Kitties for Hire Program Seeks Placement for Unsocial Cats

In need of a cat for your barn or shop? Consider adopting a "Kitty for Hire!" The goal of the program is to place cats that are unadoptable through our regular adoption program into outbuilding living arrangements with committed caregivers.  This program saves the lives of unsocial cats brought to our shelter, and may also provide a rodent control and deterrent benefit for approved applicants.

Lip and Cam go to their new home as Kitties for Hire

Read a statement about the Kitties for Hire Program in response to recent media attention


  • Kitties for Hire will be vaccinated, microchipped and spayed or neutered.
  • Caregivers must be committed to providing food, water and shelter from the elements.
  • Caregivers must own property or have landowner's approval.
  • Cats must be securely confined to their new location for 3 weeks prior to release. (You may borrow an acclimation cage.)
  • We will not place Kitties for Hire near bird habitats or ecologically sensitive areas.

Where can Kitties for Hire be utilized?

  • barns/farms
  • warehouses
  • storage facilities
  • businesses

How to adopt a Kitty for Hire:

  1. Complete a Kitties for Hire Caregiver Application.  A Kitties for Hire Caregiver Application can be downloaded and emailed, or applicants can come down to the shelter in person. A staff member will counsel caregivers on Kitty for Hire acclimation and continued basic care.
  2. For more information, or to email your completed application, please contact us at A staff member will contact you within 24 hours.
  3. Availability of Kitties for Hire is unpredictable. If there are no cats immediately available, approved applicants will be put on a waiting list.
  4. There is no adoption fee for qualifying Kitties for Hire.

Clarification of the Kitties for Hire Program- February 28, 2018

We’d like to clarify some important details about MCAS support for the Cats Safe at Home program, and how we implement the highly-specialized Kitties for Hire program.

Multnomah County Animal Services is a proud partner of Cats Safe at Home, which is a local coalition of the Audubon Society of Portland, Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon, Bonnie L. Hays Animal Shelter of Washington County, and Multnomah County Animal Services.  This unique partnership of animal shelters, feral cat advocates, and bird advocates is the only known coalition of its kind in the nation. It is built upon the shared interests of each group to reduce the cat overpopulation, spay & neuter feral and owned cats, and to protect birds and wildlife.  The initiative encourages cat owners and new adopters to pledge to keep cats in a state of confinement, either indoors, in cat catios, or in other secure enclosures to keep them from free-roaming, and potentially preying upon birds and other wildlife. 

While we honor and apply the principles of Cats Safe at Home for all standard adoptions, Kitties for Hire is the specialized, pragmatic solution to a bioethical dilemma faced by many animal shelters who have created similar programs in response. We seek adoption placements for unsocial cats, who are not comfortable with people, and not suitable for adoption into a home. Without the Kitties for Hire Program, many of these cats would otherwise face euthanasia as their only available outcome.  Our primary interest in offering the Kitties for Hire program is to save the lives of these healthy cats when all other possible placements are unavailable or exhausted.  Placement of cats through the Kitties for Hire program is an uncommon exception to our adherence to the Cats Safe at Home program.

Multnomah County Animal Services seeks to balance the need to protect birds and wildlife with its responsibility to save the lives of animals in its care.

The Kitties for Hire program is used only as a last resort for a very limited number of cats for which euthanasia would be the only other alternative.  We acknowledge that the placement of cats outdoors constitutes a known ecological impact, including the risk of injured or killed birds and wildlife. The program seeks to mitigate potential threats to birds and wildlife by pre-screening where cats will be placed, and limiting the number of cats adopted through the program.

The “Kitties for Hire” program accounts for approximately fifty (50) cats, or 3.6% of the 1393 cats adopted from Multnomah County Animal Services in 2017.  The population of cats is in decline outdoors and in local shelters across the region, thanks largely to the positive impact of regional spay & neuter programs such as Spay & Save, administered by the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland (ASAP), of which Multnomah County Animal Services is a founding member and participant.  We anticipate the number of cats adopted through this program to reduce each year, and not to expand. 

Each application for the Kitties for Hire program is carefully screened to assess the property and enclosure where the cats will be sheltered, and their proximity to any ecologically-sensitive areas or bird habitats. The majority of Kitties for Hire are placed as barn cats in rural settings.  For applications in or near the metropolitan area, the impact of placing these cats near environmental overlays is carefully considered.  We will not place Kitties for Hire near bird habitats or ecologically-sensitive areas.

Thank you to our stakeholders in the community for your interest and concern.