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.


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


  • Pauline R.
    03/12/2020 22:59

    dad will be happy if mochi actually does her job at home.

  • L. B.
    03/12/2020 17:13

    Cats are great for mice and small rodent control. However for the super rats that inhabit NYC, one big cat will be needed. These ferals can't handle a city rat.

  • Marc J.
    03/12/2020 16:57

    Hawaii tried this with mongooses...

  • Johnathan '.
    03/12/2020 16:07

    Them NYC rats aint going down without a fight.

  • Taylor W.
    03/12/2020 13:12

    How can you keep cats for work when, the restaurants , and the rats have eaten all of them? I have Rats bigger that the largest cats there.

  • Robertö K.
    03/12/2020 05:01

    Can I get a cat for free?

  • Jeanette C.
    03/11/2020 22:04

    What do you guys think about this??

  • Lucinda L.
    03/11/2020 19:20

    Always had cats before, none now. Now I have mice. Cats earn their keep. Yes, Disney has a bunch of stray cats. They take care of them and vet them, but they do the job.

  • Terry V.
    03/11/2020 17:30

    New York is a dump....

  • Hyun Y.
    03/11/2020 05:14

    Issue is strays will purge everything else too not just rodents lol. Plenty of studies where feral cats are driving extinction at alarming rates.

  • Brielle L.
    03/11/2020 02:56


  • Eddie A.
    03/10/2020 20:31

    but they kill the native bird population.

  • Kelly S.
    03/10/2020 10:15

    The Black Plague was started when the Cat hating King had all the cats “removed” and the rats ran wild. You all need feral cats......

  • Daniel M.
    03/10/2020 01:50

    First it was the Dolphin training program.. now this

  • Christina A.
    03/09/2020 14:47

    Sounds good!

  • Marlissea B.
    03/09/2020 13:35

    Can I drop my car off, please

  • Dorothy S.
    03/09/2020 11:41

    One thing he got right

  • Claude D.
    03/09/2020 02:29

    How common sense becomes genius. PR.

  • Don W.
    03/09/2020 01:23

    I've seen MTA rats that would beat any of those cats silly. Still, it's a really good plan.

  • Raphael D.
    03/08/2020 23:23

    they should do the same with homeless people. cut off their nuts and give them guns to defend the streets

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