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"Cat library" offers purrfect solution to stress

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- In Las Cruces, New Mexico, there's a library with no books, but a great story; a library with nothing to read, but that you have to check out; a library for people who just want to take a few minutes to sit down and get lost -- in a good kitten.

Becky Garcia is the kitten librarian. Actually, she's the receptionist at the Dona Ana County office building, where a couple years ago county officials installed a little kitty condo in the lobby. The cats are from a local shelter and they're available to any employee looking for a moment of purr bliss.

"Oh, you're typing for me, kitty," said Angela Roberson, a community planner and regular at the kitty library, as a kitten walked on her keyboard.

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A kitten rests on Angela Roberson's shoulder as she works
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She readily admits that her productivity goes down during these brief sessions -- but says her job satisfaction goes way up.

"It definitely relieves stress," said Angela. "I mean how can it not when you have a little fuzzy thing that you can take back to your office?"

Employees told us it makes the day fun and shows that the county does care -- and not just for the welfare of its workers, but for its homeless animals as well. See, when the county set this up it had a secret agenda.

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A kitten is caressed while sitting on a worker's desk
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Officials knew if people just took a few minutes to hold these animals that a bond might form. And in fact -- to date -- 100 kittens have been adopted from the library. And it's that kind of outside-the-cage thinking that folks here would like spread to other communities across the country.

"The joy, the smiles, I've seen so many smiles," said Becky.

Imagine a nation of libraries catering to those who just want to curl up with a good person.

  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.