Working Cat At Baltimore Brewery Mistaken For Stray And “Rescued”; Now Returned, Bar Throwing Welcome Home Bash

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There is a very important job at a local Baltimore brewery. It requires very special qualifications to be considered for. Stealth, camouflage skills and ninja-like training are a must! The long shifts stretch well into the overnight hours. It is that of the “Brewery Guard Cat” at the Monument City Brewing Company.

Photo: @monumentcitybrewing

One hired cat fits into their crew purrfectly–handsome man, Willow. 

Photo: @monumentcitybrewing

Willow lives in and around the brewery that opened in 2017. Co-founders and brothers, Ken and Matthew Praay, happily welcomed the hard-working cat into the family. Not only did Willow, or Will, gain human servants, he has 4 other Brewery Dog co-workers/siblings.


But Willow has that special talent his canine co-horts lack–catching mice. He and other working cats like him are a great asset. These cats are usually trapped through TNVR, (Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return) programs.

For some feral cats, life indoors is not an option. If they cannot be socialized fully, they have another option. This is the barn or working cat program many shelters and rescue groups have implemented.

Photo: @monumentcitybrewing / Facebook Matt Muirhead ~ “I’m up! I’m up!” 

At BARCS, the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, they explain their successful operation.

Working Cat Program – Rodents Running Rampant? Our Cats Can Help!

Our working cats aren’t suited for indoor living. They would love to spend their lives helping to control your barn, warehouse, corporate campus, plant nursery or other places of business’ rodent and pest population. All they ask for in return is shelter, food, water and care. Best of all, when you give our cats a job, you’re saving the lives of homeless pets who otherwise would not have been suitable for adoption.

Photo: @monumentcitybrewing

There is no adoption fee for BARCS Working Cats. They are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, ear-tipped and microchipped. We’ll transport the cats to you**. [And] provide all the supplies you need to help your cats adapt to their new environment. Including: Enclosure, Food, Bedding, Litter box and litter.

Willow saunters around the brewery, meownitoring the sneaky dark spots and lost corners of the spacious business.

Photo: @monumentcitybrewing

Due to the nature of the beast(s), mice and rats do not tend to stay indoors though. That means neither does Will.

Patrons at the establishment love to visit the brewery cat during his rounds. Even though he refuses to live indoors only, Willow loves the attention they lavish on him. Guests post photos of them being allowed to worship the gorgeous grey cat. 

Photo: @monumentcitybrewing / Facebook Neal Wesloski

Those visitors often come from out of town, not knowing the tale of the hard-working feline.

Photo: @monumentcitybrewing ~ “Meow I help you?”

Take into account, three such out-of-towners visiting this week.  Security cameras caught the trio chatting with a welcoming Willow on Monday afternoon. 

A couple of hours later, people realized Willow was no where to be found. 

Posting to their Facebook page, they shared the image of the three people with a plea for their missing cat. 

Photo: @monumentcitybrewing

If you’ve been to the brewery we’re sure you’ve noticed Will (short for Willow), our brewery cat. We have this photo of three people taking Will from the brewery this afternoon. We’re sure this was done with the best intentions; however, we’re pretty attached to Will and hope that you bring him back to his home.

Photo: @monumentcitybrewing

The post was shared more than 3,300 times and something amazing happened with the power of technology. 

Willow was returned Wednesday morning

Photo: @monumentcitybrewing

Just as the brewery staff had expected, the cat-loving visitors hadn’t realized Willow was a resident. They were doing their part for stray cats and had “rescued” him. Ken Praay happily shared the news with 

“They treated him really well while Willow was away”, he added, and “there was nothing other than kind of a positive exchange” when they brought him back today.

Photo: @monumentcitybrewing / Facebook Rob Manning

He’ll have to get used to it, but now Willow roams his home with a fancy new collar. He will also be going to BARCS to be micro-chipped this week. This way, hopefully he can be returned just as quickly if he’s ever “saved” again. 

Photo: @monumentcitybrewing

Even though it’s short notice, the brewery is insisting on celebrating his return on Friday night. 

Be sure to stop by and give Willow a bit of love and cheers from us if you’re in the area!!! 

Photo: @monumentcitybrewing


Related Story: “Ghost” Cat Returns After 14 Years!

Related Video: Saving Cat Lives! Barn Cat Program

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