When you think about adopting a cat, you probably don’t think about adopting the sassiest or less socialized ones. But even though they may not be the most affectionate, these cats deserve a home where they can live happily ever after, too. Luckily, cats like these can find their dream home at the Animal Rescue League of Berks County (ARL) as a working cat, or a cat that thrives in nontraditional settings such as barns, farms, and workshops as they are typically less-socialized and prefer living unconfined with limited human interaction.

When it comes to finding homes for these working cats, sometimes it takes a village to find the perfect fit. This means connecting with other rescue groups and partners who can expand our network of potential homes. This past August, we were able to find homes for 15 working cats thanks to the collaborative effort of ARL and Debbie Dreisbach of No Nonsense Neutering.

When you’re not a typical cat, like Smoky Quartz, it can sometimes be a long wait at the shelter until you find your forever home.

These placements are nothing short of significant due to the lengthy wait many of these cats have had due to their inability to thrive indoors. Consider Smoky Quartz, who had been in our care since February since we had rescued him from a hoarding situation. While behavior modification strategies and enrichment activities were initially integrated into his first few weeks at ARL, Smoky Quartz quickly began expressing severe signs of stress and fear when indoors around people. When our Feline Enrichment Coordinator Meg Yohn observed these signs, she believed he would thrive much better in our barn as a working cat. It took six long months until he found his forever home on a beautiful farm in Berks County, but it was worth the wait.

“When we moved Smoky Quartz to the barn, his health improved, his stress decreased, and now he’s living it up on a wonderful property where he can roam and relax while still getting the care he needs,” says Feline Enrichment Coordinator Meg Yohn. “His situation is exactly why our working cat program might be one of the most life-saving programs we offer. It offers ideal opportunities for cats that are generally unwanted. They are still cared for, monitored, and able to live out their days in a highly enriched environment.”

Worth the wait: Smoky Quartz (left) found a forever home on a farm last month with his good friend, Blue Lotus (right). May they live happily ever after!

Now, Smoky Quartz and all other working cats who found homes this month are living their best lives in cozy farms across Berks County and even beyond, with many of them finding forever homes together. Some even found a home to call their own amongst chickens, goats, and even potbelly pigs! But no matter what they are up to now, one thing is for sure: We are all elated to see these cats go on to enjoy a healthy and peaceful life. “My heart said to empty the barn. Now, it brings me so much joy seeing them strive in their new homes! Knowing they are free in an environment where they are safe and cared for warms my heart,” says Dreisbach of No Nonsense Neutering.

Our working cat program has resulted in over 25 cats finding unique homes in farms, barns, warehouses, and wineries this past year alone! These cats are available to anyone who is willing to provide them a stable and suitable sheltered environment in which to live, fresh food and water daily, as well as medical care as necessary for as long as they are on the property. If you are interested in adopting your own working cat, Contact Caleb Pyne, Working Cat Lead at ARL, to learn more at cpyne@berksarl.org.