The Great Plains SPCA has found a solution to the influx of kittens during spring months: Put them to work.
The animal welfare organization is launching a new program in hopes of getting more shelter cats into offices and businesses.
Several local businesses in Lawrence, Kan., keep cats in their stores, and the felines have received positive "purrformance" reviews.
"The cats are the best co-workers I could have had," Chip Badley, a clerk at the Raven Bookstore, 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.
Shelters often become overcrowded during spring, and the SPCA hopes that allowing workplaces to adopt or foster cats could relieve some of the stress.
"Shelters get flooded with pets who just need a place to go," said Courtney Thomas, director of the Great Plains SPCA. "What better way to do that than to get businesses involved?"
The organization is currently reaching out to businesses about adopting office cats and has even offered to pay for food, toys and other expenses.
The SPCA hopes that having cats in the workplace will help people realize they make great pets and lead to more shelter cats being adopted.
These cuddly co-workers might also boost productivity. Research shows that looking at cute animal photos can improve work performance.
Cats could also be good for employee health — at least for those workers who aren’t allergic to them. Studies show the animals lower blood pressure and lower the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
"It's a great way for people to enjoy the benefits of companionship while they're at work," Thomas said.
But cats do have their disadvantages.
"Sometimes the cats get a little feisty and decide they want to become cashiers and step on the keyboard or get in the way of customers," Badley said.
Franklin Fantini, an employee of Love Garden, a nearby Kansas record store, says the shop's two cats, Mickey and Sam, are known to get up to mischief and leave the occasional mess.
Still, he says they're a big draw for customers and they're worth the little trouble they cause.
"I think animals make people better," he said. "It changes the store. They make it more of a calming place."
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