Richard Medina of the Los Angeles Distributing Company recently hired two new guards to keep intruders from pillaging the food and drink stored in one of his warehouses. They seemed lazy at first, and one of them ran off, but the one who stayed behind is excelling at his job: protecting the warehouse from rodents.
This new hire (named simply “Black Cat”) is one of many neutered feral cats that are part of a “no-kill” shelters’ program designed to spare the lives of feral cats. They are given to businesses and individuals to help control pests. They are not considered pets, but rather “working cats.”
Medina received his animals through a working cat program at the Los Angeles shelter of the Best Friends Animal Society. This organization, based in Kanab, Utah, is trying to end unnecessary pet euthanasia.
“We’re guided by a desire to make this a country where that doesn’t happen anymore,” Gregory Castle, CEO of Best Friends told USA Today.
Since its inception last year, the program has placed 75 cats, and other shelters around the country are doing the same: the Animal Humane Society in Minneapolis-St. Paul has placed 336 cats since January 2015, Maryland’s Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter 54 since December 2016, and The Arizona Humane Society has saved 730 cats from euthanasia since January 2014 — mostly those with behavioral issues that prevent them from living indoors.
Though the number of animals euthanized in shelters has been decreasing, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals about 860,000 cats are still killed each year. Many city shelters lack adequate space and a number of the animals are considered too wild to make good house pets.
A last-chance solution is the working cats program. Many cities have programs that trap, neuter and release feral cats but in some areas, that’s either impossible or illegal, and working cat programs are the only alternative to euthanasia.
“There has to be a place in society for these cats,” Melya Kaplan, the founder of the Voice For The Animals Foundation in Los Angeles told USA Today. “They have no other option.”
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