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.
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.
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.