Chicago has released more than 1,000 feral cats onto the streets — hoping to end its long-running ranking as the rat capital of the US.
The “Cats at Work” program came to light after the Windy City was named by pest-control company Orkin as the rattiest city for the sixth consecutive year, with the Big Apple third after Los Angeles.
The Tree House Humane Society hopes its program will help replace rats with cats — insisting it is also kind to the felines who would otherwise face long stays in shelters and often even euthanasia.
“These are feral cats who wouldn’t thrive in a home or shelter environment,” the society insisted of the program, which has run since 2012.
“By placing them in Cats at Work colonies, we’re able to make sure they’re living their best lives,” it said.
While feral, the cats have all been neutered to “create a net positive impact on the small animal population of Chicago,” the society said.
And rather than just randomly released, they are put into outdoor colonies with a registered caretaker who makes sure there is food, water and shelter, the society said.
“In most cases, the cats are better cared for after placement in the Cats at Work program than they were before,” the society insisted.
The cats are all vaccinated against diseases like rabies, and are far safer than allowing rodents to run rampant, the society said.
“While feral cats do kill rats, often their pheromones are enough to scare rats away,” it said.