Those of you who have had the change to commiserate with me on the subject know that I am generally not a fan of the practice of maintaining feral cat colonies (as opposed to trap-neuter-place or euthanize), but after reading this 2007 article from the LA Times I think I have found one variety of TNR I can get behind enthusiastically.
LAPD Enlists Feral Cats For Rat Patrol
.......Unlike other strays that might rub up against a leg hoping for a crumb or a head rub, these felines are so unaccustomed to human contact that they dart away when people approach. Feral cats cannot be turned into house pets. When they end up in municipal shelters, they have little hope of coming out alive.
.......one animal welfare group has figured out a way to save their lives and put them to work in Los Angeles. The Working Cats program of Voice for the Animals, a Los Angeles-based animal advocacy and rescue group, has placed feral cats in a handful of police stations with rodent problems, just as the group placed cats in the rat-plagued downtown flower district several years ago -- to great effect
........Their reputation as furtive and successful exterminators grew after feral cats were introduced to the parking lot of the Wilshire Division nearly six years ago. Rats had been burrowing into the equipment bags that bicycle officers stored in outside cages; inside the facility, mice were sometimes scurrying across people's desks.
......."Once we got the cats, problem solved," said Cmdr. Kirk Albanese, a captain at the Wilshire station at the time. "I was almost an immediate believer."
Click on the blue-lettered link in my lead paragraph to read the entire fascinating story.
Feral cats are generally considered a public health threat (by health authorities), an environmental threat (by birders and environmentalists), and a public nuisance (by those whose property they enter and damage). But by placing them in the urban and semi-urban environments found around ost Los Angeles police stations, it is difficult to envision them posing much threat on any of those counts.
Any time a feral cat can be placed in a home or home-like environment and allowed to live out its life with some level of human caretaking, rather than forced to fend for itself entirely on the street, it's a good thing. These cats were slated for euthanasia, and now they get to "Protect and Serve" our city. Kudos to Chief Bratton and LAPD for allowing this!