Adopt a Working Cat

In Adoptions, we help patrons find the perfect companion by listening with compassion to their preferences and desires, and offering guidance in choosing an appropriate pet.

What is a working cat?

Cats that come to our shelters with histories and temperaments better suited to an outdoor lifestyle can be successfully placed with caring owners as working cats. These cats may live in a barn, stable or other outdoor setting where they have a “job” and a better quality of life.

Call 303.751.5772 for more information.

What makes a good working cat?

It depends on what you need! Each cat has a unique personality, but working cats tend to fall into one of two categories:

  • Semi-feral – A semi-feral cat has had some contact and experience with humans and has developed a comfort level with humans due to feeding, receiving medical care or similar contacts, but is unsuitable as an indoor pet. Like social cats, semi-feral working cats make good companions for other outdoor animals, but will likely spend more time hunting for rodents and less time with humans.
  • Feral – A feral cat lives outdoors and has never been socialized with humans. They are not aggressive when left alone. A feral cat may become more semi-feral in nature in a consistent environment. Feral working cats love to hunt!

All working cats receive spay/neuter surgery, a microchip ID, age-appropriate vaccinations and a rabies vaccination.

Learn more about Working Cats.

Tell us the type of working cat you’re looking for, and we’ll find the perfect match. Please submit an inquiry below or call 720.241.7099 if you wish to adopt a barn cat in the immediate future (within one week). Please note: The city of Aurora does not allow outdoor, free-roaming cats. If you are looking to adopt a working cat to live within the city of Aurora, we will not be able to accommodate this.

Working Cat Adoption Inquiry

Already have a working cat that needs to be sterilized? Learn about our mobile spay/neuter services.


Why is the Dumb Friends League adopting out cats that will be living outside? Have you changed your philosophy that cats should be kept indoors?

For the majority of cats, an indoor lifestyle is safer and healthier than living outdoors, and we typically advise cat owners to keep their pets inside.

However, some cats that we receive at our shelters are better candidates for adoption into outdoor environments. Some have been accustomed to living outdoors at their previous home and are unable to adjust to an indoor environment. Others make better hunters than lap cats. Still others are less social with people, but thrive in outdoor environments.

Adopting out these types of cats to caring owners for use as working cats can provide the cats with a “job” and a better quality of life.

Do people who adopt working cats have to take care of them, or are the cats just left to fend for themselves?

Patrons adopting working cats must complete our standard adoption application and meet with one of our adoption counselors, just like every potential adopter. Our counselors determine what type of working cat best suits the patron, and then we determine if we have a cat that would be a good match for that patron.

We require adopters to ensure that all working cats have warm shelter, adequate food and water, and that they receive regular veterinary care—just as with any cat we adopt out from our shelters.

What is the cost to adopt a working cat?

Our adoption fees for working cats are waived at all times.

Do you adopt out kittens as working cats?

Yes, depending on age and level of socialization.

Do working cats get any medical care before they leave your shelter?

Yes, all working cats receive a general health exam upon arrival at our shelter, and then a spay/neuter surgery, microchip ID implant, Felv/FIV testing, age-appropriate vaccinations and rabies vaccination as part of their adoption.

Who should I contact if I’m interested in adopting a working cat?

Call 303.751.5772 and one of our Customer Care staff will be happy to speak with you, or fill out the online inquiry.

Social – Social working cats allow petting and seek out attention from humans, but they have behavioral issues that would make them unsuitable as indoor pets. Social working cats are well suited to a life lived outdoors or as companions to horses, making them a great addition to a variety of rural households.