Sneak Peak at the Ferndale CatFe Lounge
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Oct. 29, 2015)
When Cam Faddol of Hazel Park took in a stray cat earlier this month, he had no idea what he was in for. He put the word out, expecting someone to claim the seemingly-cared-for female. But instead the lady cat gave birth, and his temporary one-cat problem now meant a family of six on his hands.
“I didn’t know what to do, but a friend of mine knew Deanne [Iovan] and the Cat Shelter and she’s been so helpful. She helped us keep them healthy and now she’s helping us find them homes.”
The Ferndale Cat Shelter is a grassroots cat rescue that has grown over the past two years. In addition to helping kitties find homes, volunteers do Trap, Neuter and Return efforts to prevent feral cats from reproducing, and now they are on the cusp of opening the Ferndale CatFe Lounge.
Faddol was on hand for an open house on Oct. 24 where people were able to get a sneak peak of the project. The CatFe Lounge is basically a clubhouse for cats and people who would like to spend time with them. Visitors will be asked to give a $10 donation and they’ll be able to come in to use wireless internet, hang out on couches and chairs, and snack on coffee and treats that are self-serve and no cost. And they’ll be sharing this space with multiple felines that are available to be adopted. The space could be good for people considering adoption or fostering, or for those who simply love animals and want to spend time with them.
“We are not a cafe,” explained Deanne Iovan, the volunteer behind the CatFe Lounge. “It’s a lounge and any snacks that are here are donated by volunteers. People serve themselves.” Eventually the plan is to open a proper cafe, with espresso and other treats. That would require more money and meeting more health department requirements. “This is like a trial for us, to see if there is enough interest.”
She explained that volunteers will be there through the day to monitor guests and animals. There is a double-door enclosed entrance-way with a large window and glass door to see that cats do not dart out, and there is a separate room in the back for cat litter and cages. A hefty ventilation system should keep the smells at bay.
Cats are mainly allowed to roam free, but there will be plenty of spaces for them to play and hide. Animals that get stressed or sick will be in foster homes. The Ferndale Animal Shelter has about 100 cats for adoption that are currently in various foster homes. Cats in the CatFe Lounge have been vetted and screened for behavior issues. All are ready for their fur-ever home.
“Right now we have about 15 [cats],” Iovan said. “We’re not sure what the ideal number of cats will be. That will be trial and error. We want to have enough cats so there is enough interaction, but not too many.”
Cats under six months are available for adoption for $100. Cats over six months are $60. All are micro-chipped, fixed, up to date on shots, and cleared for medical issues.
Even if visitors do not adopt, their donation will help fund Ferndale Cat Shelter activities, and the time with other cats and people helps socialize the animals.
Gerard Jendras came all the way from Ann Arbor for the sneak peak. “I love cats and I’m involved in several cat organizations. I read about cat cafes in California, but there aren’t any near here,” Jendras said. “I wanted to see how this is going and give my support. I already have cats, but it’s nice getting out and spending time with other cats. It’s exciting to have one close by.”
The project has raised over $6,000 on Indiegogo, and ongoing donations are needed. Funds are used for rental of the space, vet bills and animal care. They also welcome donations of litter, food, and cleaning supplies.
The CatFe Lounge was made possible thanks to donations from Home Depot, Durst Lumber and Michael’s Glass in Novi. The Lounge is located at 821 Livernois in Ferndale. Learn more at their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/catfelounge or their website http://ferndalecatshelter.org/.
Sneak Peak at the Ferndale CatFe Lounge