Recently a brewery cat named Dwayne received his own beer label. For those who are curious, he was once a stray cat whose entropion was so bad that he needed eyelid surgery as well as eye medication from the SPCA. However, when Stoneface Brewing Co. reached to the SPCA, Dwayne found a new occupation as its brewery cat. Since that time, he has managed to perform his duties well while getting along with the other employees, so much so that they decided to put him on an experimental IPA named for him. It turned out that Dwayne is popular with more than just his co-workers because the entire batch sold out in a matter of days. Time will tell whether Stoneface Brewing Co. will make more of the IPA, but if they do, it seems safe to say that Dwayne will continue to receive the spotlight on the IPA’s marketing. The best part about this story is that 15 percent of the proceeds are being donated to the New Hampshire Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, thus funding similar initiatives in the times to come.
What Do Brewery Cats Do Anyways?
One can make a decent argument that brewery cats are a reminder of the very beginning of the cat-human relationship. Of course, no one knows for sure how cats and humans managed to enter into a relationship that has managed to prove very beneficial for both parties. After all, this is something that happened in prehistoric times, meaning that we have no more than a very small window into what happened, where it happened, and why it happened. However, the best evidence suggests that the cat-human relationship started out because of a double coincidence of wants.
Initially, humans lived as hunter-gatherers. They stored food for the same reason that we still store food in the present time. However, hunter-gatherers didn’t need to store months and months of food because they could move whenever their food sources started running out. Eventually, people in some of the most fertile regions of the world started farming, which brought about a revolutionary change in the human experience. One of the ensuing consequences was the long-term storage of harvested grain, which was where cats entered the story.
Protecting their grain was a matter of life and death for farmers. After all, even if they could survive on what remained after someone or something managed to get in, not getting enough food to eat is the kind of thing that causes mortality rates for both the very young and the very old to shoot up. Something that our ancestors would’ve liked no more than we would in the present time. Unfortunately, the long-term storage of harvested grain attracted rats, mice, and other kinds of vermin. Fortunately, the presence of vermin attracted the wild ancestors of our own feline companions.
The speculation is that farmers would’ve left those wild ancestors alone for the most part. They were very much capable of pattern recognition, meaning that they would’ve been able to tell what those earliest cats were and were not interested in. Still, the wild ancestors that were friendlier towards humans would’ve fared better over time because they spent so much time in close proximity to humans. As a result, cats effectively domesticated themselves, which to be fair, is very cat-like.
In any case, pet cats have been around for a very long time. However, working cats would’ve been much more common until very recent times. In the past as in the present, they are responsible for hunting vermin in their surroundings. Given what breweries use to make their products, it shouldn’t be hard to see how working cats can find a place there. Having said that, it is worth mentioning that breweries cats have one more role, which may or may not be connected to how we see cats in the present time. Simply put, they are also mood boosters for people who like cats. Something that calls for a very different set of skills to say the least.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Brewery Cats?
Regardless, programs like the one that put Dwayne with Stoneface Brewing Co. exist in numerous places. This is because they make a good alternative for animal welfare organizations that are struggling to care for all of their charges with insufficient resources. In short, animal welfare organizations tend to believe that they need to provide their charges with a basic level of food, healthcare, and other forms of care, which makes sense because a lack of care can lead to some very horrific places very fast. The problem is that there are more cats than they can care for, thus resulting in a need for euthanization. Unsurprisingly, animal welfare organizations are less than enthused by this, which is why they have such a strong interest in alternatives.
Programs that pair up cats with places that need working cats work out well because they offer a place for cats that don’t necessarily do well with humans. This is a huge issue because such cats make for poor pets, which increase the chances of them being euthanized. However, working cats don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of time with humans. Furthermore, they need real hunting skills, which are more common among the aforementioned cats than among cats that can make a smooth transition to being a pet. Something that may or may not be because they used to be pets.
In any case, working cats offer a fair number of benefits. They can be quite good at hunting vermin, thus making them a good pest control option for people who don’t want to use either traps or pesticide. Furthermore, some working cats can get along quite well with humans, which is great news because there are real wellbeing benefits for people who interact with them. Of course, there are potential downsides as well. For example, some working cats don’t get along with humans, which can cause issues if they are forced into close proximity with them. Similarly, if working cats don’t get along with humans, that is going to make it difficult for them to get the necessary healthcare. Still, such programs work well enough on the whole that they are worth supporting for interested individuals.