The Tree House Humane Society has placed two- to three-cat teams outside of Chicago homes and businesses as a way to keep the rodent population under control and the city healthy, calling it a “green” solution to the problem of the fins.
In the city of the United States, Chicago, more than 1,000 well-equipped warriors have been deployed in the fight against rats: wild cats.
Through its Cats at Work program, the Tree House Humane Society has placed teams of two to three cats outside of homes and businesses as a way to keep the rodent population under control and the city healthy, and considers it a solution. “green” for the soul problem.
It seems to work: so far, the organization said it has placed more than 1,000 wild cats and that “there is currently a long waiting list” that extends over several months for more feline help.
Rats and mice are responsible spreading more than 35 different diseases worldwide, including plague, hantavirus, and various types of hemorrhagic fevers, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Chicago headed the American pest control firm, Orkin’s Top 50 list of fastest cities for the sixth consecutive year in 2020. The list bases its ranking on the number of new rodent treatments carried out in commercial and residential spaces.
In response, the city’s streets and sanitation department says it has distributed more than 1.5 million “super cars” to prevent rats from eating garbage and has put rodenticides in rat burrows.
But “poison, gasification and trapping are ineffective short-term solutions” to a rat problem, the Tree House Humane Society said, and putting a poison can endanger pets and children.
To create a more viable solution, Tree House launched Cats at work in 2012 to help cats that had been trapped, vaccinated, spayed or spayed but could not be “reintegrated into their former colonies,” either because the building had been demolished or the location had become dangerous.
Since cats live and work outdoors, the program also helps provide “feral cats that would not thrive in a home or shelter environment,” the organization says.
“The Cats At Work program is Tree House’s mission in action,” Raissa Allaire, the group’s executive director, told Al Jazeera.
“By empowering local businesses and our caregiver communities, we can help cats who have often been ignored in rescue and capture efforts, neutralization and release,” he added.
People request and pay a fee starting at $ 165 per cat to place animals away from home or business.
Tree House offers secluded outdoor shelters, trash cans, outdoor heating pads and a bowl of heated water for Chicago’s cold winters.
Owners are responsible for providing cats with food, clean water and medical care if needed.
Cats do not go inside, but patrol around the perimeter of rats, and while they kill some of them, “often their pheromones are enough to scare away rats,” Tree House said.
Chicago isn’t the only place in the United States that has resorted to cats to fight the rat problem.
The New York City Feral Cat Initiative helps volunteers care for “community cats” and launched a program at the Jacob K Javits Convention Center in 2016 with wild cats to help keep rats out.