Barn cats: It’s all in a day’s work

Whether you call them quirks, idiosyncrasies or peculiar traits, we all have them. All of us. Yes, even you. The characteristics that some may call persnickety are really just things that make us unique—and they don’t pertain to only humans either. Take Mittens Jansen for example …

The 2-year-old black and white Domestic Shorthair cat arrived at the Dumb Friends League in early July and was relinquished courtesy of some soiling and behavior issues. Let’s just say Mittens Jansen was a nonconforming individualist who danced to the beat of his own drum. Frankly, the cat knew what he wanted, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Indecisive, he was not.

During his time at the Quebec Street Shelter, Mittens Jansen (and no, his name was never shortened) was pretty famous. All staff and volunteers knew him and had their own stories to share about the feline. He made quite an impression on everyone he met although, it was a mixed bag as to what those reactions were. Mittens Jansen was particular about who he wanted to be around and who he deemed acceptable to hold him. If you didn’t meet his standards, Mittens Jansen let you know by jumping up, grabbing arms and nibbling at hands and ankles.

Mittens Jansen was enrolled in our Cats n’ Clickers behavior program with the hope that some additional play therapy would give this striking fellow an outlet for his inconsistent overstimulation tendencies. He continued to steal some hearts (key word being some), but Mittens Jansen’s general sass, mouthiness and history of overstim behavior did not lend itself to the general adoption population. Our staff determined that Mittens Jansen was a perfect candidate for our Working Cats program, which is for felines that have a temperament better suited to an outdoor lifestyle. Cats can live in a barn, stable or an outdoor setting where they have a “job,” as well as a better quality of life and can thrive in a different type of environment.

Patrons looking to adopt a working cat must complete our standard adoption application and meet with an adoption counselor to find a good match. All adopters must agree to provide warm shelter, food, water and regular veterinary care.

No sooner was Mittens Jansen’s status changed to “working cat” than he was adopted by his new mom, Ann. Now two weeks into his new job, Mitten Jansen is thriving in life as a barn cat. He spent his first week in his new home in the tack room, but he quickly became able to explore the whole barn at night when all the doors are shut.

“He is such a social guy,” said Ann. “Mr. Mittens Jansen comes when I call him, and he follows me around the barn trying to help me sweep and clean stalls. I think he is going to fit in well here. When he gets scared, a horse snorting or a loud noise, he runs back to his bed in the tack room, so he definitely has established a safe place. Thanks for sharing him.”
Everyone at the League is thrilled when a homeless pet is adopted, and that’s especially true for pets like Mittens Jansen who have taken up residence for a longer time. Every animal deserves a home and family, and, as we know, homes can look different.

If you’re interested in learning more about our Working Cats program, just click here. To learn more about pets available for adoption, visit our adoptions page or call 303.751.5772. All adoptions (and that includes working cats) include spay or neuter surgeries, age-appropriate vaccinations, a microchip ID and a free wellness visit with a participating veterinarian.