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Chicago uses 1,000 feral cats to tackle rat explosion

  • Published at 12:48 pm May 13th, 2021
Cat feline

The US city has found a solution to its rats problem

More than 1,000 well-equipped warriors have been deployed in the US city of Chicago to combat its rat problem: feral cats. 

The Tree House Humane Society kicked off the program to release feral felines into areas experiencing rat problems.

The shelter says only rescued cats who cannot thrive in a home or shelter environment, or cannot be reintegrated into their former colonies, are used for the Cats at Work program.

The group said they initiated the project as a “green” humane solution, according to media reports. 

It only released the feral cats that find it difficult to live in a home or shelter environment. 

The project removes sterilized and vaccinated feral cats from hostile environments and avoids the use of rat poison and dangerous traps. 

According to the animal shelter, such chemical and mechanical methods are “ineffective short-term solutions” that can be “dangerous to children, pets and the environment.”

It said: “By placing them in Cats at Work colonies, we’re able to make sure they’re living their best lives.”

“Property and business owners provide food, water, shelter, and wellness to the cats who work for them. In most cases, our Cats at Work become beloved members of the family or team,” the animal shelter said in its website.

Sarah Liss of Tree House Humane Society told the media: “We’ve had a lot of our clients tell us that before they had cats, they would step outside their house and rats would actually run across their feet.” 

“The cats are actually deterring them [rodents] with their pheromones,” Liss said. “That’s enough to keep the rats away."

Chicago has been named the rattiest city for six consecutive years on pest control company Orkin’s list.

Since 2012, the Tree House Humane society has placed over 1,000 feral cats onto Chicago streets.

Chicago has been facing rat problems for decades now. In 1977, a $1 bounty was offered for rats in the city as part of a “war on rats” after a borough official estimated that the rat population in one constituency outnumbered its 85,000 human population, The New York Times reported.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, suburban areas have been witnessing a spike of rodent population. Lack of food even forced the rats to resort to cannibalism.

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