feral cat has spent on the streets, the better it has learned to survive and stay safe. We also work with adopters to find ways to mitigate the coyote issue such as providing year round, predator-proof enclosures. Remember, these cats are ferals that won’t make it out of shelters unless placed in Working Cat situations. Adopting them gives them a second chance at life and allows them to live out the remainder of their days in relative peace and comfort.

I want to adopt working cats. Can I see the cats you have available?

As mentioned above, Working Cats are pull from LA city shelters, thus not in our care. We work with LA city shelter staff to select cats at greatest risk. The population of cats changes from day to day so there is no way for us to show adopters the cats available. If available, we can try to accomodate gender and color but we make no guarantees that you will receive the cat with the characteristics you want.

I have cats that I think will be great for Working Cat. Can you take them?

Our Working Cat program is designed to save feral and under socialized cats from municipal shelters that have no chance of adoption. Our goal is to save cats that will be euthanized due to their behavior. We do not accept feral, stray, or owned community cats into our Working Cat program. Additionally, we do not recommend removing cats from their environment. That leaves a vacuum that other cats will fill. Relocating cats can be far more dangerous than leaving them where they are. If you find yourself with a cat that you can no longer care for, please do the following:

  1. Have the cats fixed, treated for fleas, and vaccinated.
  2. Reach out to friends and neighbors to see if they will take over the care of the cats.
  3. If the reason you are wanting to relocate the cat is because of the behavior of neighbors, consider educating them on why cats are beneficial and ALWAYS be sure to TNR. If someone is commiting animal cruelty, please gather evidence and contact spcaLA's Animal Cruelty Tipline.
  4. If you must relocate, try contacting local barns, wineries, equestrian centers, community gardens and friends/family to see if any are in need of a mouser cat.

What do you mean by "escape proof-enclosure"?

An escape proof enclosure can be a shed, garage, greenhouse, wire crate, chicken-coop, etc. Anything that will provide the cats with an area for sleeping, and to place food/water dishes and a litter box. The enclosure must also protect the cats from the elements and not get too hot in the summer or cold in the winter. Additionally, any gaps larger than about 1.5 inches must be sealed since a determined Working Cat can easily escape via any gaps in the fencing/wall of the enclosure. Below are some samples of Working Cat enclosures that will work. You can purchase an extra large crate (good for up to 3 cats), by clicking HERE or a tower catio by clicking HERE.