WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – There’s a purrfect new spot to hang out in Williamsport. Cat Tales Cat Café opened in early May at 1417 E. Third Street, next to the Beckoning Cat Project clinic. Eight adoptable cats currently reside at the café, all with varying personalities from sweet to playful. The cats range in age from one to nine. Since the café has opened, two cats have been adopted. Though food is not served at the café, visitors are welcome to bring in food and beverages.
Kerry Perry, executive director of the Beckoning Cat Project, said they have a partnership with the Lycoming County SPCA to take cats at the café to “give them a better way to live until the day they get adopted.”
When Perry initially thought of opening a cat café next to the Beckoning Cat Project, she consulted with the owner of The Scratching Post - Lewisburg Cat Cafe. The Lewisburg cat café has been open one and a half years and has adopted out more than 180 cats. Perry learned that as with any cat cafe, reliable volunteers help keep the business going. Upcoming sessions for those interested in volunteering at Cat Tales Cat Café are posted on the Facebook page.
The cat café gives the cats much more "room to roam and play," Perry said. The café is currently set up with an array of couches, chairs, scratching posts, cat beds and toys. Perry mentioned one of the cats seemed very unhappy in his cage at the SPCA. Once he arrived at the café, he relaxed, “He is a much happier cat now,” Perry said.
Skipper, a nine-year-old orange tabby tripod cat, is one the cats staying at the café. “She has a sweet personality,” Perry said. Skipper, who has been a tripod cat since birth, was surrendered by her family because they got a puppy and she was scared of it. She would be best in a quiet home. Skipper, like most of the cats, hid her first few days at the café but eventually came out and started interacting. “It takes them a while to warm up,” Perry said.
Harry, a tabby cat, is one-and-a-half- years old and loves attention. He was surrendered when his owner had to go into a nursing home. Harry, likes most of the cats, loves playing with the wand toy. Other current residents include Cadbury, a fluffy tabby cat, and Matthew, a black cat who loves sitting in the hammock in the window. Photos of current residents are available on the Cat Tales Cat Café Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/cattalescatcafe/.
Perry herself is a cat lover. She owns several cats and has been trapping, releasing and neutering feral cats for years. She started Beckoning Cat Project at its current location in 2014. The nonprofit clinic provides high-quality spay and neuter services to help control the feral cat population. They also do TNR (trap, neuter and release) in conjunction with the SPCA. The clinic has spayed or neutered close to 21,000 cats so far. In her quest to help cats, Perry eventually thought of expanding the building space to include a cat café. “I’ve always been around cats and have been trying to think of what can we do to help,” Perry said.
Of course, all cats at the café are up for adoption. Interested persons may fill out an application at the café and pay a $58.50 fee. The fee includes spay/neuter, microchipping, immunizations and a feline leukemia test. Fee for a second cat is $25.
Spending time at the cat café is a good way to see if adopting is a good fit. “People can see if they fit with their lifestyle. …if you want one that’s super playful or if you don’t want one that’s super playful,” Perry said. “The idea is to play with the cats and interact with them. Or you can bring a book and sit on a chair and read.” Some people do not like going to the SPCA to adopt. “A lot of people don’t want to go to the SPCA because they get sad. This is a way for them to feel guilt free,” Perry said.
Perry stressed that people may come to the cat café even if they have no intentions to adopt. Many people cannot have cats in their homes, including seniors. Perry noted that many seniors who can no longer take care of animals enjoy playing with the cats. Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon are free admission for seniors.
In the near future, the café will have other events including a free admission day for veterans, yoga with cats classes and birthday parties. A Grand Opening event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 8, 2019.
Admission to the cat café is $5 per person. Children ages six and over may visit the café with a parent. Children over the age of 13 may visit without parental consent. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. More information can be found at www.beckoningcatproject.org or the Cat Tales Cat Café Facebook page.