Top News

Cats at work: P.E.I. Humane Society match felines with job sites

Allan MacDonald takes a moment to sit with Turbo and Diesel at Label Construction and Sanitation. The feline brothers have been on the job for 13 years, living in their own special room and coming and going as they please.
Allan MacDonald takes a moment to sit with Turbo and Diesel at Label Construction and Sanitation. The feline brothers have been on the job for 13 years, living in their own special room and coming and going as they please.

When the cardboard baler machine arrived from Montreal 13 years ago, Dean Crosby didn’t expect to find three tiny, new employees huddled inside.

The three kittens were probably separated from their mom in the move. It was getting on into the fall so Turbo, Diesel and Mac were brought home for some bottle-feeding until they were big enough.

Mac died a few years ago, but Turbo and Diesel are still at large at the Label offices. The cats have their own room with windows, bunk beds, food and water. They come and go as they wish, tagging along behind someone when they want in or out of the building.

When someone comes to pay their bill, the cats hop up on the counter for attention.

 “I’m not a cat person but it’s neat to have them around,” said Bobbi-Jo Turner-George, one of Turbo and Diesel’s co-workers.

Turbo and Diesel are neutered and get vet checkups every year. They go hunting on the grounds and they spend a lot of time lounging.

Turbo and his brother Diesel work at Label Construction and Sanitation.

Jennifer Harkness is the development co-ordinator for the P.E.I. Humane Society. The society has been adopting out working cats since 2014 and 18 have been adopted just this year.

Harkness says this is a great way for cats that might “fall through the cracks” to find homes.

They’re not feral, they just don’t want to be house cats, she said.

Take Yodel. The slim, black-and-white cat is curious and comes to the front of the cage to inspect any visitors.

He playfully flips over and bats at a few toys in his cage, then jumps over to the scratching pad, never sitting still. Harkness said it’s because he’d rather be outside.

She doesn’t take him out of his cage because, although he’s friendly, he doesn’t enjoy being handled.

Working cats are spayed or neutered, micro-chipped, vaccinated and treated for worms and fleas before they’re adopted out.

Tammy Bevan, who works at the Humane Society, says outdoor cats really need to be up to date on vaccinations to protect against diseases transferred between cats.

“We try to keep all our cats as healthy as possible.”

They also need a shelter safe from predators and regular care and feeding, like any animal, but these cats are keen to have an outdoor domain. Many are excellent mousers.

Angela Gallant, in the front office of Label, said she’s heard folks say if they had a second life, they’d like to “come back as one of Dean Crosby’s cats.”

Jedd cuddles with Reese Perreault, adoption co-ordinator at the P.E.I. Humane Society. Jedd is a working cat drop-out. It turns out he “purr-furs” to snuggle with his humans each night.

Latest News