HUNTINGTON, NY — The Oliva family’s dream became a reality on Sunday when they opened Catpurrccinos, a cat cafe where cat lovers and other customers can eat, play and/or adopt a new feline friend. The cafe is at 322 Main St., Huntington.
The family has been rescuing cats since spring 2017. Brittany Oliva, 26, founded Feral to Family Cat Rescue, Inc. in February 2018, which has become a federally-recognized 501(c)3 non-profit rescue organization. The operation has become a family affair that has culminated in the recent opening of a eatery meant to blend food service with cat rescuing and adoption. Oliva’s father helps rescue cats and largely financed Catpurrccinos, her mother keeps whichever cats they rescue company at the family’s home, and her brother helps however he can.
Chris Cafiero, Brittany’s fiancee, is all but an official member of the family and serves as general manager of Catpurrccinos. They’ve been together for about three years now.
Cafiero, 30, said the cafe has been the family’s brainchild roughly six months after they started adopting cats. After they visited a few cat cafes, the family realized creating their own was something they wanted to do. Now, their ideas are a tangible business on a central street of one of Long Island’s largest communities.
“I love it and the exposure that the cats are getting,” Cafiero told Patch. “We had found homes for about 80 cats through the rescue from our home just with social media and word of mouth. And then we open up here two days ago, and there’s almost a dozen applications for the cats. It’s a cool feeling to know that you’re helping.”
Hungry or thirsty customers are greeted with the scents of hot coffee and baked goods. Beverage options include tea, hot chocolate, any kind of coffee or espresso, lattes, cappuccinos, and Italian sodas, which are flavored club sodas topped with garnishment.
As far as food, there are items you’d find in bakeries, such as cookies, cakes, croissants, scones and danishes. You can get an egg sandwich, or an egg pastry in the shape of a muffin that comes filled with ham, turkey, bacon, egg and cheese. Cafiero also does a southwestern version of the egg pastry complete with jalapenos. There will be grilled cheeses that can be topped with things like bacon or tomato.
Wraps, paninis or ciabatta bread can serve as the vessel for skirt steak, grilled chicken and different aiolis. Soups are on the way.
In the back of the shop is the cattery. It currently houses about 30 cats waiting for forever homes. Cafiero stressed that the cat side of the business is completely different from the cafe, as the two are separated by a vestibule.
All proceeds from the cattery go towards supporting Feral to Family. Customers are charged $15 per visit to the cattery, though a $39 per month membership option allows for unlimited visits to see the cats. A second tier will soon be introduced that allows members unlimited visits, as well as 10 percent off food and drinks, though a price hasn’t been assigned to it, yet.
“The difference between a lot of cat cafes and us is that we are the rescue,” Cafiero said. “We are the not-for-profit that has the cats here.”
He compared it to other cat cafes that partner with cat rescues. As a result, other cafes pay a portion of their proceeds to the rescue to cover things like veterinarian services. Catpurrccinos covers its own pet bills and everything else for the felines the family adopts.
As for the food component, Cafiero said if the cattery doesn’t raise the money it needs, then the cafe portion of the business will donate to cover the rest of the bills. Catpurrccinos has a vet, vet assistant, vet technician and mobile vet on-staff, which Cafiero said allows the organization to take care of the cats to the best of their ability. The vet comes in about three times per week, while the mobile vet is called in case of an emergency when the vet isn’t available.
Customers are able to bring their food to-go into the cattery if they wish. However, those with allergies or unwilling to visit the cat room can view the cats through a glass panel dividing the two rooms.
For those interested in adopting a new furry friend, the fee is $125, though the business will waive the $15 access fee, rendering the cost to $110. An adoption desk is set up inside the cattery. Feral to Family has a Petstablished page, which allows potential adopters to see which cats are available, as well as medical records and other pertinent information. If someone wants to adopt a cat from Catpurrccinos, they fill out a form. From there, the staff uses a grace period to call the adopter’s veterinarian to check if they take good care of any preexisting pets. The staff also reaches out to references to ensure each cat will be adopted into a safe environment. That is followed by a home check. Once the prospective adopter passes every background check, they’re given a pick-up day to come and officially obtain their new family member.
The best way to make a reservation is online at the Catpurrccino website, though it can also be done by phone. If you visit the cattery, you’re required to fill out a one-time waiver. From then on, you’re in the system.
Catpurrccinos is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The cattery opens at 11 a.m. each day.
Cafiero and the rest of the staff are still looking for menu recommendations from the community. If you have any, you can either let them know when you visit, or post them in the comments section below.
All photos by Michael DeSantis/Patch
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