- The process begins with taking unsocialized cats that would otherwise be euthanized from shelters, and getting them neutered, microchipped, and vaccinated.
- The cats are then brought to the new environment, a business or residence with a rodent problem, and the owners sign adoption contracts.
- They are then kept in a large holding cages for one month where they become accustomed with the sights, smells, and sounds of their new location. This is called grounding, or re-colonizing, the cats (acclimating them to their new homes).
- Once the cats are acclimated their new environment, they are released into their territory where they will remain. The cats are given fresh food and water by their new owners, which is mandatory because they do not eat the rats. It is the odor of the cats that drives away rodent populations.
WORKING CATS® HISTORY:
The program was first implemented in 1999, at the Flower Mart in downtown Los Angeles. The area was plagued by rats, and the extermination methods (spraying poison) were not only making the humans sick, but it also did not solve the rat problem. Melya Kaplan brought in sterilized unsocialized cats, and the rat situation was brought under control.
Photo: Melya Kaplan at the Flower Market
The program has been successfully implemented in the Flower Mart, Crossroads School Campus, the Los Angeles Police Department (Wilshire, Foothill, and Southeast Divisions), the Self Realization Lake Shrine in the Pacific Palisades, and various residences and small businesses.
Photo: The Self-Realization Lake Shrine