Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Homeless Cats Recruited to Exterminate Washington, DC, Rats

Cats Recruited to Exterminate Rats
Sure, there's more than one way to skin a rat, but in Washington, DC, some officials are going old school and teaming with a certain fuzzy feline: feral cats.

Working in conjunction with District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser's Rat Riddance program, the nation's capital will be enlisting cats though the Blue Collar Cat program to track down and kill the Mickey Mouses and Ratatouilles of the underground.

"My position [on the cats] is if it works, that helps us," Gerard Brown, manager of DC's rat control program, told the National Geographic.

Launched in January by the Human Rescue Alliance, the Blue Collar Cats program is simple. The group first acquires the cats, neuters and vaccinates them, and then releases them back into the district's concrete jungle.

If local establishments want to participate in the effort all they have to do is reach out to the group and hire one of the cats — the only requirement is that the business or homeowner agree to provide cat food and outdoor shelter.

With the program in effect now for several months, some residents and local businesses have seen positive responses.

"We used to use a lot of traps and poisons, and it never worked," K.C. Pierce, who enlisted a Blue Collar Cat dubbed "Barley," told Nat Geo. "With the cat it's 100 percent. I haven't seen a rat since we got the cat."

According to the Washington Post, the Health Department's data shows that the Federal City is at a four-year high when it comes to rats. A total of 3,286 calls reporting the trash divers have been made in 2017 — an increase of 64 percent since 2015.

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