At the Ontario SPCA, we strive to find each and every animal that comes into our animal centres, a safe and loving home. Sometimes community cats end up in our centres and cannot be returned to their original colony site, for various reasons. Once these cats are deemed “unadoptable”, due to their lack of socialization, there are limited options for them. The Ontario SPCA believes in finding an alternative home for these cats, by giving them “jobs” as working cats!

These cats are healthy, sterilized, vaccinated, microchipped, ear tipped and in need of a new, non-traditional home environment. Some examples of these new homes we are looking for could include barns, stables, auto repair shops, woodworking shops, wineries, breweries, greenhouses/nurseries/garden centres, churches, storage facilities/warehouses. Working cats are not suited to be your typical indoor pets and, as unsocialized animals, they have no desire to be lap cats. These are working cats, former street cats who are used to outdoor life, prefer minimal to no human contact, and who will happily tend to any mouse, mole or vermin problems for the small cost of a bowl of cat food and water set out daily, as needed veterinary care and shelter in a garage, barn etc.

And because we spay/neuter these cats before they leave the Ontario SPCA, adopters never need to worry about endless litters of kittens!

Interested in adopting a working cat? Read the FAQ below and apply to adopt at the bottom of this page!

How much does it cost to adopt a working cat?

The adoption fee is waived, however we gladly accept donations to help sustain the program. You will be responsible for ongoing veterinary care (as necessary), food, water and shelter.

What do I do when I bring the cat home?

When you bring the new cat(s) home, they will need to be confined to an escape-proof room or enclosure like a tack room, garage, or XL dog crate for 2-4 weeks while they acclimate to their new surroundings. You will feed/water and clean the litter pan daily and provide a hiding spot during the confinement period. After this period of confinement, the cats will usually accept their new home and may be released. You will continue to provide daily food and water and allow them access to shelter such as your barn or garage.

Are they spayed or neutered?

Yes. All working cats come spayed or neutered, current on vaccinations, microchipped, ear tipped and treated for intestinal worms and external parasites (eg. fleas).

Will I be responsible for future vaccinations and health concerns?

Any cat you adopt from the Ontario SPCA will be current on vaccinations. Following adoption, you will be responsible for keeping the animals’ vaccinations up to date and for monitoring the animal for any future health concerns that may come up. The best way to have feral cats vaccinated or examined by a veterinarian is with the use of a humane live trap.

Do you have any friendly working cats?

No; the cats in the working cat program are not social, friendly cats or suited to be pets. They have no desire to be “lap cats” and cannot be touched, or may take a very long time to trust enough to pet. We strongly encourage adopters to offer cats in this program an independent outdoor life complemented by appropriate care and shelter like a barn or garage. On occasion, we may have a semi-feral cat go through our program that needs a special home – if you are interested in taking on a more “social” cat, please indicate this on your application.

What does a working cat require?

A working cat requires shelter in a permanent building or structure like a barn, warehouse, stable, or garage in a suitable area where they will be safe. The property should ideally be away from busy roads. Daily food and water must be provided, as well as any future medical care needed. They must also be kept confined for the initial 2-4 week relocation period to ensure a successful transition to their new home.

How long will it take to get my working cat(s) after I submit my application?

Unfortunately, because we never know when we will receive a suitable feral cat for our program and we really try to match the right cat(s) to its most appropriate home, we cannot guarantee a time frame. We could be looking for a barn etc. right away and you will get a call the next day, or it could be months before we have the right cat(s) for you.

Can I come look at, or select, my working cat?

No; the Ontario SPCA does its best in selecting working cats and matching them with their appropriate home based on the individual needs of each cat.

Do you adopt out working cats during the winter months?

Yes, possibly; if there is appropriate shelter for the cat, we will adopt out cats during the winter months at our discretion.

What would happen if we brought our working cat home and it wasn’t the right fit?

We always do our best to match the right cat to the right home, however, we won’t truly know until the cat settles into its new environment, whether its been a successful relocation or not. If the cat isn’t adjusting well to its new surroundings, please contact us and we will discuss it further with you. If the cat needs to be brought back to us, we understand and will always accept the cat back into our care. We would also consider a request to adopt another working cat if this were the case.    

