By Shorey Russell
When Austin Pets Alive! rescues undersocialized cats from local shelters, there are few options other than a non-traditional adoption placement. This is precisely how the Barn Cat Program was created. Contributing to Austin’s No-Kill status, our hundreds of Barn Cat placements each year not only save cats’ lives, but benefit our community as well.
In the vast majority of shelters, unsocialized – or feral – cats are euthanized. These cats present difficulties in a traditional shelter environment when it comes to living in an adoption center frequented by potential adopters or adjusting to a living in a home. APA! believes these kitties don’t deserve to die simply because they can’t go into a typical home environment. We recognize that they deserve the safety of basic shelter, access to food and water, and of course the stimulation of hunting for mice or other rodents that a barn placement provides.
APA! Barn Cats come from the euthanasia list our local shelters, and are classified as unable to be adopted to a traditional home, ineligible for Trap-Neuter-Return, and cannot be returned to their original location or habitat. This program serves as their only way to live our their lives.
APA! Ensures each of these cats are sterilized, vaccinated, microchipped, and adopted to families who appreciate ‘working cats’ for rodent control and can provide a safe, appropriate environment such as a barn, stable, garage, or warehouse. Cats are carefully integrated into their new environment before roaming free. The Austin Police Mounted Patrol adopted three APA! Barn Cats in 2014 to join their force and “patrol for rodents” in their barn.
APA! has partnered with several local shelters to accept their feral cats, ultimately contributing to higher feline live outcome rates. The program has become so successful that we’ve also added additional enclosures and added a privacy fence along the area to improve the area while they are in our care. The placement stats are quite impressive:
- 2014 – 250 adoptions
- 2015 – 223 adoptions
- 2016 YTD – 113 adoptions
Learn more about this innovative program at the upcoming American Pets Alive Conference!, November 5-7, 2016 (www.americanpetsalive.org).