Shelter offers cats to rural residents as organic pest control
May 6, 2011
NEW — 8 a.m. May 6, 2011
King County’s animal services agency is offering a back-to-nature solution to rural residents’ rodent problems: cats.
Regional Animal Services of King County is touting barn cats as a poison- and trap-free alternative to other methods to control mice and rats. Qualified residents can adopt barn cats at no charge.
The outdoor felines usually just need shelter, such as a barn, a cozy place to sleep, fresh water and food. Most barn cats tend to be feral or semitame, so people looking for a pet should look elsewhere.
“Barn cats are nearly invisible,” Glynis Frederiksen, operations manager for the agency’s Kent shelter, said in a release. “Except for the occasional dead mouse or rat they leave behind, they hide in the shadows and you’ll rarely see any evidence of them.”
Regional Animal Services of King County places barn cats in small colonies, usually in groups of four.
The cats arrive spayed or neutered, vaccinated, ear-tipped for identification and tested for feline diseases. Volunteers offer services to deliver and help owners place the cats.
Then, the felines set out to hunt mice and rats.
Rodents can be more than a nuisance on farms and ranches. The pests can contaminate livestock feed, leave behind unsanitary droppings, and chew barns and sheds. Though traps and poisons can be used to control mice and rats, the methods can cause additional hazards for people and livestock.
For more information about barn cats, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Regional Animal Services of King County at 206-296-7387.