Supply group uses 'military working cat' to control critters
By Airman 1st Class Mike Young , 95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 27, 2007
EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
Editor's note: This article is the second in a three-part series highlighting the 95th Mission Support Group's deployment operations division.
Fighting the war on rodent infestation, the 95th Mission Support Group is using a "military working cat" to help reduce the amount of damage to equipment caused by rodents living in the supply warehouse.
Wizzo the Cat calls the 95th Mission Support Group's supply warehouse his home, living and working around the clock to help support the supply group's mission.
"Wizzo is our mobility rodent deterrent," said Heather Chapman, 95th MSG warehouse specialist. "He was brought in for pest control and is earning his keep by doing his job."
The supply group first found a need for Wizzo when they noticed rodent droppings in and around some of the mobility bags, said Bill Martin, contract manager for the base supply contract.
Mr. Martin said mobility bags that sit for an extended period of time can become prone to holes chewed in them from mice and rats. This renders the bags unserviceable, which costs the Air Force money and can create health issues from the droppings left behind.
Supply tried to correct the problem using various other methods before deciding to recruit the assistance of a cat. Nothing they tried seemed to work until Wizzo arrived, Mr. Martin said.
"Poison doesn't work inside the warehouse," he said. "By eating the poison, the rodents just get sick and crawl behind walls and die."
"Maintaining Wizzo is low cost," said Jennifer Starr, 95th MSG mobility lead supervisor. "Everyone in the supply warehouse contributes by donating supplies and food for him. It is really a team effort."
Ms. Starr said Wizzo meets the first person who comes through the door in the morning with his prey. He drops it off at their feet as though he is offering them a gift or handing in an assignment.
So far, Wizzo has caught a bird, a rat and three mice, which officially makes him an ace. The supply team keeps his kill count posted on a board for him.
"It seems that whenever anyone starts to doubt his worth, he comes up with another mission completed," Ms. Starr said.
Aside from doing a good job in keeping the rodents at bay, Wizzo also provides excellent stress relief for the supply team, Ms. Starr said.
"He really helps out with the team's morale," Ms. Chapman said. "I really love him. if I could, I would take him home."
Put to work as the "weapons systems officer" for the warehouse, Wizzo is a little more than a year old and was adopted from a pet shelter in Lancaster, Calif.
The Manx-Maine Coon mix is friendly and playful, Ms. Starr said.
She also said Wizzo can be very lazy at times. Sometimes he can be seen lying on or near the front desk during business hours.
During exercises and when there are a lot of people in and out of the supply warehouse, Wizzo is put in his cage.
However, after 4 p.m., Wizzo is left alone to hunt for his enemies, like a furry 'Rambo' in a jungle of crates and supply bags.