King County offers free, natural rodent control to rural residents

Got mice or rats? Try barn cats. That's the message from Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC).

Got mice or rats? Try barn cats. That’s the message from Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC).

Rodents, like mice and rats aren’t just a nuisance, they can be a threat to human and animal health. On farms and ranches, rodents contaminate livestock feed, their droppings are unsanitary, and their chewing damages barns and sheds. Traps and poisons can be used to control mice and rats, but many of those methods create additional hazards for people and family pets.

The solution? adopt barn cats, says county animal control officials. The outdoor felines are a totally natural, organic rodent control method. All they generally need is shelter, such as that provided by a barn, a warm place to sleep, fresh water and food.

Most of these mousers and ratters are feral or semi-tame, and are available now at the RASKC shelter in Kent.

“Barn cats are nearly invisible,” said Glynis Frederiksen, operations manager for the shelter. “Except for the occasional dead mouse or rat they leave behind, they hide in the shadows and you’ll rarely see any evidence of them.”

RASKC places barn cats in small colonies, usually in groups of four. All of the cats have been spayed or neutered, vaccinated, ear-tipped for identification, and have been tested for feline diseases. Best of all, there is no charge for this service, and volunteers are available to deliver and assist with placing the cats.

More information is available by email at or by calling Regional Animal Services of King County at 206-296-7387.