Washington, D.C. recruiting feral cats to deal with rising rat population

Washington, D.C. recruiting feral cats to deal with rising rat population

[Ed. – Back to the future — or vice versa.  A 3,000+-year-old public health measure makes a comeback in our nation’s capital.]

His name is Miso, and he’s a cat with his work cut out for him. Miso’s new home is an alley in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington D.C., and it’s teeming with rats. More than 50 trash and recycling bins line the alley behind a stretch of row houses, and almost every plastic bin has a fist-sized hole where a rat has chewed through. At dusk, dozens of rats scurry across the alley, diving into the holes to collect their dinner.

That’s what Miso is here to help with. He’s a feral cat, born on the streets and brought here not as a pet, but to do a job. He’ll spend about three weeks in the covered cage being fed and sheltered as an incentive to stick around once he’s released from the cage—when, if he follows the human plan, he’ll start catching rats.

Feral cats are just one kind of animal that some cities are embracing for their rat-killing prowess. In New York City, a group of rat-hunting terrier, dachshund, and mutt owners patrol the streets.

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