Will Work for Food
Innovative programs give feral cats jobs and prove their value to society.
Feral cats are domestic cats that were born without human contact or handling. If these cats do not receive human contact within their first 8 weeks, humans will have a hard time taming them. According to the ASPCA, there are tens of millions of feral cats in the United States. For decades, these cats were seen as pests by some, and many were caught and killed.
But in the 1990s, a movement began. Advocates such as Alley Cat Allies, the Feral Cat Coalition and Alley Cat Rescue (who also feed feral cats) began using trap-neuter-return (TNR), which stops the growth of a colony’s size and allows the cats to live out their lives in dignity.
Feral Cats Go To Work
In 1999, Voice for the Animals Foundation (VFTA) in Venice, Calif., took another bold step. It realized that feral cats are part of our ecosystem and play an important role in controlling rodent populations and stopping the spread of diseases carried by rodents. If VFTA could find areas that needed rodent control, it could provide that area with feral cats, which would save the cats’ lives and protect humans from rodents.
VFTA’s first project was the Flower Market in Los Angeles, where it offered to provide feral cats as a way of taking care of the market’s rodent problem. It worked.
“A lot of people who worked at the flower market didn’t like cats,” says Melya Kaplan, founder and executive director of VFTA. “The flower market has a big aisle down the center leading into the loading dock. One day there was a huge cat which we had put in, and he was chasing a rat right down the center aisle. Everyone started applauding. It has actually changed peoples’ views of both ferals and cats in general.”
Click here to see CatChannel’s exclusive slideshow of working feral cats.
**Get the July 2010 issue of CAT FANCY to read the full article.**
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Will Work for Food