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Massachusetts breweries adopting 'working cats' to keep mice away

Breweries adopt 'working cats' to keep mice away
Breweries adopt 'working cats' to keep mice away 02:15

NORTON - You know what goes good with an ice-cold beer? How about a cat? Adoption centers are seeing local breweries take in four-legged friends to keep pests away.

"The natural connection between breweries and cats became apparent as breweries became more popular in Massachusetts," said Mike Keiley, Director of Adoption Centers at MSPCA Angell. "They need that social interaction, so places that welcome people to their establishment make a nice companion opportunity. Their presence alone deters mice from setting up shop."

They are called "working cats." The MSPCA began their Working Cat Program years ago when they started seeing more farmers adopting farm animals from them. They offered to give the farmers a cat to help with rodent issues. Some area breweries are turning to cats for the same problem.

"Reality is cats have different needs, and cats that come from the outdoors don't adjust super well to indoor only," explains Keiley. "There are a lot of cats that do need these alternative types of placements."

Working cat brewery
Bog Iron Brewing in Norton adopted Jax, a working car, four years ago CBS Boston

Bog Iron Brewing in Norton adopted a cat named Jax four years ago. The owners found him as part of the working cat program with the Animal Protection Center of Southeastern Massachusetts. They haven't seen a single mouse since he got on the job. He's become a face of the bar.

"I've been brewing for 30 years, put my life into this place, and people are like, 'Hey can we meet the cat?' Great thanks," laughed Brian Shurtleff, owner of Bog Iron Brewing. "He lives on the premises. He is a working cat. His collar says Bog Iron employee right on it."

Jax typically roams the brewery room, however he occasionally sneaks out to the patio to mingle with patrons. Shurtleff thought this would be a better alternative than using chemicals or poisons around the bar and restaurant.

"He works for cat food and a place to sleep, and an ungodly amount of attention," joked Shurtleff. "He's got the run of the land here." 

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