PEABODY, Mass. — Grab a coffee.
Hook up to the free internet.
And cuddle with a cat.
That’s what’s happening at “The Kitty Cat Cafe” in Peabody. It’s a nonprofit organization that gives visitors time to hang out with the friendly felines, and hopefully find them a permanent home.
“I’ve had two different cats sit on my lap and it’s been the best day of my life,” said Lauren Collins, a student visiting from Toronto who stopped by the cafe.
She found it to be a great antidote to the daily grind.
“It’s honestly a lot. There’s stuff going on just with schoolwork, and stress, and stuff like that and things piling up. I’ve kind of not thought about it while I’ve been here, and it’s because there’s cats,” she said.
The Cafe only opened in November but already more than 1,000 visitors have come thru the doors to spend time with the loving animals.
“A cat cafe is basically a place where you can come, get some coffee, get some treats, and hang out with a bunch of cats,” explained Uri HaRel, who started the facility with his wife.
It has always been their dream to open a cat cafe. They’ve visited two dozen of them around world, actually planning vacations in cities that have cafes like the one they’ve now opened.
They’re now able to give cats like Charlie a good home as they look for a permanent placement. He had been abandoned on the streets of Lynn.
Then there’s Ice, a cool cat who exudes confidence and acts like he’s running the cafe. He’s suspected of hiding behind some of our crew’s gear during our shoot!
Seeing their full personalities on display really enhances their chances of finding a home, said Harel.
“You don’t get that in a shelter, and they’re just hungering for love,” Harel said.
Lars Kellogg-Stedman came to visit the Cafe from Belmont. He has two cats at home, but says a visit here makes a fun outing.
He thinks it will interest more people in adoption.
“Maybe they’ve have not really bonded with an animal before, and they’ll find a cat here that just they really clicks with their personality, seems to be a match, and they’re like, ‘Oh hey, this cat is really working out!’” he said.
“Once you get the connection with them and they trust you, their love is just unlimited,” added Harel. “So, there’s nothing more wonderful than taking a cat that might have had a hard life and is a little less trusting and building that relationship, watching them become more resilient.”
Harel said this is a real passion project for him and his wife, but that’s it a lot if hard work. He usually arrives no later than 6 a.m. to wash the floors, feed the cats, and give them their medications.
He said they’re pretty much booked solid for the next two months.
Part of the policy there is to keep the daily admission numbers low so it’s relaxing for the cats, and they don’t get overwhelmed by the crowds.
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