Your warm-and-fuzzy news of the day

Since I’m rather fond of cats, this news gave me a warm fuzzy feeling.

Philadelphia’s Animal Care and Control Team established the [Working Cats] program about four years ago to place unadoptable cats — the biters and the skittish, the swatters and the ones that won’t use a litter box — into jobs as mousers at barns or stables.

The shelter recently expanded the program to move cats that were less-than-ideal pets into urban jobs at places like factories and warehouses as a sort of green pest control. The animals are microchipped, vaccinated and free of charge.

. . .

At Bella Vista Beer Distributors, mice were gnawing on bags of chips overnight, leaving a mess and forcing staffers to throw out about 15 bags a day, owner Jordan Fetfatzes said.

They tried exterminators, but nothing worked. An employee found ACCT’s program online, and Fetfatzes eventually decided on Gary, a white male with one blue eye and one green that had “behavioral issues.” Gary wasn’t accustomed to people and would hiss from the crate. At first, Gary would stay in the office and would only go into the warehouse after hours.

As the weeks passed, he warmed up to workers and customers, and has transformed into a sweet, playful mascot with free rein of the store.

“My only complaint is sometimes he gets in the way of a transaction,” said Fetfatzes, who describes himself as a “dog guy” who’s turned in to a cat lover thanks to Gary.

Neighborhood kids come in just to say hi to him, and he loves to play soccer with a worker who balls up cash register tape and kicks it around as Gary bats at it.

As for the mice, they vanished, seemingly repelled by Gary’s scent, Fetfatzes said.

“You’re not only saving your business money, you are helping save the life of an unwanted pet,” he said. “And in this case, we made a friend.”

There’s more at the link.

Feral cats – particularly urban ones – live pretty miserably, a lot of the time.  It’s nice to see them get a second chance at a better life.

If your local animal shelter or control office doesn’t have a program like this, why not send them a link to the article, and suggest that they consider establishing their own version?



  1. +1 on feral cats.

    Our last adoption was a big grey Tabby who was rescued from a trailer park. Wonderful animal who won't even consider going outside anymore. 🙂


  2. Our local shelter has what they call the "barn cat" program for precisely the same reason. This is a fairly rural area, and they are able to successfully place 96% of the animals that come in the door, including ferals. We even import animals from the south and from Puerto Rico and find them homes.

    I don't know how many other shelters do this as of yet, but I hope the concept is growing fast.

  3. *heart melts* Awwwwwww…that's just frigging awesome. I needed to hear a story like this, right about now. Thanks Mr. Grant. 🙂

    ditto on the "hope the concept is growing fast" point.

  4. There are some feral cats that will NEVER adapt to being around people.
    But most cats are VERY adaptable….if allowed to do the adapting in
    their own way and on their own time schedule. The wife and I have adopted
    more than one "rescue from the woodpile" and they have….after the necessary
    time frame….become VERY loving animals.

  5. Our local shelter was hesitant to give out feral cats as barn cats.
    The lady who I buy hay from had to jump thru hoops to get hers EXCEPT for Bojangles. They could not wait to give up this old boy.

    Bojangles fits right in, get's along with the two rescued pit bulls and does world class mice, field rat and occasional squirrel removal.

    I never had to go the adoption route as strays just seem to claim our barn as their own. They do seem to calm down even to the dog. They get shots, flea prevention and "fixed". Coyotes pick off the stupid or overly brave ones.


  6. A good mouser cat is the best pest control possible. Got a outdoor cat when a relative passed away when I was a kid, and never saw a hint of rodent residency for the rest of his life.
    My dad bought an old house in Marin County in the late 80s, and got a rescue from the pound, who proceeded to eradicate any and all rodents from the premises.

    No poison, no traps. Just some shots and a couple bowls of food and water.

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