Chicago Is Selling Feral Cats for up to $600 to Combat Chicago’s Rat Problem

I have said it before and I’ll say it again; feral cats can be useful. There is a place in communities for feral cats. We just need to see it. This story emphasises it. It tells us that feral cats can be working cats. It tells us that people who hate feral cats are wrong. It tells us that people who kill feral cats are more than wrong, they are cruel and unthinking.

Feral cats protect brewery from rats
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Feral cats protect brewery from rats

Chicago has the biggest rat problem in the USA. Victoria Thomas is a resident of Chicago. Victoria has adopted three feral cats. She says that there were approximately 400 rats living next door to her property. She says that the rats were everywhere. When she got the cats, eventually, they disappeared, they were gone.

One animal shelter is combating the rat problem in Chicago with an environmentally friendly solution and a natural solution and that solution is feral cats.

The Treehouse Humane Society has a “cats in work programme”. They employ feral cats because they are not appropriate candidates to become part of a family and to be adopted from adoption centres. They believe that feral cats provide environmentally friendly rodent control for people.

Useful links
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The programme is successful as judged by the wait time to adopt a feral cat from their society which is 30 days. The charge is $600 for a three cat placement. That values each feral cat at $200 each. I love that. I am thrilled to bits to hear that. It places a value upon the feral cat in Chicago way above the typical value of the random bred domestic cat in America which is around $40.

These feral cats are genuinely working cats and they genuinely assist the community in ensuring that rats do not plague the location where they live.

The Empirical Brewery is a classic example of a business employing feral cats to rid themselves of a rat problem. Before they adopted feral cats the rats were biting into bags of grain leaving a hole. When a rat bites into a bag of grain they have to throw the whole bag out, so says the head brewer, Nevin McCown. This equates to about 250 pounds worth of malts or, to put it another way, about a hundred glasses of beer.

The Treehouse Humane Society have saved the lives of 160 feral cats this way. These are cats who would have no doubt been euthanised under normal circumstances.

The Empirical Brewery have not only eliminated their rat problem but they say that the cats provide them with comfort and fun. They are a pleasant addition to the work environment. I’d bet my bottom dollar that the workers enjoy their company and as a consequence work more productively.

Feral cats keep the brewery’s grain safe. How about that? Let’s celebrate the feral cat. Let’s enter into really useful agreements and collaborations with the feral cat just like the ones I have described on this page. Let’s not malign and criticise the feral cat’s existence.

Note: it is my job to always see the positive side of the existence of domestic feral and stray cats. I truly believe in the positivity of their presence in our communities. But I determinedly present a positive viewpoint of cats in order to counteract the oft declared negative new point of the media and people who dislike cats. These people do not present a balanced view. They are often ignorant of the benefits of feral cats and they often present a highly biased argument against their existence.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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8 Responses

  1. Franny Syufy says:

    The Treehouse Humane Society has set the standard for years in innovative rescue and adoption programs. Kudos to them for providing rescued feral cats for rat patrol in this brewery, as well as other businesses, and even homes.

    From the video, it appears that there is a real symbiotic relationship developing between the feral “mousers” and employees of the brewery featured in this film.

  2. kitty says:

    I had read this story earlier, glad you picked it up. There are also working cats in NYC convenience stores, but they aren’t feral. Not sure you’ve heard about NYC “bodega cats”.

  3. Dee (Florida) says:

    Finally! Some folks with some sense as well as compassion.
    I loved that every cat in the video was eartipped, indicating that TNR is alive and well in that area. Because of that, I want to assume that the “buyers” are under contract to care for and maintain the health of these cats. Hopefully, some educational instruction was given.

  4. Cat's Meow says:

    That is fantastic! Way to go!

    My biggest worry would be whether or not the cats were being fed supplemental food once the rats are under control. Too many people associate feral cats with hunting. But once the food source is gone they starve. Hopefully there’s a clause for that in the adoption contract.

  5. The problem is on the north-side because I have never seen a rat on the South side. We have feral cats.

  6. I need to contact them about some of my cats. They are semi feral and would do great in a warehouse environment.

  7. Feral cats are capable of being loyal [& I use this term lightly after all the cat has to keep some dignity]

    They are trainable, street smart and grateful for any compassion shown to them. Also_If inbreeding and cross breeding continues, as I do not forecast that this practice will stop, feral’s will be the only felines left in the world that carry the original bloodlines in the gene pool.
    This applies to any cats, feral, tigers, pumas, and so forth.
    Most natural wild cats have a less compromised immune system, which is a real benefit for these animals and their caretakers.

    Eva say’s

  1. July 27, 2016

    […] in the community, provided they’re trapped, neutered and returned to their original area. Chicago is now utilizing feral cats for rat control and Biltmore House now has a shelter stable working […]

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