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Rescue Cats to the Rescue Image Credit: People
Rescue Cats to the Rescue Image Credit: People

Rescue Cats– to the Rescue!

As the manager of Greenstreet Gardens, a lawn-and-garden center in Alexandria, Va., Tim Williams has hired plenty of employees— but his favorite might be Rue, a 2-year-old feral rescue cat with a knack for catching rodents.

Madison Roberts

“She knows exactly where the mice like getting into the grass seed,” says Williams, who adopted Rue a year and a half ago through Washington, D.C.’s Humane Rescue Alliance. “She does her job very well. There are a lot of benefits to having a cat that’s used to being outside.”

Which is exactly what the staff at the HRA were hoping people would say when they launched Blue Collar Cats (humanerescuealliance.org/ bluecollarcats) in March 2017, an initiative aimed at finding feral cats homes by putting them to work with businesses and in neighborhoods with rodent problems. “We were overwhelmed by the response,” says HRA president and CEO Lisa LaFontaine. “Seventy percent of the calls came from the homeowners who loved the idea of an outdoor cat that would deter rodents.”

Most of the cats in the program were once feral strays who didn’t respond well to life caged in a shelter. “They’d be stressed out because they weren’t used to being inside,” says LaFontaine. “Then they’d get sick or depressed.” But “put to work” in locations where they don’t feel confined, the cats have thrived. So far 205 cats have been placed in area restaurants, churches, college campuses and distilleries—where owners provide them with food and water. HRA, which runs the program on donations, has the cats spayed or neutered and pays for shots and medical nee


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