If you ask me, cats should be everywhere.
Before anyone freaks out, let me explain. I don’t mean strays around every corner. I mean in places where their presence would make life better — ours and theirs.
Let’s think about it with an example we all know all too well: If I want a cup of coffee, I can get one in a million different places. Half the time, I don’t even know I want a cup of coffee until I see Starbucks or some other place nestled like an oasis ahead of me down the street, in the mall, in the grocery store. I see the green and black and it draws me in. Suddenly I’m waiting in line with my gold card out (yes, I buy that much coffee), trying to decide what kind of fancy coffee I want today.
What if we used the same kind of ever-present idea with cats? What if there was always a "cat place" around the corner, just beckoning people in to pet and cuddle and spend time with some cute kitties? What if there were great new and creative ways to make it so we can enjoy having kitties around when we’re away from home, and also some great ways to possibly get more cats adopted and help out the huge homeless cat problem?
Today I’m challenging the world. Let’s make cats the new coffee — and I’m not talking about cat cafes.
Let’s make cats just as common as coffee, just as acceptable, just as accessible. Let’s make them trendy and hip. Let’s make it so people don’t have to go too far out of their way to get a nice cat when they’re in the mood for one, and let’s make these cat places inviting places to draw people in. Let’s make it so people who may not even know they want a cat suddenly realize they do!
Sure, anyone can hit up the local shelter (and please do, I’m all for shelter kitties!), but chances are that’s a fairly miserable and sad experience. Going to the shelter is also not something you’d just do on a whim because you were walking or driving by. No one is there because they were just in the neighborhood or because they just needed to pick up something and figured they’d just go down the cat aisle while they were there.
Let’s get more cats adopted by getting more creative about how we go about it. Here is a list of ideas we can start with -ÔÇô now all we need is someone to actually jump on these (and please call me if you do. I want in!).
1. Hotel rooms
This seems like a no-brainer, and I’m guessing many of you have had the same thought at least once in your life while traveling. As much as we complain about having no room to sleep in our own beds (we cannot move and disturb the cats once they settle on a spot!), but isn’t that the first thing we miss when we’re away from home?
Sleeping just isn’t the same without several mounds of warm, purring fur in bed with us. So what if you could rent a kitty for the time you’re staying at a hotel? And if you happen to fall in love with the kitty, you can apply to keep him permanently. "Foster failure" is a common occurrence where people end up keeping the cats they only intended to foster. I bet we’d see a new category of "hotel kitty failure" start to pop up!
2. The mall
Everyone goes to the mall, and half the time you’re not even sure what you’re looking for while you’re there. You may go in looking for a pair of jeans, but you end up in and out of 10 other stores, and probably with a couple other bags in your hand as well.
What if there was an inviting, friendly and wonderful adoption "store" in the mall? Don’t you think people would stroll in just to browse around, and end up finding that perfect kitty they never knew they needed? Head to the mall for a pair of jeans, come home with jeans, two shirts, a pair of shoes … and a new cat!
Hello, Target? Are you listening? You can literally CHANGE THE WHOLE CAT GAME if you wanted to. Listen up.
What if there was a cat aisle in target? How many times have you walked in there just to get toothpaste and end up with no less than $100 of things you never knew you needed? Suddenly you need new cushions for your patio furniture, a tank top, a new set of towels, a picture frame, conditioner, and lip gloss? Every time, right?
What if there was the option to also pick up a cat (adopt, of course) while you were there? How many people do you think would do it? I’d say enough to make a huge difference in the lives of homeless cats.
4. The library
Maybe this one starts out as one cat day a week. There could be a Kitty Reading Room where people could go to relax with a good book and a good cat for a few hours. Students could go study with a cat companion, and kids could go be read to, and each one gets a cat in his or her lap.
My bet is that people would come in week after week and get to know the cats and look forward to seeing them. And once they fall in love with one, home they go!
Airports have massage services, nail salons, places you can rent to sleep, and tons of other amenities to keep you occupied and calm during layovers. Why not have cat areas where people can go to be surrounded by purring, calming kitties?
As I’m writing this, I’m at an airport killing time waiting for a flight that has already been delayed three times, and if you told me there was a Kitty Corner in my terminal, I’d be there with bells and a huge smile on -ÔÇô and I probably wouldn’t mind my delay so much. Happy kitties and happy people make for a better travel experience. Plus, if someone happens to fall in love, they can apply and kitty can be flown to them (in the cabin, of course, possibly escorted by an off-duty flight attendant or volunteer).
I’m sure there are many other ways we can sneak cats into our culture just like Starbucks snuck its way into our lives. It’s genius how they’ve made coffee so coveted; let’s do the same thing for cats, shall we?
Especially you, Target. I’m looking at you extra hard.
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