Cats Hard at Work
Glitter is a multi-tasking, amazing cat. He’s not only a real charmer who loves people and other pets, he’s also a member of the mouse patrol at a farm in Freeland, MD. Glitter is one of over 150 cats BARCS has successfully placed through its Working Cats Program, which finds permanent homes for cats not suitable for traditional adoption. Timber Brook Farm’s Chelsea Whitaker says Glitter has been a rock star mouser, along with two other cats her farm has adopted from BARCS.
“One time Glitter caught two mice at once and I was sold!” she says. The option of barn homes isn’t entirely new for animal shelters. But BARCS has expanded the concept of alternative placement, also finding permanent residence for cats at businesses, workshops, shipyards and even breweries! Tom Foster, co-owner of Diamondback Brewing Company, says he called BARCS about two years ago, seeking a solution to mice that had been drawn by the grain at his Locust Point brewery.
“We wanted a natural solution...We didn’t want to use any pesticides or poisons…We had heard about the Working Cats Program. We said why not give it a try?” BARCS found the perfect answer for Diamondback Brewing: a gorgeous kitty named Inky, jet black with green eyes. Inky went to work, naturally reducing the rodent population with his hunting instincts. Tom says he hasn’t seen a mouse since.
Romeo is another Working Cat from BARCS who lives at an educational wood shop called “A Workshop of Our Own,” in Woodberry. The work shop’s Director, Sarah Marriage says, “He…brings a lot of joy to the shop and the people in it.” She adds, “…It’s great to be able to help BARCS. I was overjoyed when I discovered there was a program like this.”
Like Glitter and Inky, Romeo has become comfortable in his surroundings and has grown to be social, friendly and loving. And Romeo is so photogenic, he’s a big favorite on the work shop’s Instagram page. The search for these alternative homes never ends, so BARCS needs your help to find more of them. Says BARCS Alternative Placement Coordinator J. Crosson, “We definitely need the community to adopt working cats…It doesn’t have to be a barn; just somewhere where the cats have the space to do what they want to do with a little more freedom, and not feel the pressure to be a family pet.”
There are lots of cats and lots of personalities. BARCS works to find the right fit. The shelter delivers the kitties to their new homes after they’ve been spayed or neutered, microchipped, and vaccinated. It’s all free. When it comes to homeless animals, few issues are black and white. Cats that aren’t good candidates for traditional adoption are a real shade of gray. They need special consideration in finding a perfect home. With over 150 cats now successfully placed as working cats, that’s what you call thinking outside the litter box!
Want to meet Glitter, Inky and Romeo and see these working cats in action? Just watch this short video.
Thank you to Deborah Stone Hess for writing this blog post and volunteering to help BARCS create a series of videos and blog posts to help better explain our programs.