Cherished Cat Rescue Alliance to open in Lewisburg

Megan Ruane, Staff Writer

The Cherished Cat Rescue Alliance is in the process of finding a venue to open a Cat Café in downtown Lewisburg, where students and community members can gather, share food and drink, and spend time with local rescue cats. The proceeds from the café will benefit the alliance and be put towards helping the rescued animals.

For approximately nine years, Sarah Kline ’06 has been working with various cat rescue organizations within the Susquehanna Valley area. She fostered her first kittens in 2005 and has has found homes for many more since then. In 2014, Kline created the Susquehanna Valley Cat of the Day Facebook page, which soon evolved into the Cherished Cats Rescue Alliance.  

Until February 2017, Kline and a few other volunteers self-funded the alliance, paying out of pocket for all necessities such as food and veterinary costs. Kline decided to register the alliance as a nonprofit to offset some of the costs. Soon after, she was approached by Angie Brouse, who suggested opening a cat café downtown.

About ten years ago, the first cat cafés began popping up in Tokyo. The concept spread to countries worldwide including England, Australia, Canada, Taiwan and recently, the United States with the first locations opening in Oakland, Calif., Portland, Ore., and New York City. More recently, cat cafes have opened in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

Kline and Brouse, with the help of a committee, began exploring possible spaces throughout downtown Lewisburg, ultimately hoping for the café to be within walking distance of the University so that students may access it easily. However, their price range limited their downtown options.

At the café, there will be a cover charge for entry, covering drinks provided by the café such as coffee, water, and tea, as well as Wi-Fi. For sanitary reasons, food would not be provided on site; however, visitors would be encouraged to bring food from other restaurants downtown.

The cats would come from local rescues where they have already been acclimated with each other and with people. Every two to three weeks, the cats would be rotated in order to bring in cats from the various cat rescue organizations located around Lewisburg.

There are a few goals the Alliance hopes to accomplish through the café. The first is raising funds to cover the cost of basic essentials and veterinary visits. Currently, adoption fees only cover about half of the total cost of vet visits. The second is to find adoption homes for the cats, as the only option available as of now is the PetSmart store located in Selinsgrove, Pa.

Overall, Kline and Brouse have received positive feedback regarding the cat café.

“Students love when therapy dogs come to campus, so I think a cat café would be a great place for people to go and relax. As a proud cat person, I know I personally would not be opposed to the idea,” Maren Burling ’19 said.

Even those who are not fond of cats are in support of the café.

“I’m honestly not a cat person but I think a lot of other people would love having a cat café to de-stress or just hang out,” Hannah Sicignano ’19 said.

In the near future, Kline and Brouse hope to work out a business plan and budget, as well as hold fundraising events to raise enough money to cover some of the initial costs. The goal would be to open up the café by the fall of 2017. By that time, Kline and Brouse hope to have enough funds raised, and also some more support from some student volunteers on campus.

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