The Ontario SPCA is looking for homes for career-oriented working cats where the cats will earn their keep as ‘mousers.’
Feral cats prefer humans around only to provide basic food and shelter instead of becoming indoor lap cats. Their lives are full due to their basic vermin-hunting ability and they can provide very economic rodent control.
Senior Director of shelter health and wellness Dave Wilson says
“We’re looking for a cat who doesn’t like the in-house, on-the-lap lifestyle, who’s a little more adventurous. This would be the ideal situation for them to apply for this job.”
The working cat’s program is piloted out of the Stouffville location but other parts of the province have similar programs.
The Guelph Humane Society in Ontario started their working cat program in 2015 and places about 50 cats each year, associate director Lisa Velt stated.
Puslinch farm owner Irene LaPoint is the perfect example of someone making use of the barn cat program. Irene found 10 rats staring at her from her chicken coop one day and knew she had a problem. So working cats Garfield and George moved onto her farm.
Garfield and George were so successful they were soon followed by Garth, Billy Bob, Ringo and Jenny. The cats are tame enough for Irene to get them to the vet once a year and to apply flea treatments. On a daily basis, the cats are low maintance. She provides food and water each morning.
In an interview with CBC.CA News Irene talked about the change to her farm that she describes as ‘unbelievable.’
“I have not seen a mouse or a rat for the longest time. A very well-fed cat is the best hunter going.”
Not only are the working cats spayed and neutered, but they’re also vaccinated and microchipped. Since Canada is battling a cat overpopulation problem, this is one option less than friendly cats have in order to escape euthanasia while at the same time providing a service to the community.
The Ontario SPCA takes in around one stray per week and so far has found working homes for 12 cats. They do need more people to come forward and adopt one of more of the cats, as their resources are a bit thin. Barns and breweries are only two of the many options ideal for the cats.
“During the winter weather, it becomes an increasing challenge for these cats trying to find suitable shelter and also access to food and water. That’s a big problem that the working cat program helps to solve for us.”
If you decide to hire a working cat, be sure to read up on how to properly acclimate the cat to it’s new home so it doesn’t run off as soon as you turn your back. There are many online articles and videos that tell how to train a professional mouser as to where it should stay on the property it’s protecting.