Puss getting the boot: Lyons library ousting cat

High school sophomore started petition asking board to let Aww Kitty stay

Lyons library, Aww kitty
Aww Kitty, who is being evicted from the public library in Lyons. (Jan. 8, 2018)


LYONS, Mich. (WOOD) — A popular patron of an Ionia County library branch is facing eviction.

It appears Aww Kitty, the Lyons library cat, is causing allergic reaction for some of the library’s human patrons.

Aww Kitty was the village stray when she wandered into the library about 2.5 years ago. Since then, she has found a home among the stacks.

“She helps out, like welcoming people, like people pet her. She always comes up to people. She’s always just a real nice cat,” said 15-year-old Katie Chambers, a library patron leading the effort to keep the cat at the library.

Lyons library, Aww kitty, Katie Chambers
Photo: Katie Chambers pets Aww Kitty. (Jan. 8, 2018)

The feline squatter doesn’t cost taxpayers a cent. Donations to collection jars pays for her food, veterinarian visits and other costs.

But these days, Aww Kitty is at the center of a cat fight of sorts. While Aww Kitty is a welcome distraction for some patrons of the library, she’s the source of sniffles and other allergic reactions for others.

Supporters have come up with some alternatives.

“They have offered to have the person to preorder the book on the phone and when they get here, take the book out to them,” Katie said.

But the library’s Board of Directors voted last month to find a new home for the cat.

“I can see the point of it, but at the same time, it’s not fair to the whole community,” Katie said.

Lyons library, Aww kitty
Photo: Aww Kitty, who is being evicted from the public library in Lyons. (Jan. 8, 2018)

The move has turned the Ionia High School sophomore into a political activist. She launched a petition at change.org urging the board to reverse its decision at a meeting later this week. More than 1,200 people have signed the petition.

“If that many people cared for this cat … maybe a couple of people shouldn’t ruin it for the whole community,” Katie said.

But at least one board member says the number of people of complaining isn’t the point.

“In my view, we want the library to be accessible to everyone,” Marilyn Huhn said.

That includes anyone with allergies.

She told 24 Hour News 8 when the board first said the cat could stay, it did so with the condition the public would accept her.

So Aww Kitty may have to find a new home.

The meeting to decide Aww Kitty’s fate is set for Thursday.