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Mobile cat lounge hopes to end cat euthanasia in Polk County

Botany Cats
Posted at 9:09 PM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 21:13:31-04

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — A mobile cat lounge is a first-of-its-kind solution to a cat overpopulation problem in Polk County.

Former veterinary tech Janette DeLoach, a self-proclaimed cat lady, is the owner of Botany Cats, a unique mobile cat lounge that opened in February.

“A relaxing, homey way to spend time with cats and see if you want to adopt one. I made it mobile so that I can travel to cat cafes and breweries and farmer’s markets.,” DeLoach said.

Visitors pay to spend time with the cats, then they can pick which one they want to adopt for a fee.

“I get probably three to four calls a week from people saying that they have cats in their backyard. So, I take them in, get them vaccinated, spayed, and neutered and then bring them on here and find them new homes,” said DeLoach.

According to DeLoach, the mobile cat adoption lounge is the only one of its kind in the country. She wanted a way to prevent cats from ending up at animal control.

“Polk County has a huge feral problem. There’s a cat on every street that you walk on. There are so many cats going to Animal Control and therefore so many are being euthanized. It's heartbreaking, it really is,” she said.

Polk County Animal Control told ABC Action News that so far this year they have euthanized 146 cats each month. The county has set a goal of becoming no-kill by 2025. Animal Control works with 160 animal rescue partners to help adopt and foster animals from its Shelter.

“Every Saturday here at Polk County Animal Control, you can adopt any animal and it’s free and we’re going to keep doing that because we’re getting a lot of good feedback,” said Polk County Animal Control administrator Marie Herbster.

Also, for the entire month of June, Animal Control has a “BOGO” adoption special for cats in the shelter. Meanwhile, cat lounges and cafes are becoming increasingly popular in Polk County, intended to get as many cats off the streets and into forever homes.

“When they pick their person, they light up, they’re playing more, they’re rubbing all over them. It's so heartwarming and so rewarding,” DeLoach said.