Already home to dozens of cats, the Brooklyn Cat Cafe will soon be able to accommodate even more homeless felines, thanks to a $165,000 grant from the New York State Companion Animal Capital Projects Fund.
The Cafe will use the money to develop the second floor of its home at 76 Montague Street, enabling it to expand its operations and work with specialized felines populations. The expansion will include a nursery for mama cats and kittens; a room dedicated to cats who have been infected with the contagious feline leukemia virus; and a space for single, adult cats.
The room for FeLV-positive cats will be the first such feline accommodation in New York City.
The Cafe is also going to build a outdoor public catio, also the first of its kind in the city.
The additional space will enable cats that can’t be housed in the Cafe’s main space to interact with people and have freedom of movement.
The Cafe’s parent organization is the Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition, and in 2020, BBAWC opened a discounted rescue veterinary clinic for cats at the Cafe. In 2021, BBAWC opened a deeply discounted spay/neuter and surgery clinic for cat rescuers and low-income cat owners. Part of the grant money will fund additional space and medical equipment for these services.
The Cafe expects the grant to cover half the cost of its expansion plans, and in order to secure the funds, BBAWC will need to raise the other $165,000 by the end of August of this year. A new event space connected to the catio will be available to rent for private events, helping generate revenue for rescue operations. The Cafe also accepts donations.
Since 2006, when BBAWC was established, it has rescued more than 7,000 cats and more than 100 other animals. More than 6,000 animals have been placed in permanent homes and over 1,000 cats have been TNRed (trapped-neutered-returned).
“We are very grateful to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets for this critical funding. The new space will provide shelter cats that cannot be housed in Brooklyn Cat Cafe’s main space with better enrichment and more opportunities to socialize with people, leading to quicker adoptions and increasing our ability to rescue other cats waiting for intake,” said Anne Levin, Executive Director of Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition and Brooklyn Cat Cafe. “In addition, the new medical equipment and veterinary space will allow us to treat rescued cats more quickly and make them available for adoption sooner.”
“Our current space doesn’t allow the public to meet leukemia positive cats or many single adult cats,” said Julia Rosenfeld, Managing Director of Rescue. “People will be able to play with these cats on a sunny outdoor catio, or in a spacious new event space, and hopefully take home a feline friend they might not have considered before.”
Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Cat Cafe.