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Blue Collar Cats

Blue Collar Cats

The perfect new hire for wherever pests interfere with your inventory in the greater DC metropolitan area. These cats are not house pets. They’re strictly business. And their business is solving your business’ rodent problem.

New applications are currently on hold. Please check back for program updates and information on when interest forms will reopen. 


Where do Blue Collar Cats Come From?

You may be familiar with DC’s community cat colonies which are often assisted by HRA's Cat Neighborhood Partnership Program (CatNiPP). These cats are often not social enough to live indoors as pets, so DC law protects them and allows them to live outside in our community. Community cats are not a threat to humans, but they do a great job at deterring and controlling rodents. Every so often, one of these cats ends up in our shelters. Since they’re not ideal pets, we put them to work in local businesses doing what they do best.

Why hire a Blue Collar Cat?

Blue Collar Cats are a cleaner alternative to toxic pesticides, they’re less expensive, and more effective.

Humane Rescue Alliance Blue Collar Cat Oreo“Previously homeless and unemployed, Oreo was brought to me as a rescue outdoor cat. After a few weeks of acclimation in his crate, he was released and now happily patrols my back deck area for rats. I haven't seen a sign of rats in weeks. Rats used to cross my deck at night - I'd like to see them try that now!
Eva R., DuPont Circle

What if I’m not really a cat person?

Blue Collar Cats aren’t really into you either. All they want from you is safe shelter and regular food – otherwise, they’ll mind their own business. It’s unlikely that people with allergies will be affected by Blue Collar Cats, as these cats (1) live outside, and (2) prefer not to come in contact with humans.

It is possible, slowly, over time, for your Blue Collar Cat to get more social – especially if there are lots of other people in and around your business. If that happens, it won’t affect your cat’s effectiveness with rodent control. But she may start wanting some affectionate physical contact. Or she may just want to sit and talk. If that happens, and you prefer not to develop personal relationships with your employees, just let us know. We’ll rehome your cat into a more social environment, and give you a more aloof one instead.

Stewie Blue Collar Cat at Qualia Coffee“Aside from making the shop feel more homey, Stewie was an amazing addition to our pest control measures. During his two years with us, the number of mice we caught in traps dropped to just a handful. Since he was so friendly we found a great indoor home for him, and he is really pampered in his new digs.”
Qualia Coffee, Georgia Avenue NW

What do I have to do?

The upfront cost for you is a small placement fee of $50 which covers the physical placement of a cat that has been spayed/neutered, microchipped, eartipped (THE sign of a true Blue Collar Cat), and vaccinated against rabies and feline distemper. As the boss, your responsibility to your new employee is to provide daily food and clean water, shelter, and basic health care throughout the animal’s lifetime. (A nice watch at her 10-year anniversary would also be a lovely gesture).

What constitutes “shelter”?

There is no “perfect” environment for these cats, but there are a few common requirements:

  • Enough space for the cat to separate herself from people, noise, and activity as she chooses.
  • Shelter that will protect the cat from cold or wet weather. Blue Collar Cats aren’t fussy about décor or design. The shelter can be as simple as a Kitty Cottage, or as luxurious as a duplex with a wrap-around porch.
  • An appropriate place for the cat to eliminate. Cats need to have a place to bury their urine and feces. A flowerbed, a sand box, or a litter box protected from rain are all good options.

What, um, “happens” to the rodents?

Blue Collar Cats will need a short adjustment period in their new environment before getting to work. Once on the job, you may find remains of rodents lying around. But rats are smart, and word spreads quickly that your business is no longer a safe place for pests. Before long, the mere presence of your Blue Collar Cat will be enough to keep most rodents away.

Blue Collar Cat Tamale at City BikesAfter trying every deterrent in the book, we went old school and hired a couple of rescue cats. I can only presume the 24-hour presence of our security guards, Tamale and Melora, have turned our shop into a forbidden zone for rats. Also, folks really dig being greeted by our cats when they enter the shop!
City Bikes, Adams Morgan

Is it a health hazard to have cats around a business?

DC law does not allow animals to be inside food service businesses, so if you run a restaurant, just don’t let your Blue Collar Cat inside. Her presence outside will be enough to deter rodents, and she probably won’t want to come inside anyway. (There are restaurants in DC currently deploying Blue Collar Cats effectively by providing shelter for the cats on a back patio.)

Otherwise, a vaccinated cat does not carry disease, and cats are fastidiously clean. We hope it goes without saying that ingesting cat feces or feces-contaminated material is a health hazard, so just, you know, don’t do that. (To be extra cautious, we suggest wearing gloves when cleaning your cat’s litter area, and washing your hands well afterward).

Blue Collar Cat Resources

  • Acclimation Tips – During the first few weeks the cat is in their new location, they must become acclimated so they know to stay. Read our Blue Collar Cat Acclimation Tips to ensure the cat becomes bonded to their new location.
  • What to do if your Blue Collar Cat is Missing – Sometimes after their acclimation period, the cat may go missing. Read our guide on what to do if your Blue Collar Cat goes missing.

The Blue Collar Cat program is offered to interested businesses and homeowners. By making a donation to the Community Cats Program at the Humane Rescue Alliance, you make it possible to continue the lifesaving work of the Blue Collar Cat Program. 

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