6 Activities for the Cat Obsessed in Sarasota, Florida


Cat Depot in Sarasota, Florida is a nonprofit, no-kill, free roaming cat rescue, adoption, education and resource center. These people seriously care about cats and their enthusiasm is contagious.

Shelley Thayer, executive director, explained how they've converted the garage/carport at the back of their facility into a clinic for low-cost veterinary care. One of their mens' restrooms is now an x-ray room. Every administrative office has a cat who needs some extra love and socialization.

If you're looking to incorporate more cat-related activities into your life, Cat Depot is here to help. Here are six activities that will help calm your cat obsession (or make it way, way worse).

1. Namastray Yoga

If you've ever thought, "I'd do more yoga if there were kittens present," you'll want to check out Namastray Yoga. Periodically Cat Depot arranges for a volunteer yoga instructor to conduct an hour-long class in Cat Depot's activity room. While you move into downward dog, kittens will roam freely throughout the room. The cost is a $10 donation. Bring your own yoga mat.

2. Summer camps

Every summer, Cat Depot puts on 3-5 summer camps for kids of all ages. In these camps, kids learn about the responsibilities of pet care (right down to the dollars and cents), the importance of protecting the environment and what careers are available for working with animals. A man named Joe Landmichl orchestrates these "Critter Camps" and ensures that they are quality experiences for campers and parents alike. He even coordinates with Sea World and Busch Gardens so campers can learn from some of the best animal pros in the country.

3. Shop

The "lobby" of Cat Depot used to be ALL of Cat Depot. But thanks to massive growth, they've more than doubled in size. Now the lobby is home to a super cute retail store carrying all manner of cat accessories and merch. Cat food, medicine, and toys are sold alongside cat board games, wallets, clothing and housewares. All proceeds from the store go to Cat Depot to run its programs.

4. Foster

Foster parents are needed for cats who aren't ready for the shelter yet. This mostly refers to kittens that are below two pounds (aww). Volunteers can take care of these kittens until they're ready to join the party. This can be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Some kittens need to be bottle-fed (double aww), but you can specify what kinds of cats you are willing to take in.

5. Play with kittens

Cat Depot is not a shelter full of depressing metal cages. They have a "free roaming" approach, where cats are encouraged to socialize with each other and their human visitors. The halls are lined with large rooms called "pods" where up to ten cats live, sleep and play all day. These pods are attractive and tidy, full of custom shelving and color-coordinated bedding (all donated). They have both adult and child-sized chairs so community members can visit and hang for as long as they want. There are no age restrictions and all pods are wheelchair accessible. Two of the pods are full of kittens. One is deemed the "chubby cat pod" for feline friends on a diet. You don't even have to pretend you're interested in adopting. You can just stop by, hold a kitten for three hours and leave. It's encouraged.

6. Visit the Mayor

Ok, it's the cat mayor, but it's still pretty darn great. The current mayor is a three-legged girl named Carmen who was voted into office via Facebook. The mayor posts daily to a blog about the goings-on of Cat Depot. The mayor becomes a pretty big star - even receiving gifts and fan mail from across the country. When the mayor is adopted a new cat is elected.

Asia Dekle studied media arts at Brigham Young University and runs a professional writing business from her home in Sarasota, Florida. She enjoys exploring local beaches, museums and other points of interest so readers know what's fun and unique about her hometown. She also loves to sing, dance, and read. Follow her on Instagram: @asiadekle.