Ready to adopt a working cat?

Fill out the application here!

For more information you may also contact us at

A Charitable Will Bequest is a direction in a donor’s Will that instructs their Executor(s)/Trustee(s) to leave one or more of their assets to the Ontario SPCA.

A Charitable Will Bequest is a meaningful way to reduce taxes, increase inheritances to loved ones and make a difference.

Benefits of Charitable Will Bequests include:

  • Convenient
  • Simple
  • Cost-effective
  • Tax Relief
  • Tax Planning
  • Flexible
  • Control
  • Peace of Mind
  • Satisfaction

Click here for sample bequest language.

As a not-for-profit organization funded primarily by public donations, we are especially grateful to the businesses in our communities that support animals in need.

Give at work
Your company can make a real difference in the lives of animals in your community by engaging your employees in support of the Ontario SPCA. Inspire your employees and boost team spirit while raising money to save the lives of animals across the province.

Ways to engage your employees include:

  • Matching gift programs – See if your company matches employees’ gifts!
  • Your own fundraising initiatives
  • Payroll deductions
  • Employee charitable trusts and foundations
  • Participation in event such as the Friends for Life Walk and National Cupcake Day

Company benefits
Your company will have the opportunity to align with Ontario’s premiere animal welfare organization and engage employees in the process! Employee involvement creates a community of giving back, inspires corporate team spirit, motivates people to make a real difference in their community, and builds invaluable leadership skills.

Employee benefits
Your employees will have the opportunity to support an important cause while having fun at work! By participating in support of the of the Ontario SPCA, your employees will build team-leadership skills, have opportunities for community networking and learn about the important work of the Ontario SPCA and animal welfare issues in our communities.

Contact information
To learn more about the Ontario SPCA’s employee giving program, please email or call 1-888-668-7722 ext 320.

Corporate donations
Support the Ontario SPCA today by making a corporate donation and receive a charitable tax receipt for your gift. In doing so, your company may be recognized for your support.

Make your secure corporate donation online now.

If you need additional assistance in arranging your gift, please please email or call 1-888-668-7722 ext. 320.

Corporate sponsorship
The Ontario SPCA will work with you to explore your company’s needs and find the right opportunity to ensure your business and marketing objectives are achieved. We have many opportunities available provincially and locally. Please contact or call 1-888-668-7722 ext. 320.

Our Corporate Partners
On behalf of the animals we care for and protect, we thank our community partners and sponsors for their generous and ongoing support.

Another great way of giving back to the animals is by donating gift cards directly to our branches. Our staff can then purchase essential shelter supplies on an as-needed basis. Please contact your local shelter to find out what gift cards they are able to accept and use at this time. If eligible, a gift-in-kind tax receipt for 100% of the gift card value can be provided to you.


Gift Card Examples:

  • TSC
  • Global Pet Foods
  • Pet Valu
  • PetSmart
  • Wal*Mart
  • Canadian Tire
  • Local grocery stores
  • etc...

A major gift to the Ontario SPCA can take many forms: from a one-time donation to a gift of stock; to an endowment; to a bequest. You can select the form that best suits your lifestyle and personal giving preferences.

Some people choose to give an outright gift of cash in one lump sum, while others choose to spread their donation out over time by pledging an amount and indicating the time frame in which they want to give. Major gifts can include tangible assets, like real estate, securities, and equipment. Anyone can make a major gift – individuals, families, foundations, and companies.

Major gifts are used to support our animal welfare work across the province and can be directed to your local community if you like. In some cases, a major gift to one of these areas may fund a specific project like a new facility or animal care centre.

However, many people choose to give to our Animal Urgent Care Fund - these are unrestricted gifts that allow us to respond quickly to emergency situations like a natural disaster, or even the investigation of a puppy mill where thousands of animals need to be treated and cared for until forever homes can be found.

To make a Major Gift, please use our donation form or contact our Development Manager, Leadership Giving at or 1-888-668-7722 ext. 309, to learn more about matching our unique giving opportunities with your desired level of charitable support.

See our Planned Giving page for more information on other types of major gift opportunities.