Sunday, December 30, 2007

Working Cats

Feral cats in Los Angeles now have a better alternative than euthanization when picked up by the humane society. Previously, feral cats had little chance of leaving the shelters alive because they usually cannot be sufficiently re-domesticated enough to be suitable pets.

Recently, the LAPD, along with the animal welfare group, Voice for the Animals, instituted a Working Cats program that uses such cats to combat the rampant rat infestation in their various facilities.

Everywhere the cats have been placed, they've effectively ended the rodent problem. Though the cats kill whatever rats and mice they are able to catch, the problem is solved mainly by scent. The rodents become aware of the feline presence by the smell of the cats and their urine -- and simply move on to areas with less cat density.

In areas where the cats have been placed, officers have been assigned to feed and care for them, which supplements their rodent diet.

It's a humane solution all around: the cats are saved from starvation or euthanization and the rats are spared more grisly methods of control, such as glue traps.

It's a great idea that should be imitated in other cities wherever rodent problems exist.

Working Cats

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