Adoptable Cats, Coffee and Snacks: Could Ferndale Get a Cat Cafe?

ScottWrightadTOPAdoptable Cats, Coffee and RustBeltAd01Snacks: Could Ferndale Get a Cat Cafe?

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Aug. 12, 2015)

Imagine a place where adoptable kitties roam free and their human friends can come relax among them – sip some coffee, enjoy a snack, get on their laptops and work. The concept of the Ferndale CatFe – a hybrid of “cat” and “café” – has already raised the Ferndale Cat Shelter nearly $4,000 in less than a month through their Indiegogo Campaign.

The goal was to raise $2,500 for the security deposit, utilities & supplies. As of Tuesday evening they had topped their goal by 58%.

The plan is that volunteers will run the CatFe and ongoing funding will come from donations for the coffee and snacks, plus visitors will Reid_Sally_115pay per hour to use the space.

Deanne Iovan is a volunteer helping to get the CatFe going. “We did the campaign to raise money, but also to see if there is support in the community for this,” Iovan said. “It’s promising to see the progress. It’s really gelling with the community.”

The idea came from a The Cat Café in San Diego, CA where the cats and the humans seem to enjoy all the mingling.

If all goes as planned, the CatFe will open on Livernois in the space most recently occupied by Community Health Acupuncture (801 Livernois). Iovan said one room would be used for crates and litter boxes, and the cats would be put in the crates at night or when they needed to be modern natural baby inprogressseparated. She said that in order to meet health department requirements they may need to keep the food serving area separate from the area where the cats are, and there may be a difference between selling food and coffee and having them there for people to leave donations for.

“We’re going to need to work with the health department and the city, but I think we can make this work,” she said. “It would be great for Ferndale to have the first cat café in Michigan.”

The City said they’ve not been involved in the planning of the CatFe other than an inquiry about zoning. No plans or applications have been submitted. “We don’t consider it a project until we have some type of formal submittal made for approval or occupancy,” said Director of DevelopmentsideADpink Derek Delacourt.

When asked if a cat café was feasible, he could not respond without knowing the plans. He did note that there are “several rules and regulations about facilities that board or handle animals. How those are administered are based on what the primary use of the facility is and if the cats are considered accessory.”

If the project isn’t able to get all the approvals, the money raised through Indiegogo would go for other Ferndale Cat Shelter expenses. The Ferndale Cat Shelter has been rescuing stray and abandoned cats to be adopted out, and they have been doing trap, neuter and release missions to prevent the breeding of stray cats.

“I would say that our biggest success is that we try. We don’t and cannot promise to take in every cat and kitten, but we are willing to work with other groups and organizations. We do a lot of promoting cats and kittens that we do not have space for to help them too. Using networking to DDAnew01help develop relationships with other groups has been a huge boon to our efforts and without them, we would not be where we are today,” said Angela Fisher, one of the founders of Ferndale Cat Shelter.

Fisher is excited about the idea of a CatFe. “First, it is a way to get more cats and kittens in front of potential adopters. Second, it’s a great way to socialize our cats and kittens even more that we do now. Third, it will be a way to help cover the expenses of caring for these cats and kittens. For me, my cats are very individual and independent family members. They have their own quirks and personalities and learning to work with them helps us grow as a family,” she said.

The individual success stories are numerous. “Marlo was a cat alone in a house for 3 weeks after his owner died in hospital. Marlo went to a forever home after several months of rehab and work in re-socializing a cat that had given up,” Fisher said. “The woodland babies, born prematurely twist_club01in the woods from a mom that wasn’t going to come back. They’re so tiny they are about three weeks behind in growth but thanks to a wonderful foster mom they are going to be ready for adoption in a matter of weeks – pretty much miraculous!”

The fundraiser continues, with rewards for those who contribute. Chip in $150 and you get a cat yoga session for five, including hot tea. Chip in $200 and you get your very own cat birthday party. For $300 you can have your portrait painted with your pet.

Find out more about the CatFe fundraiser at

Find out more about Ferndale Cat Shelter at


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