Police were ordered to stop feeding a stable cat because the cat food was an unnecessary expense as the cat should find his own food.
Western Australia: There are mounted police in the Western Australia police force. Of course the horses are stabled and of course there has to be a stable cat. He is Lewis and he is very cute. And he is very useful because he is seen to be munching on rodents. He’s effective. He’s a genuine working cat. It is nice too that horses and cats get on well usually. The horse in the photo seems to like Lewis. Therefore Lewis provides companionship for the horses too.
The police buy him cat food as remuneration for his work. It costs less than AUS$10 per week. That’s a bit more than an Australian dollar a day. It sounds pretty cheap to me but the powers that be, those who control the police budget, have deemed the expense too much and they have ordered the mounted police to stop feeding Lewis. They also hope that Lewis will catch more rodents if he is starving. I am not sure that it will work and in any case it is a bit cruel and mean. After all Lewis is doing useful work. He has earned his food. Nonetheless that is the management’s decision.
The management felt that Lewis was not working hard enough it seems and was more a pet than a working cat. He needed to justify the expenditure of taxpayers’ money.
The mounted police themselves have vowed to pay for his food themselves out of their wages. This is a nice response. Also the public funding of his food will be scaled back slowly.
Comment: It is very nice to see a genuine working cat appreciated amongst the employees of a government department. To even think about removing his food is petty. Either Lewis is effective or he is not. If he is ineffective as a rodent catcher then he is a pet and he should be treated as such and his food bought by the employees. However, as far as I can tell he is effective in his role and therefore he should be rewarded and feed from the general police budget. Perhaps this is a PR exercise to show the public that the police are serious about budget controls or perhaps some cat haters have complained.