It’s what the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center calls “kitten season” — a time period of overcrowding, largely because of an increasing number of kittens housed in its facility, as the summer winds down.
Each year between the months of July and October, the center sees an influx of around 400 kittens.
With all the new kittens plus all the cats already living at the center, the center’s director Lisa Bragg said the shelter experiences overcrowding.
This prompted the staff to explore new housing for the animals. The center is starting a kitten-fostering program with local businesses to house and care for excess kittens.
“This year, we kind of got so many kittens in all at once that we had to stretch our resources,” Bragg said. “So, we thought we’d kind of think outside the box.”
The center regularly has individuals foster kittens, but the idea of businesses doing so is relatively new, Bragg said. A few businesses have assisted in the past, but not through a formal program.
There are three different fostering opportunities in which businesses can participate, Bragg said. The first opportunity is to foster kittens that are too small to be adopted. Offices will house, feed, play with, and socialize the kittens until they are old enough to be spayed or neutered, she said.
The second option is to care for the kittens that have already been spayed or neutered. The kittens will live in the office for customers and employees to visit in the hope they get adopted, she said.
The third option is for businesses to host a two-hour adoption event at their location for employees, customers, and the general public, Bragg said. There are about five kitten adoption events lined up and three or four businesses that are willing to foster, she added.
The center will make sure the business is suitable to house the cats and make sure everyone at the business is OK with having them, the shelter’s supervisor Chris Whitmore said.
She added that businesses and foster homes for the kittens are provided with everything they need to care for the animals, Whitmore said. Each location gets food, a litter box, toys, and a kitty haven — a big enclosure for the kittens.
“We try to adopt out as many [kittens] as we can, because we have a lot more that are waiting in our foster program to come back,” Whitmore said.
One of the businesses partnering with the center for the fostering program is Aspire at West Campus, an apartment complex for graduate students.
The apartment complex will host an adoption event in October for residences and members of a community to find a kitten to take home, Aspire’s Leasing and Marketing Manager Emma Hughes said.
The animal-frienly apartment complex is hoping to give back to the community and provide an opportunity for their residents to find a pet through hosting the event, Hughes said.
“I hope people are able to find a pet that they love, and then they can get in that process of adoption,” Hughes said.