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HRA’s Blue Collar Cats Program Celebrates Two Years and 200 Cats Saved

Jersey came to the Humane Rescue Alliance as a stray at just 8 months old. This young cat had lived outside her entire life, with little to no socialization with humans. Shut down and fearful, it was clear Jersey was not an adoption candidate. HRA’s community cat team got to work, and so did Jersey. She was quickly matched with a local small business, a plant nursery, and is just one of the hundreds of unadoptable cats whose lives have been saved by the Blue Collar Cats program.  

Blue Collar Cat Jersey
Blue Collar Cat Jersey hard at work.

Launched in 2017, Blue Collar Cats was developed as an initiative to provide opportunities for cats not suited for life indoors with families. These cats are “put to work” with area businesses and homeowners who pledge to care for these outdoor cats while, in turn, the cats provide needed rodent deterrent. The program celebrated a major milestone on Sunday, with the placement of their 200th cat, Lucy.

Lucy, a community cat, found herself at HRA when her caretakers of eight years were moving and could no longer care for her. Highly distressed and fractious in the shelter, HRA’s community cat team worked quickly to find Lucy a suitable placement with an area homeowner.

“Prior to Blue Collar Cats, unsocialized cats like Lucy had few options,” said Erin Robinson, HRA’s Community Cat Program Manager. “Now, through the program’s collaboration with local businesses and homeowners, we are able to save more cats while also serving as a model of success for other local and regional jurisdictions.”

The program placed 63 cats in 2017, and more than doubled that in 2018, with partners ranging from local coffee shops, restaurants and bars, to a university campus, condo associations, and churches. With an often times months-long wait list, the hugely successful program continues to be a lifesaver for cats like Cip, Emma, and Enrico.


When Cip came to HRA, he was fearful, fractious, and extremely unhappy. After being placed with a local homeowner, Cip has not only relaxed – enjoying “happy hour” with his caretaker on her porch – but also brought the neighborhood together. They all affectionately call him "The Dude" as he makes his daily neighborhood rounds. 

Blue Collar Cat Cip


Emma had lived her entire life outdoors, but when her caretaker died she needed somewhere else to go. Through our Blue Collar Cats program, she was placed in a District apartment complex, where she quickly adjusted to her new surroundings. After a few months of living there, she had memorized her main caretaker’s work schedule and would wait at his metro stop each day for him to get home. With months of patience and love, Emma, a former community cat, now lives indoors with her new family.

Blue Collar Cat Emma


With the impending redevelopment of Washington, DC’s Barry Farms housing complex, community cats like Enrico needed to be relocated. While many of these cats were assessed and deemed friendly enough for adoption, Enrico was too scared and unsocial to live indoors. . He is now “working” for a family in DC – living in their backyard, deterring rodents, and occasionally playing with their dog and children.

Blue Collar Cat Enrico

Curious to see if you might have a place where a Blue Collar Cat can be put to work? Visit www.bluecollarcats.org to learn more and sign up to receive additional information.


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