TAMPA, Fla. - When Samantha Elliott starts shaking the box of kitty treats, her cats come running -- most of them, that is.
She adopted them last year from the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, not to cuddle as pets, but as "working cats." Their job is to keep mice and rats out of the warehouse where Samantha and her mom keep the fine furnishings for their Land O' Lakes business, Interior Elegance.
Elliott says before they adopted Tally, Nole, Diego, and Bella, she knew they had a rodent problem.
"Occasionally we'd be in the back corner cleaning and we'd see a rat or two. We also saw droppings on the shelves."
Not since the cats arrived.
"They're our best employees,” she exclaimed. “We've found a mouse here and there, and I don't see droppings anymore."
Humane Society of Tampa Bay CEO Sherry Silk says this is the perfect solution for cats that don't walk to be held or petted.
"Working cats are cats that were turned into a shelter, don't do really well in a home, so they have a job, whether it's at a barn or a brewery...they do rodent control and they live out their best life."
Working cats at the Humane Society have a new enclosure to stay in while they wait, with lots of places to hide, but lots of opportunities to get used to people, too.
Silk says they always have cats that need a job but need more people to employ them.
"We're always looking for a place. Landscaping companies, offices, warehouses, breweries. Those are perfect places."
Adopters like Elliott must provide food and water, and that's it. She says it's definitely a win-win for them and the cats.
"Please save a life,” she added. “I think it's well worth it. And in turn, they help you, too, as well. It's mutually beneficial."
LINK: If you'd like to find out more about the Humane Society of Tampa Bay's Working Cat program, visit https://humanesocietytampa.org/adopt/working-cats/