Is Caleb the Cat’s Fate a Lagging Economic Indicator?

Some for-profit companies are trying to jumpstart business by offering to donate a cut of their sales to boutique charities. Is a rescue cat a canary in the cage for gauging the recession's status?

Online PR News – 09-January-2010 – – Two realtors are donating a portion of their closing fees to a no-kill cat shelter for every house their clients close through a designated lender. The arrangement benefits all parties, according to one of the realtors, Andrea Lassiter.

“Our main goal is to help Feline Rescue, Inc. (the no-kill cat shelter) help cats, but we also welcome the opportunity to increase our closings,” she said.

Lassiter and her fellow realtor, Ken Meinke, work for Edina Realty in Eagan, Minn. She explained that they started the donation program two years ago, choosing Feline Rescue because of the organization’s no-kill philosophy.

“We have donated approximately $5,000 so far,” Lassiter said. She added that she also took a personal interest by adopting a cat, Caleb, from the shelter.

Feline Rescue relies on cash donations and an all-volunteer staff. The recession, however, delivered a double whammy of more cats needing care and decreased contributions.

“We definitely had seen a spike in the number of animals brought to the shelter in the past year and a half,” explained Christopher Nelson, President of Feline Rescue, which is St. Paul’s largest no-kill cat shelter.

“We currently care for about 225 cats both at the shelter and in our foster care program. Many of them were brought to us because their previous owners either couldn’t afford to take care of them or because the families were moving because of foreclosure,” Nelson said.

There are some reasons to be optimistic, according to realtor Andrea Lassiter who said the housing market is starting to pick up, especially for first-time buyers.

“With the extension and expansion of the first-time homebuyer tax credit, we are expecting increased sales well into the middle of 2010.”

An economic recovery might mean that many more animals, like Caleb, will find forever homes.