Manatee County program helps feral cats

Behind EMS Station 5 in Manatee County, there's a shelter standing to protect some new resident workers.

EMT Richard Traugott and his paramedic partner, Sherri Pellien built the structure for feral cats.

"We came up with an idea," said Sherri Pellien.

"It's a small little structure with an elevated platform,"Richard Traugott explains. "It's part of our nature, we are always helping people and caring."

These cats don't have the disposition to be pets. When Manatee County Animal Services determines a stray cat is not adoptable, it is spayed or neutered and put into the Working Cat Program.

They go to live on farms, in barns, or near factories, churches, and homes with a lot of land, and they help control pests like rodents.

However, humans do play a role in their well-being.

"You just have a regular feeding schedule. You wake up in the morning, put a little bit of cat food out for them. You pet the cat for a while, de-stress and run your calls," said Traugott.

Manatee County Animal Services is working to find more areas to place their working cats.

"Anywhere where somebody is going to actually take the responsibility of caring for these cats and provide them shelter and do all of those wonderful things," said Manatee County Animal Services Chief Sarah Brown said.

Brown said it's worth the effort for the work done by the cats to curb rodent populations.

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"We are really excited to expand it and see what other businesses would really love to have that wonderful animal to care for and that love to receive from the cat, but realize they won't necessarily come into their home," she said.

For more information about the Working Cat Program visit or call 941-742-5933.