Iowa City wants local businesses to foster kittens to help overcrowding, more adoptions

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - An Iowa City animal shelter said it is overcrowded with kittens and cats, and it believes the solution is through help from local businesses.

A kitten peeks through the window at the Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center on August 20, 2019. The center is looking for businesses to foster kittens to help them get adopted and reduce the overcrowding in the facility. (Aaron Scheinblum/KCRG)

The Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center wants area businesses to foster kittens to help deal with the influx of kittens and cats, as well as help get those feline friends adopted.

A couple of years ago, the staff at the center said the Englert Theater in downtown Iowa City fostered some cats and that helped them get adopted.

Now that the shelter is out of room, the staff figured it would be a good time to seek out new businesses to do it all over again.

For kittens like Riccardo, Dwayne, and Piper, many are still looking for a permanent home. In the meantime, they have made a conference room their temporary home. Christina Kimerle, the Executive Director of Friends of the Animal Center, said she was happy to be the first one to do it.

Kimerle said she actually started fostering kittens last year but never got rid of the shelters and toys in her office.

"The director asked if she could bring six kittens to my office, and so we said 'sure, great, no problem,'" Kimerle said.

That director is Lisa Bragg, the Program Director for the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center. She said the facility gets multiple kittens a week. It's getting so many new kittens, the staff has run out of room.

So now, the shelter is looking for businesses to take some of the kittens in the shelter and foster them at work.

Kimerle said based on her experience with fostering kittens, it makes a lot of sense and has a lot of benefits.

"The kittens and the cats really make sure that you take breaks, which is very important during a busy workday," Kimerle said. "The purring is very calming, so it helps to de-stress."

Bragg said finding businesses to help will allow them to expand their umbrella and find more interested people to adopt.

"Our local businesses have contacts that we don't necessarily have," Bragg said. "They can invite their customer base into their store, and now I'm reaching double the amount of people than just the ones that come out to the center."

In order to help kittens and cats reach for a permanent home, the shelter and its felines will look for businesses to serve as a temporary one.

"I think the adoptions are going to speak for themselves," Bragg said. "And also we're getting to make that relationship with our local businesses- it's wonderful."

The Animal Care & Adoption Center covers the cost of toys, beds, food, litter boxes, and anything else a business might need to make a comfortable space for the kittens- they just want interested businesses to sign up and commit the time.

"It's really important to understand that we're asking you to open up your heart and your home and we don't need you to open up your wallet for that," Kimerle said.

Businesses do not have to be in Iowa City to participate, they can be anywhere in Johnson County. Interested businesses are encouraged to contact Bragg at 319-356-5295 or e-mail Bragg. The only businesses that cannot participate are food service related due to health regulations.