Operation Catnip advocates for and provides programs and services for community cats and their caregivers through sterilization, education, and collaboration.
Operation Catnip's Working Cat Program places under-socialized cats in non-traditional homes such as barns, farms, businesses, warehouses, breweries, nurseries, and more! Our cats are not your typical snuggly lap cats, and prefer a life of freedom and independence. Our program saves these "unadoptable" cats from shelters or rescues where traditional adoption is not in the stars for them, and gives them a live outcome in a home where they are valued and appreciated just as they are!
Our cats are housed on-site in an outdoor Catio. This provides them with safe access to outdoor stimuli, where they are also protected from the elements. The space is large enough to house up to 14 adult cats, filled with multiple levels, shelving, platforms, hiding boxes, and climbing posts. Here, the cats decompress and await placement as Working Cats. Volunteers tend to the cats daily, keeping their space clean and their food and water fully stocked.
When placing the cats, we prioritize those that have been with us the longest. While the Catio is as cat-friendly as we can make it, what these cats really need to thrive is freedom, and it’s important to us to keep their length-of-stays as short as possible. We do allow adopters to state preferences for cats, but in general, we choose them for our adopters. We also try to keep cats who came from the same original location together, as they are more likely to stay in their new homes when placed with a familiar friend. With few exceptions, we place our Working Cats in pairs or more.
Adopters can see available Working Cats on our website, but in-person visits to the Catio to choose cats are not permitted, given that the cats are not likely to show much in the way of “purr-sonality,” and such visits are stressful on them. Trust that our team will make the best possible decision for you when choosing Working Cats!
Adopters are required to commit to a minimum two-week acclimation period to help the cats adjust to their new home. You can learn more about acclimation on our website: www.ocgainesville.org/working-cat-program.