Categories: working cats

Chicago cat shelter sells groups of feral cats for up to $600 to combat city’s rat problem

The CNN video tells us that Chicago has the worst rat problem in America. A lot of people think that domestic, stray and feral cats are not very effective at catching rats. It depends upon the individual cat but the important point to note here is that we are not discussing how effective feral cats are at killing rats. We are pointing to the fact that feral cats are excellent rat deterrents. Cats drive rats away from a location simply because of their presence. That’s the effectiveness of cats in this instance and which is why a cat shelter in Chicago is selling groups of feral cats and a good price to help businesses such as this brewery who were losing expensive grain to rats. If a rat breaks into a bag of grain then that bag has to be thrown away and as the guy in the video states it’s worth money and lots of pints of beer.

Another important aspect of the brewery story is that these guys like the cats being around. They add an extra dimension to the workplace. They enhance it and make it a little bit more pleasant. Obviously you have to look after the cats but this is the small price you pay to keep the rats at bay! And it is a beautiful partial solution to the so called feral cat problem; putting them to use which benefits both cats and human.

Former feral cat keeps rats at bay in brewery. Screenshot.

TNR’ed feral cats protect a brewery from rats. Screenshot.

Please remember that sometimes embedded videos, as this one is, stop working because the original video, in this instance on YouTube, is removed or deleted for some reason or other. If the video on this page has stopped working I apologise but I do not have control over that situation.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • What a wonderful sympatico relationship! Since the ferals are from a shelter, those cats have already been vetted, gotten shots, spayed/neutered before being sold. So however many cats are bought, it will never multiply.

    The shelter wins by placing cats for a fee; people win by cats creating their own 'clan' to live a decent lifestyle while being a deterrent to rats! Think of the thousands lost with rat-infested grain, be it a brewery, bakery or foodservice entity.

    Lastly, having the cats around changes the atmosphere. Cats, even in sleep, have a calming effect. I know when I look at a cat, it just makes me smile.

    It's not a new concept, though. I refer to the U.K.'s history of having cats in the theatres, greengrocers, et al, to keep the rat population under control way back in time. Do some businesses still use rats as a deterrent in the U.K.?

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