A Chicago group releases feral cats to target rats

A Chicago organization is trying to address the city’s rat population with feral cats. Credit: Quinn Dombrowski

In Chicago, an organization is trying to address the city’s rat problem by releasing feral cats onto the streets. The Tree House Humane Society says it has released 1,000 feral cats onto Chicago’s streets since 2012. The effort is part of its Cats at Work program, which captures street cats, neuters them and returns them to the street.

“We’ve had a lot of our clients tell us that before they had cats, they would step outside their house and rats would actually run across their feet,” Sarah Liss of Tree House told WGN Radio.

But in an interview with the radio station, TWS Associate Editor Dana Kobilinsky explained that, according to researchers, feral cats may not solve the rat problem and can be harmful to other wildlife.

“A growing body of literature strongly suggests that domestic cats are significant predators on small mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians,” says TWS’ issue statement on feral cats.

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