In NYC, Feral Felines Get A Second Chance at Life as "Working Cats"

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic

Instead of giving up on feral cats that can’t be socialized as family pets, New Yorkers are giving them “jobs”- saving hundreds of feline lives along the way.

According to PETA, there are 60 to 100 million homeless domestic cats in the United States. The majority of these unfortunate felines is considered feral. In other words, while domesticated, these stray kitties are not accustomed to human contact and, more often than not, can’t be socialized as family pets. Sadly, this also makes them more likely to get euthanized and leaves them vulnerable to the many perils of the life on the street. In New York City, however, animal lovers are trying to make a change for the better- by giving feral cats jobs.

While there are many ways to help community cats live decent lives, from enrolling them to trap-neuter-return programs to feeding colonies, New Yorkers found a way to get kitties of the street but without having to socialize them for indoor life. The cats that can’t adapt to a life with humans are being “employed” by people with rodent problems as mousers. The cats get a caretaker without having to be cuddly or social, and the “employer” gets a feline exterminator for kibble. Fair trade!

Of course, this process of turning feral cats into working cats is treated the same way as pet adoptions. Feral cat rescue groups such as the NYC Feral Cat Initiative reveal that the potential caretakers need to be vetted first, as they’ll also have to offer shelter, water, food, and medical care to the cat in their “service”. The only difference between a chubby tabby and a working cat is that the later one will not sit in your lap for an ear scratch and prefer to roam around and hunt, rather than sit on the windowsill.

In cases where cats have been on the streets too long or were simply born to feral life, there’s rarely a potential for them to adapt to life as family pets. In eyes of some people, this doesn’t make them worth the effort it takes to save them. This is why the ‘working cats’ initiative is even more wonderful than it initially seems. It doesn’t require feral cats to be something they’re not for them to get the same care as pets do.

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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