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Shelter in Chicago Fights Rodents by Releasing 1,000 Neutered Cats on City Streets

Joe Akins
May 15, 2021
06:40 P.M.
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In 2020, Chicago was named the rat capital of the states for the sixth consecutive year. Find out what this animal shelter decided to do to combat the aggressively growing rodent population.


Modern problems require modern solutions, and for this Chicago animal shelter, the Tree House Humane Society, they have tackled an age-old problem with the most natural solution yet.

For many years, the city recently has found itself battling with a rodent problem like never before. So much so that it was named the rat capital of the country for the sixth consecutive year in 2020.

Photo of a cat living in a cardboard box. | Photo: Shutterstock


In a bid to rid the city of its rodent problem, the Tree House Humane Society thought of the oldest trick in the book. They released 1000 feral cats onto the streets after neutering them.

Explaining their interesting solution to the rat population, the animal shelter released a statement. They said: “These are feral cats who wouldn’t thrive in a home or shelter environment....we’re able to make sure they’re living their best lives.”

Cute tabby kitten sat on the breakfast table looking up | Photo: Getty Images


Aptly titled the Cats at Work program, the release of the feral cats is done in a systemic manner. The animal shelter places two or three cats at a time into a residential or commercial setting where they would go about the serious business of rodent control.

The shelter went on to explain that the program provides a win-win situation for both the cats and the communities that they protect. The cats avoid being euthanized or staying at animal control centers, and the communities enjoy the absence of rodents.

Content cat lying while looking into camera. | Photo: Shutterstock


While Tree House’s initiative is interesting and practical, the program is not new as the shelter first started in 2012. Since launching, they have released 1000 cats onto the streets of Chicago.

The cats are not left to fend for themselves entirely while they are at work. Business owners around and in the communities feed them and provide them with water and shelter in a heartwarming way of saying thank you.

Cat standing in the street. | Photo: Shutterstock


According to the shelter’s statement, some of the cats have become crowd favorites and even have Instagram pages dedicated to them and the great work that they do.

Many would assume that the cats control the rodent population by killing the rats. According to the shelter’s spokesperson, they do so by deterring the rats with their pheromones. City residents can even apply to get a cat online.

Image of two cats on a ledge | Photo: Getty Images


Chicago is not the only city that has found itself in a large-scale stand-off with vermin. This March, Australia revealed that its cities were plagued with rodents destroying crops and many other things.

However, rather than resort to feline help, the state government authorized the use of the anti-coagulant bait bromadiolone. Bromadiolone is currently outlawed for field use in the country.

Where large human populations reside, it is not unusual to find a rodent population closely behind. People will continue to see the new remedies that rise as time passes.