At first glance, it might seem odd – the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) is putting cats to work – for businesses like wineries and farms.
The Working Cat Program was introduced by the OSPCA last fall and serves three purposes – reduce overcrowding in shelters, gives feral cats a second chance and offers pest control to businesses.
Monica Seto, manager for shelter, health and wellness at the Stouffville location of the OSPCA, says the program provides an alternate way to get feral cats out of their shelter, noting there are 100,000 feral cats roaming the GTA. (The OSPCA is a non-kill shelter.)
Businesses interested in getting feral cats for rodent control need to connect with the OSPCA through its website. In turn, the OSPCA takes cats from its shelter and places them with businesses.
“It allows the cats to go out to different homes (businesses), not your traditional homes inside a house. The cat will have free roam of the property, depending on where the cat goes out to. They provide rodent control,” Seto says.
The companies who use the cat program are responsible for daily care – food, water and shelter, she adds.
“It’s a really great alternative for the cat, for these guys that haven’t been properly socialized. It gives them a great outlet they are more comfortable with,” Seto says.
The program has been very successful, she says, noting “it gives (feral) cats a second chance.”
The OSPCA’s two main concerns for the cats involved in this program is they are free from the elements and predators.
The cats are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped, says Seto.
Erin Broadfoot from Little Beasts Brewing Company in Whitby, says she heard about the program from a post by another brewery in Ottawa.
Broadfoot says they haven’t had issues when it comes to pests.
When asked about whether or not they would be interested in using the program, she says, “totally, I’d have to talk to my business partner but personally, yes, I would.”