What are library cats?
Library cats are just what they sound like - cats that live in libraries. This is actually a pretty common phenomenon, with several hundred library cats in the U.S. according to this map provided by the Library Cat Society.
Cats have a long historical association with libraries, dating back to ancient Egypt. Rats and mice used to be a major problem for libraries, and would frequently gnaw at books and eat the glue that bound them. As a result, nearly every library used to keep a cat or two on the grounds as a mouser to reduce this threat to the books.
Web Sites for Library Cats:
Cazenovia Public Library Cats - A library with several prior feline residents.
Deuce, the Caledonia Library Cat - Web site for a deceased library cat in Michigan.
Dewey Decimal and Page Turner - Two library cats in the Umatilla Public Library.
Emily the Library Cat - A recently deceased library cat at the Mystic and Noank library.
Emma - Library cat for the Lyme Public Library.
Fluffy and Shitara - Library cats who are sisters and on "staff" at the Sullivan Free Library.
Libby the Library Cat - A cat living in the Eva K. Bowlby Public Library.
Max the Library Cat - The former library cat for the Pasadena Public Library in California, who has moved.
Miss Drew Kitty - Former library cat for Paulding County Carnegie Library, has been adopted.
Paige and Dewey - Library cats in the Seymour Public Library.
Penny and Spooky - Cats of the Swansea Public Library.
Purrl Readmore - Library Cat - Site for Purrl, a cat living at the Grayson County Public Library in Virginia.
Squeakers - Library cat at Wesleyan College in Georgia.
Top Library Cat - Cat living at the Broken Bow Public Library.
Library Cats in the News:
Article on Browser, a library cat - This is especially useful if you're a librarian considering getting one - it discusses how to avoid allergy problems with patrons and how to use the cat to generate publicity to encourage people to read.
Why get a library cat?
Many libraries do it simply by chance, as a stray cat happens to wander into the library for a place to stay. Others have a tradition of taking in cats, and this is a great way for your library to help save a homeless cat or kitten. Libraries have found that cats are a good way to draw attention to themselves and to bring in children, who like playing with the cats.
What if I want to get a cat for our library but I'm worried about people having allergy problems?
A number of libraries have cats and have managed to avoid these problems by regularly grooming their cats. This will get rid of any loose fur and keep it from spreading around the library to affect patrons. You should also keep the cat's bed in your offices, away from areas where patrons are free to walk around.
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