Navy cats work for new homes

Published 9:27 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Cat Team 7, a group of Hampton Roads animal advocates, is looking for other animal lovers to take in cats from the outdoors of Naval Station Norfolk. This non-profit initiative sponsored by Boots, Eartips & Toebeans, Inc. is will provide potential owners with all of the support they need to care for these cats, free of charge.

There are roughly 80 “outdoor and unowned” stray cats at the naval base as of last week, according to Caitlyn M. McIntosh, chief executive officer and director of Boots, Eartips & Toebeans, Inc. and the founder of Cat Team 7.

“I use that term because we get friendly cats out there (that have) been dumped by a human into this colony because they couldn’t take care of them anymore,” McIntosh said.

Email newsletter signup

Military policy forbids feeding these cats on the base as well as assisting them through trap-neuter-return programs. Cat Team 7 volunteers and the Norfolk Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals entered an agreement with the U.S. Navy to find another way to help these cats.

A Navy environmental team traps the cats, which are then transferred to the Cat Team 7 volunteers. They’re then relocated and acclimated to a screened adopter. The team is looking for farms, warehouses and barns in Suffolk that are in need of a natural predator for rodents and other such vermin.

“We’ve had horse barns get in touch with us, vineyards, warehouses, shipyards, any kind of outdoor setting where there’s going to be a concern about small pests, (but) you don’t want to drop pesticides or poisons that are going to hit the water table,” McIntosh said. “You want a process that’s more natural. I don’t know what’s more natural than the circle of life.”

When they’re delivered, these working cats are fully equipped by the volunteers to acclimate to their new home.

The team provides all crates, bowls, litter boxes and food to get them acclimated. McIntosh said the process takes at least three weeks per feline. Once the cat is acclimated, the volunteers will collect their gear, and the cat gets to work.

“We provide the equipment and the support needed for someone to acclimate the cats effectively, and then we come back and pick it all up,” McIntosh said.

She said that they’ve had great success with almost all of their adoptions, and the team has an “open door policy” for owners to return these cats if it doesn’t work out.

“We were born out of a very non-traditional need, so we’ve tried to remove barriers so that we can meet that non-traditional need,” she said.

Those interested in adopting one of these cats can email Visit or for more information on how to volunteer or donate supplies to the organization.