By Joan Slowey Dellett ~
Cat cafes are not new. The Cat Flower Garden opened in Taiwan in 1998. The unusual concept blossomed in Japan and slowly spread across the world. In October 2014, the first cat café in the United States opened in Oakland.
Cat lover and Catsbury Park Cat Café and Tea House owner DJ Bornschein had visited many of the cat cafés in Japan. And, after being on the road for 15 years working in the music business, he was looking for a new direction.
After running a rescue operation run out of his home, DJ took the original concept of a place for people who want to interact with frisky felines and enjoy a Zen experience and combined that with refreshments and an opportunity to find older cats a forever home. He opened the Catsbury Cat Café and Tea House in September 2017 and facilitated the adoptions of 200 older cats that year.
A nonprofit 501(c)3, the Catsbury Café differentiates itself from the original cafes in that their main focus is rescue and adoption. Resident cats come from the MCSCPA, the Humane Society and the Jersey Shore Animal Foundation, all of whom have been chipped, spayed, neutered and vaccinated. Separated from the café itself by a glass wall, there are typically 11-21 cats at any given time waiting for their forever homes. Feline “resumes” are posted on-line and in the café in the hopes of fitting the right cat with the right person.
Typical customers to the café are cat owners, owner wanna be’s and parents with kids who can enjoy either watching the tabbys in their specially outfitted home space or go inside the enclosure to interact with the cats.
The only cat cafe in the area, the response to Catsbury Café was so surprisingly positive, DJ organized the Catsbury Park Cat Convention last April in Convention Hall in Asbury Park. Working from a model of a similar event on the west coast, the convention featured 70 vendors booths, local shelters, adoptions, a costume contest and celebrity cat meet & greets.
On September 11, Catsbury Cafe will hold their 1st Annual Birthday Bash/Fundraiser at the Asbury Hotel. The event will be semi-formal with a cocktail hour and sit down dinner, music, performances and a silent auction. All money raised will go to the care and feeding of the adoptees in the cafe. The Catsbury Café also takes donations in the form of supplies, food, toys and bedding. You could also consider sponsoring an adoption fee. Recently, they were fortunate to get a sponsorship from HALO for food and litter. Those looking to make a donation can also go to the café’s Amazon wish list to see what the most pressing needs are.
And although the furry felines may be the main draw, the café also offers tea, coffee, pastries and lunch with the menu changing weekly. All food is vegetarian with some vegan options. There is cat merchandise available – anything you can put a cat picture on is there! The Catsbury Café also holds in-shop special events, such as cat yoga twice a month on Saturday mornings and cat bingo once a month as well as education classes on kitten care and TNR (trap neuter release).
For more information on the Catsbury Park Cat Café & Tea House, cat profiles, events, adoption applications or the Birthday Bash Fundraiser, go to: www.catsburypark.com.
708 Cookman Ave, Asbury Park (732) 361-8997