Humane Society helps 'working cats' not fit for adoption find jobs

The Humane Society of Tampa Bay is helping to find jobs for cats that may not be best fit for family life, but perfect for catching mice. These feisty felines are known as working cats.

Debbie Canton estimates she has about 200 goats on her Thonotosassa property. For the last five years, Grady Goat Farm, has been a sanctuary for rescued goats and gives back through the Grady Goat Foundation.

"We do goat yoga to raise money for our foundation. We support children facing adversity," explained owner Debbie Canton.

In early March, three cats came to live on the farm, and their job has been keeping rodents out of the barn and away from the food stored there.

"They have not brought me any gifts per-say, but I haven't seen any when I go in the barn at night or anything early in the morning, so I think it's working," Canton said.

The trio was adopted from the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. The felines who live in the enclosure are waiting for their whiskers to be put to work.

"This is really an innovative way to save lives," said Christine McLarty, public relations manager for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.  "These are cats that otherwise wouldn't have been able to go into a home for a good adoption situation. So instead of euthanizing or instead of doing something dramatic, we want to give them this opportunity, give them this a second chance at life."

The program was one of the first in the state, and we are told it has saved hundreds of feral cats. Their personalities may not be the warmest, but their natural instincts make the arrangement mutually beneficial.

"We have breweries, different restaurants behind the scenes and the outdoor areas that they've been, different warehouses, garages, barns, that kind of environment where they can be indoor, outdoor and preferably do a little pest control," McLarty said.

All the owners have to do is provide food, water and shelter, and the Humane Society takes care of everything else.

Friday, Grady Goat Farm welcomed a fourth working cat to the barn. Newcomer Bailey wasted no time sniffing and exploring her new home. Canton said the arrangement has been a win-win. 

"I think she's going to fit right in," she said.