What's the best way to get a sweet cat like Princes into a new and loving home? Traditionally, we'd all think about cat shelters. We'd put girls like this into kennels or suites, and we'd hope that someone would come in to visit and fall in love.
This week, I visited an organization that's doing things much differently. This group is hosting sweet kitties that need to find homes, but no one would call this place a shelter.
This is Purringtons Cat Lounge, in Portland, Oregon. It's located in a fairly busy, dense, funky neighborhood in the northern part of Portland. (Food trucks and second-hand record shops are nearby.) People can stroll right in and pick up a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and I would bet that many people do that. But the big draw: The cats that call this place home while they wait for forever homes.
The cat area is completely separate from the food prep area, although you can bring your drink or snack of choice into the cat room, if you choose to do to. There is a full-time staffer in the cat room who directs the show, and that person ensures that all of the cat rules are followed.
I was pleased to see that these rules are cat-centric. Visitors are told not to pick up any cats, even if the cats seem to want that. And visitors are not allowed to pet cats that are sleeping. The cats rule the roost here, and the people are clearly just visiting.
Since these rules are strict, it allows Purringtons to take in sassy cats that might not succeed in a traditional shelter. Like this girl: She didn't want anyone to pet her, even though she was in a bed in the open, and she wasn't afraid to swat at people who broke the rule. I can't imagine how she'd do in a kennel in the shelter. But at Purringtons, she was thriving. People worked with her to try to encourage her. In essence, they were training her. It did my heart good to see that.
And I love the fact that Purringtons is damn popular. People must have reservations to visit, and those reservations fill up. And, it's not free to visit. People must pay $8 to head in to visit the cats, to help cover the rent of the building and the cost of keeping the cats healthy and happy, and people happily pay.
When I was there, it was wildly busy. I couldn't believe how many people wanted to come in to visit these sweet cats. Some people even came in cat costumes.
The decor makes visiting fun, too. There's a huge cats-in-space mural on the side of this cat room that's original and amazing. All of the bathrooms and the hallways and the coffee house are dedicated with cat stuff.
People who visit get that cats are quirky, and most people allow these cats to be a little wild. For example, this very big girl decided that napping in a guest's coat was a great idea. And the guest let her do that.
The cats at Purringtons come from the Cat Adoption Team in Portland, which is an organization that partners with a variety of shelters in the Oregon area. Many of the cats I saw had docked ears and skittish ways, which suggests that they had at least some feral experience. Others were beloved older cats that came to the shelter due to health issues in their humans.
Purringtons is remarkably effective at getting these cats adopted. Out of the 15 or so cats I met on Sunday, three were going home that day. One had been at Purringtons for just 4 hours before he was chosen. That's amazing.
If you're in Portland, I highly recommend a Purrington's visit. But if you're not, and you work in animal rescue, think about this organization and what it's doing. Is it an approach your community could replicate?
Thanks for reading, and do leave me a comment, so I'll know you were here.
And be sure to visit the other blogs in this BlogPaws hop. Good stuff this week!