Cat City

Community Cat App

UX Research & Design
Two-Week Sprint


This project was a two-week design sprint for a graduate class that revolved around the problem of cat homelessness. I was tasked with thinking of a mobile application that could address a problem in our area.

When the polar vortex came through Chicago during the Winter of 2019, wind chill temperatures plummeted to -60 degrees Fahrenheit. I looked online for ways to immediately and directly help area cats outside in the extreme cold. I eventually found a Facebook group who needed resources for building shelters that required me to reactivate my account to help. I wondered if there was a better way to connect people looking to contribute to the well-being of community cats both during crises like this or normally throughout the year.

Cat City explores how users can help, get to know, and coexist with cats in our city streets.

Some Problems

Before considering any specific solution, I began researching the problems community cats face in our cities. Here's what I found:

  1. • feral cats face challenges coexisting with people, yet 200,000 live among us in Chicago
  2. • stray cats roam the streets who were once pets and struggle to adapt
  3. • cat communities and their advocates need resources (food, shelters, money for services)
  4. • suffering and euthanasia happens when good people can’t keep up (lack of resources, lack of capacity, lack of information)


Next, I identified some areas where an app like Cat City could help with this mission. Here are a few features that could be useful:

  1. • get to know your area cats
  2. • database of cats with medical information that visit advocate communities
  3. • provide resources for area cats from users
  4. • communicate between advocates and users
  5. • assist the public and shelters with found cats
coexist with cats

1. User Interview

Chicago Animal Care and Control

To ensure I was heading in the right direction with the problem of cat homelessness, I interviewed a leading member of the Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC). They had experience with cat welfare and a valuable, logistical perspective about how Chicago operates. Some insights from the interview:

cat community

2. Prototype

Insights from the interview with the CACC influenced the direction of the prototype. Cat advocates (cat community leaders) were considered to be the primary user group. iOS Mobile Design Patterns were applied to the prototype.

prototype task 1
prototype task 2

Next Steps

While the Cat City project was planned to be a two-week exercise, the importance of the mission has motivated me to continue working with local cat community advocates and shelters to learn more about the problem. Here are some next steps:

  1. • interview cat community advocates to identify their needs
  2. • iterate design to reflect needs of advocates more specifically
  3. • analyze other networks or platforms involved in connecting the public with community cat initiatives
  4. • test with advocates, the public, and shelter organizers
thank you