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Cat Boss another way to help felines in need

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    Project manager Kelly Schenavar holds Uno, a recently adopted male kitten, at Thread Marketing Group. The company was the first to sign up for Cat Boss.

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    The Thread Marketing Group in Toledo was the first to sign on to the new Cat Boss program created by Humane Ohio.

    THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH
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A new cat fostering and adoption program is off to a purring start as more businesses seek to participate.

Humane Ohio, the low-cost spay/​neuter clinic in Toledo, adopts out friendly cats and kittens that come in through its outreach programs for free-roaming cats. With traditional area shelters and rescues full, the organization wanted to find a new way to help.

“There was a need in the community for more placement for cats,” clinic director Julie Lyle said. “We’re getting calls every day.”

Humane Ohio created Cat Boss, a program through which area businesses can foster a cat or sponsor them for adoption, agreeing to promote the feline through their business and social networks.

“It’s something I’ve seen done across the country in other communities very successfully,” said Aimee St. Arnaud, founder of Humane Ohio. “It’s just a way to reach another network of people.”

Thread Marketing Group became the pilot for Cat Boss, taking in an orange kitten named Uno. CEO Judy McFarland is on the clinic’s board.

“It’s a community issue,” she said. “There’s truly just not enough room in the shelters or enough money to take care of all these animals.”

Thread staff fostered Uno at the business’ West Toledo office, and he was adopted just four days later by an employee. The next cat, an adult tabby named Nikko, went home last week on a trial visit with potential adopters — relatives of an employee — after four days as well.

A few employees took care of the cats, including locating them at night to secure them in an area of the office where they wouldn’t set off the security alarm. While Humane Ohio supplies the necessities, the company purchased a cat condo and other feline supplies to spoil their charges.

“It’s been fun,” Ms. McFarland said. “It was a little distracting initially, especially with Uno, but people got used to it and the novelty wore off.”

Kittens are generally easy to place in new homes. Ms. Lyle said Cat Boss could provide a boost for adults, those that need to be the only feline in a home, and perhaps some with special needs.

“They tend to get overlooked,” Ms. Lyle said. “This program could definitely help those that aren’t as easily adoptable.”

The program not only promotes cats for adoption, but can benefit the business as well. The felines can help engage staff and customers, and may boost a business’ social media efforts.

“It’s a simple idea that can really do a lot of good,” Ms. St. Arnaud said.

Thread employees appear to be enjoying the Cat Boss program. Uno and Nikko were permitted to roam around the office wherever they pleased, allowing staff to visit and play with them frequently.

“It’s really having a calming effect in the office and has increased morale a little bit,” Ms. McFarland said.

Maumee Antique Mall has now signed on to sponsor a cat. While it cannot foster the cat on-site, it will promote the feline with photos in the store and on social media, Ms. St. Arnaud said.

A third business has also contacted Humane Ohio asking about Cat Boss.

Businesses interested in participating in the Cat Boss program should contact Humane Ohio at adoptions@humane ohio.org or 419-266-5607.

Contact Alexandra Mester amester@theblade.com419-724-6066 or on Twitter @AlexMesterBlade.

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