Stray cat patrol: Feral felines deployed in NYC war on rats

NEW YORK — Feral cats roam New York City’s concrete jungle, and some now have a practical purpose: They’re helping curb the rat population.

Feral and stray cats that have been driven out of their urban habitats by construction activity, or multiplied to the point of becoming a nuisance, are being trapped by a group of volunteers, vaccinated, then spayed or neutered to keep them from breeding.

The goal is to return them to their territories, but some end up in areas rife with rats.

Four make their home by the loading docks of Manhattan’s Jacob Javits Convention Center, where they scare off rats that once fed there on food scraps.

An Alliance for NYC’s Animals spokesman says about 6,000 volunteers have completed workshops where they’ve learned proper ways to trap cat colonies.