Kids at the Catoosa County Library have already been reading to a therapy dog for a while, so the library, says Erica Tuggle, director of young adult services, thought it might be fun to have a day for cats.

“The idea,” says Tuggle, “came about because we love cats here at the library. We wanted to make sure we included them, especially cats that need a home.”

Tuggle contacted North Georgia Animal Alliance and Wednesday, Jan. 22, marked the first “Kitty Corner” day at the library.

NGAA president Valerie Hayes, vice-president Wendy Brownfield and several other NGAA volunteers showed up with nine cats that are looking for homes, including Tarantino, a little black and white three-legged boy who won everyone’s hearts. “He was so speedy and friendly,” says Tuggle.

NGAA volunteers introduced all the cats — William, Charlotte, Cher, Mewlan, Coby, Topaz and Jewel (twins) and Tarantino and his sister Clarice — to the 55 people in attendance. “We told each cat’s story,” says Brownfield, “and talked a little about how we help cats and dogs and their owners.”

Brownfield had brought some toys and yarn to help the children interact with the cats. NGAA also handed out activity sheets and representatives from Fort Oglethorpe Petsense, where NGAA adopts out many of their cats, were on-hand giving out goodie bags to everyone.

As the excitement settled down, children picked up books and cuddled cats and read. One family filled out an application to adopt a cat.

“The event was a whopping success,” says Tuggle. “We had so many thank-you’s from parents and lots of happy kids. We are excited about our next one and plan to improve even more on the experience.”

Tuggle says reading to cats at the library will be a regular event. “This will happen every third Wednesday at 4:30. The next one is Feb. 19. We see this being a very popular program and encourage attendees to arrive on time so we can lock the door behind them and not let cats escape. Those who attend can also pick out their favorite books to read to the cats and bring homemade or store bought cat toys to play with the cats.”

“NGAA and Petsense were wonderful,” says Tuggle. “The volunteers at NGAA are great to work with and dedicated to animals. We thank Petsense for the support and for the goodie bags. The cats from NGAA have obviously had a lot of socialization and love put into their care. We encourage our community to support the volunteers of NGAA. We welcome donations to NGAA in the form of supplies they need and monetary support. If anyone is interested in being a volunteer with NGAA, they would welcome the help.”

Tamara Wolk is a reporter for The Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga., and Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga.

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