LAKELAND, Fla. - Cities around Florida are doing what they can to address a feline population boom. In Lakeland, three new operations are creating opportunities for cat lovers and adoptable kittens to meet, greet, and hopefully find forever friends.
Cat lounges are opening all over, giving cat lovers a chance to pet, nuzzle and play with a kitten or cat for a fee.
Cindy Skop, the owner of Lakeland's Kitty Cat Lounge, says interacting with a cat is more than just fun – it’s healthy.
"Having a cat in your lap when you’re just stroking it, or it is purring, your heart rate reduces, your blood pressure goes down, and your anxiety goes down," she told FOX 13.
Her new place, expected to open this fall, is on East Orange Street.
She says patrons will be able to use the free Wi-Fi to work while they enjoy coffee and a pastry. For as little as $8 for half an hour, they may mingle with the cats in the next room over.
And if someone decides they can't live without their new fur buddy, all the cats will be adoptable, primarily through Saving Paws Rescue of Florida.
"Unfortunately, there is a huge supply of cats and kittens in Polk County," said Jennifer Rader, the founder of the rescue.
On most weekdays, just a few streets away in the parking lot of the Lakeland Public Library, another cat lover’s paradise awaits. But this one might pop up just about anywhere.
Botany Cats is an RV converted into a mobile adoption center, and travels around the Tampa Bay area.
"We travel to coffee shops, breweries, and whatever business wants to partner with us," said the owner, Janette DeLoach.
A third pet café, Purrology on South Florida Avenue, is in the works as well.
They are all trying to address the cat population explosion in Polk County and elsewhere. They know not everyone who comes in to play with a cat will leave with one, but they'll give as many a chance at a forever home as possible.