“I think animals make people better,” Frank Fantini, who works at Love Garden, a record store in Lawrence, Kansas, told KCTV. “It changes the store. They make it more of a calming place.”
He’s referring to Mickey and Sam, two cats who spend their days in the store, to the delight of many customers who come in just to see these “meowsic experts.”
What are these felines doing at a record store?
They are part of an idea developed by shelter workers at the Great Plains SPCA in Kansas City as a unique alternative to foster care for cats: foster offices. The shelter recently launched a new program to partner with local businesses, which can foster or adopt shelter cats to live at their establishments. The group is even offering to pay for food, toys and other expenses.
“It’s a great way for people to enjoy the benefits of companionship while they’re at work,” explains Courtney Thomas, the director of the Great Plains SPCA. She adds that shelters often receive an influx of kittens during spring months, and allowing workplaces to adopt or foster at least one cat could lighten SPCA’s burden.
“Shelters get flooded with pets who just need a place to go,” says Thomas. “What better way to do that than to get businesses involved.”
Her plan has two important aspects: the first is that having the cats in the workplace will help promote them as great adoption candidates and lead them to having happy homes.
Secondly, studies show workers are more productive and happy when they have a furry friend curling around their legs, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Cats could also be good for employee health: studies show the animals lower blood pressure and lower the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
Presumably those workers might be less happy if their cute co-worker jumps on to a computer keyboard or if they happen to be allergic to fur, but Chip Badley, who works at the Raven Bookstore in Lawrence, can’t get enough of those furry felines.
“The cats are the best co-workers I could have had,” Badley told KCTV News. “You come in and you get to have your cat fix for four or five hours a day.”
The Raven Bookstore has two cats, Ngaio and Dashiell, who were named after authors Ngaio Marsh and Dashiell Hammett.
Badley said the cats not only attract customers, but they have also become mascots for the shop, which sells postcards and other merchandise with pictures of the bookish felines.
The program seems to be working well both for the other employees and for the businesses involved, but what about the cats? Do they approve?
It’s too early to tell for sure, but so far none has expressed their displeasure by tearing up the furniture or pooping on the counter.
What do you think? Should cats be loaned out to businesses? Will those same businesses still want them once they aren’t cute little kitties anymore? What then?
Photo Credit: KCTV5 online video