Mint Hill Roasting Company Welcomes Working Cats

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MINT HILL, NC – Mint Hill Roasting Company is preparing to welcome two new “employees” to the coffee house.  Small, furry and feline, these two won’t be your typical baristas.  That’s right: the coffeehouse is taking on a pair of working cats!

The cats come to Mint Hill Roasting Company by way of the Humane Society of Charlotte’s “Working Cat” Program, a project begun to help free-roaming “community cats” find permanent homes.  Commonly called “stray” or “feral,” these full-time outdoor cats prefer to have minimal contact with humans and are likely to be unable to adjust to domesticated life indoors.

The brother-sister pair of orange tabbies will stay with the Smith family.
The brother-sister pair of orange tabbies will stay with the Smith family.

In order to find stable homes for these outdoor cats, the Humane Society of Charlotte began to consider non-traditional adoptions.  According to their website, the HSC Working Cats Adoption program helps cats that are not suited to indoor life find “employment” in permanent homes.  Un-socialized to humans, these cats aren’t suited to be indoor companions, but they’re often skilled hunters capable of helping to naturally control the snake and rodent population.

Located in an old house with a crawl space, Mint Hill Roasting Company often sees snakes and mice on the property.  “We thought this would be a good idea to give a cat a home and help out with mouse control, too,” says owner Annette Smith.

Two orange tabby kitten siblings arrived on the scene last week.  Annette and husband and co-owner Robert kept them in their house for a few days while they put the finishing touches on their custom outdoor home, but there was just one problem: these two supposed “community cats” loved being indoors with people!

“During the time we had them at home, they really acclimated and didn’t seem feral at all,” says Annette.  “We were worried they would not be a good fit for a ‘working cat’ and were given the option to return them to the Humane Society; however, our family fell in love with them and decided to keep them ourselves.  Even Robert who said we would never have cats!” she laughs.

Far from being feral, Winston and Willie are settling in at the Smith home.
Far from being feral, Winston and Willie are settling in at the Smith home.

Winston and Willie have taken up permanent residence in the Smith household, but two new “working cats” will be on their way to the coffee house in two or three weeks.  The cats will live outdoors, where Annette and Robert are currently building a small outdoor shelter capable of being heated during the colder months.  The pair will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated against rabies, and microchipped before they leave the Humane Society.

In the mean time, the community is having fun on social media suggesting names for the new “employees.”  “One we liked was ‘Mugz’ for a male cat,” says Annette, “but there were tons of great suggestions.  Once we meet the new ‘employees’ we will look at all the options!”

Follow Mint Hill Roasting Company on Facebook @minthillroastingco or on Instagram @minthillroastingcompany to keep tabs on the new arrivals!

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Mary Beth Foster
Mary Beth Foster works part time as an essay specialist at Charlotte Latin School and full time as a mom to her eight-year-old daughter Hannah and her six-year-old son Henry. Prior to having children, she worked as a high school English teacher for nine years. Most recently, she chaired the English department at Queen's Grant High School. She and her husband have lived in Mint Hill with their children and their cats since 2011. Email: