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'Working Cat' program in Manatee County puts feral felines to work catching rodents

Cats work at public safety buildings and farms
Posted: 3:43 AM, Jul 22, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-22 06:18:42-04
working cats Manatee Count

BRADENTON, Fla. — Ginger the cat is on the job while roaming free.

She walks around Manatee County EMS Station #5's property doing what she does best: looking for rodents.

Ginger is the furry face of Manatee County’s new “Working Cat” program.

It places spayed and neutered feral cats too wild for inside and unable to return to their pack, with public safety buildings, farms and businesses that need rodent control.

There is no adoption fee.

“These cats aren’t going to be happy inside watching TV with you,” says Hans Wohlgefahrt, outreach and events specialist for Manatee County Animal Services. “So we say, let’s put them to work.”

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The cats get shelter, food, their favorite blankie and room to roam.

But Ginger and several other “adopted” cats at EMS Station #5 are also providing another service besides cat-and-mouse games.

Paramedic Sherri Pellien says Ginger is a calm in a tense storm, “especially after those critical calls, when we have someone to bond with.”

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Sherri says Ginger helps her cope, even if she’s not always so cuddly.

“She’s non-judgmental. We call her over, and she comes and lets us pet her," says Pellien. "Can't pick her up very long. Two seconds and she’s gone. She's like 'I'm done!'”

After all, Ginger has a job to do.