Description of cats roaming the Sunshine Harvester Works' factory to keep the rat population down.
Humans were not the only workers in the Sunshine Harvester Works' factory. Cats (also known as 'ratters') contributed to the maintenance of the 76 acre site. While their human colleagues in the factory ensured that top quality machinery and parts were being produced, cats roamed the site keeping an eye on the rat population. By 1962, there were 25 'ratters' roving the factory. They included Mrs Miniver who ensured that the Woodmill was clear of rodents, while the Despatch Department was closely monitored by Elizabeth who caught seven rats in one day.
The company was grateful for the feline presence in the factory. Security guards fed the cats during their night patrols of the site, while other employees visited the factory during Christmas holidays just to feed the 'ratters'. Core Shop worker Wally Pomeroy was given special permission to enter the premises during his Christmas vacation to tend to the cats. Similarly Alf Carter, who was employed in the factory Store, travelled from his St Albans home every second day during his Christmas break to ensure that his 'ratter' was fed.
In addition, the company issued meat and milk to the cats who received double rations on weekends and public holidays. Injured 'ratters' were also diligently cared for, such as Chester the Despatch Department's tabbie. When Chester broke his leg in 1965, despatch employees applied a splint and took their feline friend for treatment to the city on a weekly basis.
- Massey-Ferguson Outlook 1962, ''Ratters' on the Ration Strength', Vol. 1, No. 3, pp.10.
- Massey-Ferguson Outlook 1965, Untitled, Vol. 1, No. 15, pp.24.