Shelter workers at the Great Plains SPCA in Kansas City have developed a unique alternative to foster care for 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.
"I think animals make people better," Frank Fantini, who works at a local record store called Love Garden, told KCTV. "It changes the store. They make it more of a calming place."
According to Chip Bradley, a clerk at the Raven Bookstore, having cats at a shop not only attracts customers, but also helps promote it on social media and in advertisements. His bookstore has started to sell merchandise featuring their cats, Ngaio and Dashiell, while Fantini manages an Instagram devoted to the felines at Love Garden.
The SPCA says the program can have a number of benefits, in addition to simply finding good temporary homes for shelter cats. "Shelters get flooded with pets who just need a place to go," said director of Great Plains SPCA, Courtney Thomas. "What better way to do that than to get businesses involved?" Thomas believes that by getting the chance to interact with cats (without having to go to a shelter), local residents will come to view them as excellent adoption candidates. Additionally, the SPCA claims that having a pet at the office can help promote employee productivity. "It's a great way for people to enjoy the benefits of companionship while they're at work," Thomas said.
And as for concerns that the cats are neglected or improperly cared for in business situations, the Kansas City workers who care for them say that's simply not the case. "We all just kind of collectively own the cats," Badley said. "[They] are the best co-workers I could have had."