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How to Have a Library Cat

Thinking of adding a feline friend to your library or school? Generally quiet and low maintenance, libraries all over the world have adopted cats as honorary residents. Not only do they make great company and entertain patrons, they also help with rodent issues in and around your building. But before running off to your local humane society to find your cuddly companion, there are some ground rules to consider. We’ve got a list of the basic needs and suggestions of having your very own library cat.


Consider Allergic Patrons

Having a library cat requires a little extra cleaning, especially if they are free to roam as they please (and we certainly know that cats are intent at doing as they please). Try to find a domestic short hair, as these cats tend to shed far less than long-haired. Consistent dusting and vacuuming will help reduce hair and allergens.

Male or Female?

First things first, always spay or neuter your pets! If your library or school has a rodent problem, female cats love to chase and will actively hunt. Male cats sometimes have the urge to mark their territory, but their relaxed and lazy personalities will perfectly complement the quiet environment.

Clean-Up Time

Have at least two litter boxes in discreet locations from patrons. This ensures the cat will utilize the designated places (and not the back of the philosophy section).

Food and Water

Patrons will likely want to feed the cat, bringing cat food from home, or simply feeding them human food from their bag. This may be tricky to enforce, but let your guests know that cats are already well-fed by staff and there is no need to add to their diet. Electronic water dispensers make it easy to maintain fresh water at all times, which is necessary for cats.

Closing Time

Lastly, who will tend and watch the cat while the library sits quiet and empty at night? It could be any of the librarians, a school or church official – anyone who will give proper attention and care after hours.


Library cats (or other small pets) can be a great asset to your public, school, or church library, but do require a bit more attention. Most often the extra care is worth the love, company – and novelty – of a library cat.

1 Comment

  1. CR Beverly says:

    The only “Library Cat” I have encountered was in residence at Angel Fire, New Mexico several years ago. I was there for two weeks vacation and quickly found the library. The animal was approachable and friendly-can’t recall if it was male or female, but I personally found the animal to be a great addition to the staff. I’ve not been back to Angel Fire for quite a few years, so I suppose the cat has died by now. I do hope that it has been replaced, and that the custom will continue. Note that I am now old myself, haven’t had any cats in my home since my son went away to college thirty years ago. We always had some sort of rescue cat during the years when my children grew up.

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