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What is a Working Cat Program? 

Year after year, the number of cats the SPCA receive has increased enormously. We have mainly focused on the traditional adoption options for cats that are well-socialized and enjoy human companionship. However, another group of cats we find are feral or semi-feral, who live outside, are afraid of or prefer to have very little contact with humans, and/or for various reasons cannot be returned to their prior homes/territories. Some cats come to us with histories and temperaments that are better suited for a more independent lifestyle. To give these cats a better quality of life, through a less-traditional approach, we try to find them a home through our Working Cat Program. 


Types of Working Cats  

Working cats can be categorized into a handful of different types: 

  • Cats that are too feisty when interacting with people and thrive when their minds can stay busy and have ‘work’ to do. 

  • Stray or feral cats who have had experience with humans and have developed a reliance on humans through limited contact, such as feeding. 

  • Cats that are shy/fearful of people and prefer the company of other cats and animals. These cats may have lived indoor/ outdoor but have never been well-socialized with humans. 


A job for the Cat 

Our expectation from this life-saving program is to find alternative homes for these cats through the Working Cat Program in places such as warehouses, farms, stables, garages or any other property suited for independent-minded cats.  They are happy to help control pest populations such as rodents. Even if not actively hunting rodents, they are effective in deterring any possible rodents from entering their territory. 


You as their ‘Employer’  

Our expectation from adopters of working cats, are required to:  

  • Provide appropriate shelter and commit to a minimum of four-week acclimation period to help the cat(s) adjust to their new environment. 

  • Access to a food and water station. 

  • Veterinary care if the need arises. 

  • Lifelong home/work. 


Procedures to ‘employ’ a Working Cat 

Anybody interested in adopting a working cat is welcome to call the office to find out more and/or download an adoption application here. Our adoption procedure is the same as our traditional adoption process. Please note that we do not adopt our cats as working cats if they are suitable to be family companions. 

A working cat from the SPCA is fully vetted as we do not place animals with special medical needs as working cats and they come neutered/spayed, vaccinated and de-wormed up to date, and will be microchipped before going home/to their place of work. 


Already have a Working Cat?

If you already have stray/feral/working cats around your home/farm/stable/place of work, then you may want to consider ‘employing’ them as a working cat. If you are already feeding them, then they are likely dependent on you for that food source. Stray and feral cats can have several food sources depending on how often and how much you feed them. There are two main different types of feeding: 

  • Deliberate feeding: Is where you see cats roaming around and you might feel sorry for them and have created a feeding station, or 

  • Accidental feeding: where there might be rubbish bins with food accessible to the cats, and they can help themselves. Sometimes this consequently results in a cat colony, which grows rapidly over time if left unmanaged.  


SPCA Windhoek will be able assist with the spay/neuter of the semi-feral cats at a lower cost should you like to keep these cats around as working cats. To qualify, we will ask you to fill out a questionnaire. The benefit of sterilization is that: 

  • It stops the breeding cycle of cats and therefore improves their lives while preventing reproduction, 

  • It ensures that the food source available to the cats does not need to increase, 

  • It may result in less fighting amongst cats, 

  • It may result in less or no spraying from male cats, 

  • It will result in cats being relieved from the constant stress of mating and pregnancy, and 

  • It decreases/eliminates the chances of cats developing mammary or testicular tumors.  


Further contact 

If you are looking for a working cat or already have one that you would like to offer responsible employment to, please reach out to the team at the SPCA by sending an email to Normal adoption procedures apply.

We cannot wait to help you, and the cat(s). 

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