Cats awaiting adoption or in need of a rescue shelter could soon have a temporary home after the City Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit Monday for a cat boarding shelter facility.
Linda Christensen’s application for a conditional use permit to operate a multi-faceted cat boarding shelter and clinic facility called The Cat’s Meow, located at 701 S. Sanborn Blvd., was unanimously approved by the Planning Commission with a few additional requests from the panel. Absent from the meeting was Commission members Doug Molumby and Mark Vaux.
“The way it works in Mitchell is when the animals, specifically cats, go to the pound we rescue them so they have a place to go,” Christensen said, noting there are local families that foster cats. “But if we don’t have a foster home to put them in and we can’t transfer them, we have a lady who has a heated garage where she would house them to give them the best care she can until they are adopted.”
However, the woman Christensen referenced is looking to stop providing the shelter for cats, which is why Christensen is taking over the service.
Rather than using her own personal garage, Christensen is seeking to purchase the Liberty Tax building on Sanborn Boulevard, where she plans to attend to cats awaiting adoption or a place at an animal rescue shelter. The building is listed for sale through Mitchell Realty.
Christensen emphasized she will not be adopting any cats, and her facility will merely act as a shelter for kittens or cats that are spade or neutered, along with having the appropriate shots, while they await to be adopted or welcomed at animal rescue operations. Christensen does not own the building she plans to utilize for the shelter, but she will be purchasing it if the City Council grants final approval at the Dec. 16 meeting.
“I don’t want the public knowing I’m there, and I don’t want people dropping off stray cats to dump them off onto me,” Christensen said. “There won’t be any signage on the building.”
According to Christensen, volunteers will provide care and attention for the cats roughly a couple times per day to ensure the animals have food, water and clean litter. Christensen said each cat could likely stay at the facility anywhere from one week to two months.
City Planner Neil Putnam provided several submitted questions from nearby residents regarding the cat operation that the commission members requested Christensen to address with the neighboring residents.
Concerns about the potential odor the cat facility could emit and the disposal of the cat litter were among some of the questions.
“The building will be clean and the cats will be inside, so that shouldn’t be an issue,” Christensen said. “There might be times where there aren’t cats there at all."
In response, Christensen said she will utilize a traditional garbage can for the cat litter disposal. In addition, Christensen said she will contract someone for snow removal of the parking lot.
Another issue that arose was the property lines between the 701 S. Sanborn Blvd. and the neighboring 705 S. Sanborn Blvd., Putnam said. According to City Engineering Supervisor Terry Johnson, the asphalt in the parking lot of the 701 S. Sanborn Blvd. encroaches onto the 705 S. Sanborn Blvd. property.
“The property owners have to work that out between themselves, and the property extends onto the adjoining property and they should remove it because it’s encroaching,” Johnson said.
As part of the contract agreement Christensen has with the existing property owner of the building, she said the asphalt encroachment issue is supposed to be resolved prior to the purchase.