Saluti Cellars winery. View from guest house. Great wine. Great view. Can't ask for more.
I have always felt that feral cats can be useful and put to use rather than seen as a pest to be put down. It is a mind-set, an attitude. I have written about this before. Of course it is difficult to place relocated feral cats. Some people think that it does not work. Here are two more articles about (a) barn cats and (b) relocating feral cats.
I have just read a nice, positive article on the Lodi News Sentinel website. It is always nice to see a positive attitude to feral cats and a bit of lateral or imaginative thinking that has the goal of minimizing death and maximizing life!
I sometimes feel that the feral cat has almost no place in the West. It is simply not wanted. Well, there are lots of them in the United States and as they can't and should not be eradicated let's try and put them to use. Let's remind ourselves that the reason the wildcat was initially domesticated 10,000 years ago was as a mouser and snake catcher. The cat was a utility animal. Going back to basics can put us back on the right track. We tend to lose sight of what is best for us. You know what they say when a person takes a written examination: keep reading the question (to make sure that you are answering it).
One of the stalwarts of feral cat rescue is Debra Webster who runs Animal Outreach. She operates in a region of California called "the Mother Lode". I find that name very interesting. I think it is based on gold deposits in the rock of the Sierra Nevada of California.
Well, Webster's program of rehoming feral cats is a gold-standard program. Sometimes feral cats that have been spayed and neutered cannot be returned to where they used to live because of safety concerns. People don't like feral cats and they poison or shoot them or the nice lady who looked after them is no longer able to do the work.
One of Webster's success stories is rehoming fifteen feral cats to the Saluti Cellars in El Dorado County, a wine producer. The cats are employed to keep down the gopher population. I hope this relocation continues to be successful. Apparently wineries are very suitable for feral cats because they are fenced to keep deer and coyotes out. This helps to keep feral cats in and protect them. This must also suit other people: neighbors of the winery who might not be so enlightened about feral cats.
Saluti Cellars should be praised for using feral cats. They have a fantastic facility and I'd love to spend a few days there.
Feral cats are not able to survive solely by catching gophers! This tells us that they are still dependent on humans. Keepers of feral cats that are earning their keep need to house them in barns etc. and make sure they have another source of food and are healthy. It is a fair trade. It saves lives and makes business sense.