Sunday, October 23, 2016

Stray cat patrol: Feral felines deployed in NYC war on rats

Sylvester, a feral cat, sits in a loading dock at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016 in New York. Multitudes of feral cats roam New York City's nooks and crannies, and some now have a practical purpose: getting rid of rats. The NYC Feral Cat Initiative trains volunteers to trap wild cats that multiply and become a nuisance; after spaying, neutering and vaccinations, some end up serving as rodent exterminators in places like the Javits. (AP Photo/Verena Dobnik)

NEW YORK (AP) — Multitudes of feral cats roam New York City's concrete jungle, and some now have a practical purpose: They're helping curb the city's rat population.
A group of volunteers trained by the NYC Feral Cat Initiative traps wild cat colonies that have become a nuisance or been threatened by construction, then spays or neuters and vaccinates them. The goal is to return them to their home territory, but some end up in areas rife with rats.
Feline rat patrols keep watch over city delis and bodegas, car dealerships and the grounds of a Greenwich Village church. Four cats roam the loading dock at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, where food deliveries and garbage have drawn rodents for years.
"We used to hire exterminators, but nature has a better solution," said Rebecca Marshall, the sustainability manager at the 1.8-million-square-foot center. "And cats don't cost anything."...

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