POULSBO — With apologies to current and former mayors and City Council members, Poulsbo City Hall was taken over this week by undoubtedly the most adorable batch of candidates ever to seek the approval of the public.
But these hopefuls were not pursuing political office; they were instead looking to win over a few hearts and be taken into a quiet, safe home.
City Hall was dominated by all things cat and kitten on Aug. 8 during the Kitsap Humane Society’s first-ever Kitty Hall event, fittingly taking place on International Cat Day.
Taking inspiration from a similar event that has been held in Seattle over the past few years, 16 kittens and three adult cats were brought to Poulsbo City Hall. Since the closest adoption center for pets is in Silverdale, it gave city residents a chance to meet the cats close to home.
“It sounded like such a fun idea,” said Samantha Fairweather, adoption coordinator for the Kitsap Humane Society. “We thought, ‘Why not reach out to our local city halls to see if we can do something similar?’ ”
Aside from providing off-site adoptions, the event also gives the humane society a chance to spread education and awareness about the programs it offers, such as a low-cost spay and neuter program that can help keep the pet population under control; vaccine and microchip clinics; and its transfer program, which moves more than 2,000 animals per year out of overpopulated shelters.
KHS admits more than 6,000 animals every year, said Rachel Rindo, an events and outreach coordinator.
Representatives from KHS even provided event-goers with buttons supporting kittens for mayor. Though there were not any formal challengers for her office, Mayor Becky Erickson didn’t seem to mind the competition.
An animal-lover herself, Erickson said she hoped in the future the humane society would be able to present a similar event for dogs and puppies as well.
“This is something we can easily do and it doesn’t take any energy from us at all,” said Erickson.
And the event was a successful one. Eight kittens found their “furever” homes at Kitty Hall.
“We are hoping for even more at our next event in Bainbridge Island,” said Fairweather. “Hopefully this will help us pick up some momentum.”
The Kitty Hall in Poulsbo is the first of three in Kitsap County — the next one will take place 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 15 at Bainbridge Island City Hall, followed by a third event 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Port Orchard City Hall.
Whether you’re a first-time adopter or a seasoned veteran of raising cats, Fairweather offered the following tips for a successful adoption:
When bringing home a new cat, let it acclimate slowly to its new house. Keep it in a smaller room at first and gradually let it explore the rest of the house. Cats can be overwhelmed making the transition from a small kennel or shelter.
Have plenty of toys on hand. Kittens have a lot of energy and constantly play. Be sure to keep a few non-squeaky self-entertaining toys around — kittens often play throughout the night. This will help you get a good night sleep.
Scratching comes natural to cats and some can be picky about the materials they like to scratch. Having different scratching posts in the house will allow the cat to exercise its urge and keep your carpets intact.
Groom them regularly — kittens should get used to having their nails clipped and paws touched at a young age.
It goes without saying, but kittens need plenty of fresh food and water every day. Dry food should be available for them at all times, in addition to canned wet food at meal times.
Especially if there are multiple cats, have one more litter box than the number of cats in the house. Cats may not want to use the litter box used by another cat.
Provide them with a comfortable bed. Cats sometimes need a safe, enclosed space to hide, which is why they often enjoy sleeping behind the couch and under the bed. A domed bed can provide them with that space.
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.