Cats: Relieving Stress in Public Places

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Photo Illustration / Dagnija Tomsons

Cats are cute little fluff balls that are great listeners, cuddlers and fighters. They are best friends and enemies, with deadly claws, sharp fangs and glowing, devil eyes. Cats are basically the same as humans, emotion-wise.

According to 10 Fascinating Facts About Cats, “A cat’s grey matter shares some remarkable similarities to a human brain. Although experts disagree on the depth and range, [they] all confirm that kittens feel emotions not that dissimilar from people. Happiness, excitability, playfulness, depression, and anger.”

If there were cat cafes here in Kalamazoo, I’m pretty sure that people would go out to check them out as soon as they are able.

“I think that cats in cafes and libraries is a good idea. I think it would be a good way for people to be around animals while doing something like drinking coffee or reading a book. I like the idea of having a cat sleeping on my lap while I read a book. It’d be lovely. If shops can have dogs then why can’t cafes and libraries have cats? I would go to a cafe or library with cats all the freaking time. I’d spend rainy days there or snow days,” said junior Kierra Grado.

If rabbits and dogs can be in cafes and bookstores, then why are we leaving out the other fuzzy creature, called a cat?

“In Grand Rapids there is a Rabbit Cafe, where you can pet and feed rabbits to relieve stress, which is great,” said senior Skyler Makuch, “[…] Cats tend to be more favored than rabbits.”

Anyone who owns or has owned a cat knows that they do often times share our same emotions. Cats have their own hissy fits like toddlers having tantrums when they don’t get what they want, and they purr like crazy when their owner rewards them with catnip or treats.

According to 50 Fascinating Facts About Your Cat, “keeping a cat as a pet reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes by nearly one third.”

This is why cats should be in both cafes and libraries. There are a few places where cats are already taking up residence, including Catfe – a half cafe, half cat foster home – in Vancouver, The Spiral Bookstore in Philadelphia, and Neko Cafe TiME in Fushimi, Kyoto.

Cat cafes are coffee shops where customers can order food and drink like any other cafe, but also enjoy the company of a furry creature. Sadly there are none in Kalamazoo, but there are many around the world.

Bookstores and libraries also have cats as local residents, like Dewey Readmore of the Spencer Public Library in Iowa. Readmore was the libraries mascot from 1988 to 2006. There was even a book written about him in 2010 called Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World.

Cats were even used in Egyptian temples to rid their “temple libraries” of rats and mice that like to feed on books. So, it’s only right for us to have cats in our stores, right? They would have so many useful jobs, serving as mascot, greeter, companion and even assistant librarian, like Kuzya of Novorossiysk Library in Russia. They know the library like the back of their paw. To make these cat bookstores and cafes even better, most of these furry babies are up for adoption from local shelters.

“Officials knew if people just took a few minutes to hold these animals, that a bond might form. And in fact — to date — 100 kittens have been adopted from the library. And it’s that kind of outside-the-cage thinking that folks here would like spread to other communities across the country,” said Steve Hartman, who wrote an article about how “Cat Libraries” Offers Purrfect Solution to Stress.

It’s beneficial to keep cats as pets, not only to save them from being euthanized at shelters, but also because they are great companions that we can relate to in so many ways. Even if you can’t adopt one, you can still give some love to the kittens at those libraries and cafes. Besides, who doesn’t want a cute, fluffy, purring kitten sleeping on their lap?

Okay, maybe those allergic to cats wouldn’t want that, but lucky for them these kittens are usually kept in a separate room in cafes. As for the libraries? Watch out for those fluffy tails before you sneeze!

Most cats would love to have someone there to take care of them like an abandoned child, or at least give them a piece of their time and love. Cats may seem like independent loners, but most actually love the attention. A combination of books and cats, without a doubt make an excellent stress-free environment in a crazy society like ours.

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