By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A new concept at animal shelters across the nation is helping them get adopted.

“Inky” is a black cat with green eyes. Not all that long ago, he may have been a permanent resident at the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, or BARCS.

Why? Because he’s feral. Not really suited for house cat life.

“So we have some cats, like Penelope… who’s friendly but she gets super overstimulated and then wants to bite, swat, hunt,” says BARCS worker Bailey Deacon. “A cat like that would be good in an alternative placement setting… like a barn or a warehouse so she gets to get her energy out by chasing mice and helping with rodent control.”

And that’s where Tom Foster, co-owner of Diamondback Brewing, comes in.

“Every brewery will have a mice problem at some point or another if they’re storing grain,” he says. “I guarantee it.”

A few months ago, he had that problem.

“We have grain here and that’s like prime rib for mice,” he says.

But he doesn’t have a problem anymore, after accepting BARCS’s offer to adopt Inky.

“We wanted an all-natural way to get rid of the mice problem,” he told WJZ’s Mike Schuh while stroking the mice-catcher extraordinaire himself. “We didn’t want to use like pesticides or any poison or anything like that. So we got a cat and he did a great job.”

The working cat idea has increased BARCS’s adoption rate of semi-feral cats from 2 percent to 94 percent.

And now, Diamondback is free of mice. Inky has done such a good job that, these days, he can usually be found laying around the brewery relaxing.

And the brewery is even thinking of naming its next beer after him.

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