My daughter has made a habit of checking the “Adoptable Cats” pages of the animal shelter’s website.
I consider it a more positive twist on the same dark motivation that has us reading obituaries and wanted posters.
Her face brightened the other day. “Hey, they placed eight more cats in homes.”
“How many are left behind?” said I, too often the buzzkill.
“Eighty-one,” she replied, and our moods fell simultaneously. We knew the statistics. Most of the remaining likely will be euthanized.
I thought a moment. Our house is full up, but… “Maybe I could convince my business partners to adopt a cat to live at the office. The team would love it.”
From the den, my wife piped up, “Maybe you can convince lots of local businesses to do that.”
From that exchange was born an idea for a new nonprofit organization, “Corner Office Cats.” Its mission is to convince local small businesses to adopt a cat or two to live in the workplace. A twist on this idea would convince businesses to introduce cats to potential residential adopters.
Not every small business can adopt a cat. Forget offices with cat-allergic employees, restaurants with food safety rules, and businesses with heavy in-and-out traffic that might risk an animal wandering outdoors.
But listen up all you tax accountants, lawyers and payroll processors. Your high-pressure job needs a stress reducer: a feline companion. Your strong company image needs a mascot. Your customers need proof that yours is a business with heart.
Need another incentive? Corner Office Cats will pay for the litter box and food bowls. Might even throw in a few months of food and litter.
Your part will be easy. Make sure one employee takes responsibility for the cat’s well-being, dropping by over the weekend to check that chow is handy. The rest of your employees need only provide scritches behind the ear.
Puss-puss wins and you win. You’ll have bragging rights, with a cool Corner Office Cats window decal and website logo. Your company’s name will appear in public service messages of gratitude. Best of all, you’ll have the satisfaction of saving an animal’s life.
Now I turn my attention to you, dear Coloradoan reader. Why? Because I need your help to turn this idea into reality.
Who are “you?” You might be retired — done working but not done contributing. You might be a student looking for an amazing achievement to trumpet on your college application: the founding of a successful community-based nonprofit. Or you might simply have a warm place in your heart and time on your hands.
To be successful, you’ll need more free time than I was able to identify in my own schedule. You’ll need time for working out the adoption model, spreading the word, qualifying candidate businesses, and raising start-up funds.
If you’re interested, contact me using the information shown below. I’ll email you more thoughts that resulted from our brainstorming.
Would you be successful? Well, that depends on how you’d measure success. Key stats: Larimer Humane Society has 66 cats looking for a home. Nationwide, 71 percent of cats entering an animal shelter never come out. Fort Collins has 5,000 small businesses, many of them ideal candidates.
I’d say the odds of success are pretty good.