Cats that might otherwise 'fall through the cracks' land new homes — and jobs

The P.E.I. Humane Society offers a working cat program matching felines who need a job and humans who have a problem with vermin in their barns or large gardens.

The P.E.I. Humane Society program adopts out cats to people who need help with vermin

Beau is a working cat at Lisa Chaisson's farm. (CBC)

A new P.E.I. Humane Society initiative is almost like a work placement program — except it matches cats that need a job with humans who have a position available.

The working cat program helps felines that were "kind of falling through the cracks," according to Jennifer Harkness, the Humane Society's development co-ordinator.

The program been running for about a year and has adopted about 20 cats.

"So they weren't house cats but they're not feral cats either," she said.

"They're still OK being around humans, they want a dry, safe place to live. They just prefer to spend the majority of the time outdoors or all of the time outdoors."

Most working cats are adopted by people with barns or large gardens who need help keeping pests at bay.

The fee for adoption is $25, which helps pay for deworming, vaccinations and spaying or neutering.

The Humane Society offers help as the animal adjusts to its new home but is careful to point out that a working cat still comes with responsibilities.

The P.E.I. Humane Society will help acclimatize the working cats, like Jedd who is about ready to go to his new home and workplace. (CBC)

Cats need a safe, dry place to live

"Keeping that animal healthy, providing food and water, because they can't always just survive on rodents," said Harkness.

"And then, of course, providing a safe, dry place for them to live that is secure, even if it is outdoors."

She said it's important the cat has a place to hide from predators.

Jennifer Harkness, the P.E.I. Humane Society's development co-ordinator, says the cats in the program aren't feral. (CBC)

Beau came to Lisa Chaisson's farm last winter. He has been a great help keeping the vermin away, she said.

"We have lots of feed in the barn and we have a number of animals to feed, so they're kind of always around and it's not very nice," she said.

"He's a great personality. He looks forward to the morning and evening visits."

The Humane Society doesn't have any working cats up for adoption right now, but there's a waiting list for anyone interested.