Barn cats part of new humane society adoption program

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Shelly Birkelo
January 2, 2015

JANESVILLE--Annalis roamed freely in the rural Clinton horse barn that became her home three months ago.

The bell on her collar jingled as she scurried to and from hay bales, between horse stalls and among the birds on a frigid morning.

The active 3-year-old Calico cat waited to be adopted for more than half a year. She was overlooked by potential adopters until she became available through the Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin's new Barn Cat Adoption Program.

Humane society adoption counselor Alecia Gillespie knew Annalis would be a perfect fit for friend Tabatha Canarr's farm, which trains and houses race horses.

Annalis was too aggressive to be a house cat. She wouldn't let anyone hold or play with her; she clawed, and she generally didn't seem friendly, Canarr was told.

During a visit to the Janesville animal shelter, however, it took Canarr only a few minutes of playing with Annalis to know she was sassy enough to fit in at the Canarr farm.

“I thought she'd be a perfect barn cat,” Canarr said.

And she is.

Canarr said Annalis fits in well and has adapted wonderfully.

“She's very friendly, loves the horses and the dog and has become a member of the family,” she said.

Annalis is one of eight cats that have been adopted through the barn cats program, said Rachel Patterson, volunteer and event coordinator, who has been growing the humane society's adoption and foster programs.

Another four cats are ready to be adopted, she said.

Cats fitted for this adoption program are not suited for houses and adoption by families.

“They're too sassy or scared of humans,” Patterson said.

There is no cost to adopt a barn cat, and the cat will be vaccinated, altered and micro chipped by the humane society, which also provides literature to those who adopt, she said.

Canarr encourages others to adopt barn cats.

“She's absolutely no maintenance," she said of Annalis.

“I feed her twice a day, provide her a litter box in the office and toys, but she'll play with the hay, horses and dogs. I'm so glad we have her. I love her,” she said.

A heated area with food and water is all the humane society asks of its barn cat adopters, Patterson said.

“We just want to get them in a good home,” she said.

The humane society needs people to step forward because these cats need more physical and mental stimulation than the shelter can provide, Patterson said.

“They deserve a happy outcome,” she said.

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