The Barn Cat program operated on a relatively small scale for four years, Deacon said, placing about two dozen cats at area businesses. But in 2016, BARCS received a six-figure grant from the Petco Foundation that, among other things, allowed it to hire a full-time staff member to run the rebranded Working Cat program.
Since Amber Ketchum took the job at BARCS last December, Deacon said, she has placed more than 90 cats at area businesses and is well on her way to exceeding her 2017 goal of more than 100 placements.
"This is truly a life-saving program," Deacon said.
"There was no other option for these cats. They would have sat and sat and sat and never been able to find a home. And the program has freed up cage space so we can place more indoor cats with families."
Foster and his business partner, Colin Marshall, agreed to adopt Inky last winter because they wanted to give natural rodent control a try. Not only was their 7,000 square-foot Locust Point brewing facility filled with the barley used to brew the beer, it also was quite warm.
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"It was mouse heaven," Foster said.
They didn't want to use chemical controls in a building where they were making a beverage for people to drink, but found that traditional traps baited with peanut butter or cheese were ineffective. So when BARCS got in touch to suggest that the brewery adopt a cat, Foster and Marshall were willing to give Inky a try.
Within days of his arrival, Inky had dispatched half a dozen mice and the Brewery's rodent problem was a thing of the past. Perhaps because he finally was out of his cage and in a place where he was cared for and felt secure, Inky quickly became attached to the two men. And vice-versa.
"We haven't had a single mouse problem since Inky came," Foster said. "His main job now is keeping us company and supervising our work."
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