Auburn residents will get the chance this weekend to catch a rarity in the world of baseball — a purrfect game.
On Saturday, the Lee County Humane Society will host the first Kitten PawStar Baseball Tournament, an effort to find forever homes for the shelter's five-star furry prospects.
The tournament is the brainchild of Audrey Salazar, volunteer coordinator at LCHS, who wanted to find a creative and fun way to find a permanent home for the many kittens currently being fostered.
"It's hard for adopters to get the opportunity to meet a bunch of cats because we have so many out of the shelter," she said. "I went to a baseball game for the first time a couple weeks ago, and so I just had baseball on my mind. And I was like, 'Oh, my gosh, like kittens playing baseball — it doesn't get any better than that.
"The point of the event is really just to have a bunch of kittens playing around. We're going to have ping pong balls, and they're going to be on kind of a fake baseball field."
There will be more than 30 kittens on the field available for adoption. For kittens younger than 6 months, the adoption fee will only be $5 if they are already spayed or neutered. If they haven't been fixed yet, the cost will be $55.
The kittens will break up into four teams, with spectators being able to place their bets on what team is going to win.
"They're just going to be running around," said Salazar. "And really, they win by having the most adoptions."
LCHS will set up dugouts where spectators will get the chance to meet a kitten that catches their eye or heart.
"If you see a kitten playing in the game that you want to meet, you can go to one of our staff and be like, 'Hey, let me go to dugout No. 1. I want to meet this kitten." she said.
Volunteers will also provide the usual ballpark fare, like hot dogs and popcorn, that spectators can snack on while taking in the games.
The cost of admission to watch the kittens compete? Just an approved adoption application, which can be found and completed online at www.leecountyhumane.org/adopt.
Those who find and adopt their forever furball will also walk away with a special souvenir — a limited edition trading card of their new pawstar.
The idea of a trading card came from Salazar trying to figure out an interesting and theme-appropriate way to display information about the kittens gleaned from their interactions with their fosters.
"I'm feeling really good about the fact that these player cards are going to have specific information about the kittens, have interesting information about how they are in a home environment, like what their favorite place to be scratched is. Stuff like that, just really cute little personalized information," said Salazar.
The baseball tournament will run from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday at the LCHS.
"I think our animals will enjoy just hanging out with each other and playing, you know, baseball. So I think it's good for the animals as well to not only get that attention from the public but also to have that enrichment where they get to play with each other, they get to meet new people and stuff like that," said Salazar. "I just really hope that people show up. I think that it'll be a really, really fun event."