Putting Wild Cats to Work

There are millions of feral and stray cats across America. Some cities have found a humane way to coexist with them — give them work.

New York City has tens of thousands of stray and feral cats

Instead of euthanizing, New York City is putting thousands of feral cats to work to solve the city’s rampant rodent problem. Kathleen O’Malley helps run the NYCFCI-- New York City Feral Cat Initiative. She tells Brut that the Mayor's Alliance believes that a working cat program is an excellent alternative to traditional pest control. Cats offer a natural nontoxic and pretty low-cost method of deterring rodents. If a cat kills a rodent, that is nature.

In exchange for food and shelter, the cats deter rodents and other unwanted pests from businesses and homes. The cats literally have nowhere to go. The shelter doesn't want them because they may have to euthanize them if they can't find placement for them. NYC Feral Cat Initiative is happy to work with homeowners or businesses who want to actually adopt these feral cats. It's what the industry calls a working cat situation, where the cats are brought to live in a backyard, for example, and they defend that backyard just as they defended that empty lot against rodents.

New York City has tens of thousands of stray and feral cats. Left unfixed, they breed prolifically. Trap-neuter-return, which is the humane and effective method of reducing the feral cat population by trapping humanely, neutering, and then putting them back outside because that's really the only life they're suited for. Then the cats stop breeding, but they stay in place and they are deterring the rodents in the neighborhood, which people who own homes appreciate. And over time, the population of cats grows old and dwindles, and eventually there may not be too many cats around. Instead of putting them to sleep, the city employed a compassionate strategy. Thousands of cats have been rehabilitated by the NYCFCI. Local officials hope this approach spreads to other cities.


15/02/2019 12:21 PMupdated: 21/06/2019 6:30 PM


  • Pepe L.
    01/11/2019 18:14

    Love this!

  • Ellie B.
    31/10/2019 20:19

    Sam East

  • Monique S.
    31/10/2019 07:11

    så wholesome

  • Mike M.
    31/10/2019 02:49

    Do not listen to thsi stupid Amwerican. She knows nothing. just another dum yank interfering in things here.

  • Mike M.
    31/10/2019 02:48

    nah just shoot them. they make good hats

  • Sherry J.
    31/10/2019 01:29

    These don't act like feral cats..

  • Rupak M.
    29/10/2019 20:00

    those are some chonky cats. Doubt they’d move.

  • Autumn M.
    29/10/2019 17:58

    This is amazing

  • Mikey B.
    29/10/2019 15:52

    It'll back fire. No more wild birds in the area.

  • Environmentalist
    29/10/2019 15:12

    . We need birds; we do not need cats outdoors.

  • Lenard M.
    29/10/2019 14:39

    The premise is wrong. As with any "wild" population, numbers are held in check by the availability of prey. Hence, unless every cat were trapped and neutered, the problem will not abate. Since this is not possible, those that have kittens will have kittens with a higher survival rate since there'll be more rodents as the cats in this program die off. This program may afford a temporary blip in feral cat numbers, but the operative word is temporary. Good luck with neutering every feral/stray in the city....

  • Signe L.
    29/10/2019 12:54

    , tænk at have en kat ansat <3

  • America P.
    29/10/2019 12:46

    "Unfortunately, Trap, Neuter, Release programs have been shown to fail to reduce feral cat populations while simultaneously maintaining feral cats on the landscape, where they contribute to wildlife and public health risks."

  • Paul K.
    29/10/2019 12:40

    Some people still abuse cats, putting them out on the streets in the rain and snow. Cats live longer if simply kept indoors because they are not "natural" or native. Sadly, in the continental US alone, cats kill as many as 3,700,000,000 wild songbirds annually. This increases insect-borne diseases and destroys ecosystems. If a city has rats, it needs to pick up its garbage and then provide more habitat for eagles, hawks, and owls. (y)

  • Norbert J.
    29/10/2019 11:54

    So along rat infestation, now comes the cat infestation? How about people who are allergic to or hate cats and their fur everywhere? Better use ContraPest

  • Andrea T.
    29/10/2019 11:35

  • Riv E.
    29/10/2019 11:33


  • Rejie A.
    29/10/2019 11:30

    Fat cats cant chase rodents

  • Ed A.
    01/03/2019 02:54

    Tell PETA about it

  • Kuldeep S.
    28/02/2019 16:19

    U r cat