A Roof over Every Pointy-Eared Head: Make Way for Kitty Hall

In a civic enactment directed at bridging the gap between constitution and cat, Mayor Robert Garcia has proclaimed a four-hour renaming of the Long Beach City Hall to Long Beach Kitty Hall. The decree will come into being on Friday, September 18, from 11:00AM to 3:00PM and will comprise a caucus of cats from Long Beach Animal Care Services (ACS), who will lobby in the lobby for adoptive, loving homes.

“When you adopt a shelter cat, you are saving a life,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. The mayor, a proud and professed animal lover himself, walks the talk on the four feet of the little orange guy he adopted from the shelter two years ago. Tommy, a kitten when he joined the Garcia household, is the thread (which he swats at repeatedly) leading to his humane decision to give cats their own platform.

“It seemed to be a good idea to bring additional attention to the benefits of adopting shelter animals, highlighting the good work done at the shelter and continuing that trend,” Garcia said.

He referred to the rising live-release rates (which include adoption) through August of a little over 82 for dogs and 51 percent for cats. And more cats and dogs going home feeds into steadily decreasing euthanasia rates as well.

Candidates will be available for personal interviews with prospective adopters in a large exercise pen in the City Hall lobby. Applications will be available, and the adoption rate will be lowered to $20. Approved applicants for altered cats may take their new friend home.

ACS representatives will answer questions and provide information about cat ownership, and vouchers to lower the cost of spay/neuter procedures will be available.

Local catfly Beatrice “Pounce” Nippenzankles makes the case for council members and city staff and employees to make one of her ilk their very own. Graphic by Michelle Manion.

Garcia copycatted the Kitty Hall idea from an event of the same name (I urge you to click the link if only for the photos) that Seattle mayor Ed Murray came up with in July 2014 to draw attention to the shelter and the dozens of unadopted cats that they were running out of room for. The success prompted the city to hold another Kitty Hall on July 10 of this year.

“Renaming City Hall as Kitty Hall seemed like the right thing,” said Jason Kelly, press secretary for the Seattle mayor’s office. “It was a dramatic success. It took the Internet by storm—we had a line stretching around the block. We had police officers come down, we had folks from our utilities office—our city employees loved it.”

Julie Moore, communications director for Seattle’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services, said that immediately following the event, four of the kittens showcased at Kitty Hall were among the 16 cats adopted at their July 19 Fab Felines event.

“Most people who attended that event said they did so because they heard about it via Kitty Hall. And 16 adoptions at one of these monthly events is likely a record—the typical is four to five adoptions.”

As a show of family support, First Cat Tommy Garcia will be in attendance at Kitty Hall. As with Seattle’s event, he hopes to encourage everyone in both the private and public sectors to attend city hall and make a fine furry friend as fortunate as he is.

“Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want.”

~ Joseph Wood Krutch, naturalist and culture critic

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Kate Karp is the Pets Columnist for the Long Beach Post covering the world of animal activism, pet adoptions and lots of cute cats. She’s called Long Beach home since 1994 and has written for the Post for about 10 years. Kate’s day job is as a copyeditor, which she discovered a love for during her 30-year tenure as a teacher. She describes the job as “like taking the rough edges off a beautiful sculpture.”