Since the Christmas season can be a stressful time of year, the Bartow County Library System is offering a way to relax and unwind while also possibly finding a new best friend.
The Cartersville Public Library has partnered with the Etowah Valley Humane Society to host its first Pages & Paws Cat Cafe Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. in the Nathan Dean Meeting Room at 429 W. Main St.
Patrons will be able to take a de-stressing break from their shopping and decorating to play with some cuddly adoptable felines from EVHS and enjoy free Starbucks coffee made fresh on-site by three baristas.
“I am a major cat lover and have traveled to quite a few major cities with cat cafes that have popped up over the past few years,” Adult Services library assistant Meghan Stipe said. “The trend started in Taiwan way back in 1998, but since then, Tokyo has become the destination for cat cafes, and they have been gaining popularity in the States. Atlanta has two that have opened in the past year — Java Cats and The Happy Tabby.”
After getting the idea to host a cat cafe, Stipe said her “first thought” was to contact EVHS to “see if they would be interested in partnering up for a program,” and EVHS Director Bryan Canty definitely was.
“I had not previously heard about this concept, but I thought it was/is a neat idea,” he said. “We’re always open to trying new concepts. At EVHS, we try not to ever miss an opportunity to showcase the great homeless pets at our shelter. Even if we don’t adopt any animals, it still allows us to educate the general public on our viability in the community as well as making them aware of pet overpopulation in Bartow County.”
Stipe said a waiting area with tables and chairs will be set up on one side of the meeting room for patrons to enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee while catching up with friends, listening to music and browsing through books and adoption information. On the other side, six cats will be hanging out, ready to play and cuddle with them.
Canty said the cats that he will take to the event haven’t been selected yet, “but we have an idea as to which ones are better suited to this type of environment.”
“We also have to take into consideration that some may be adopted into loving forever homes by then — at least, we hope,” he said.
Patrons who decide to adopt a new feline friend at the cafe will be able to take care of all the paperwork on-site, according to Canty, who is “certainly planning to be” there Saturday to answer questions about the cats or EVHS.
“I want to see this for myself,” he said.
As for the coffee being served, Stipe said Sarah Cole, a “wonderful barista” who manages a Starbucks in Dallas, has donated Starbucks coffee and volunteered her time to help with the event.
“She is also planning to make the coffee using a French press and pour overs for ‘a more authentic cafe feel,’” she said. “Sarah is bringing two other baristas to help her prepare and serve the coffee.”
Stipe said this event is a “perfect way to combine a bunch of positive things into one.”
“First, this is a way to get cats adopted,” she said. “According to Bryan at EVHS, adoptions are up this year. I want that number to keep rising, and I want to lend my help in any way that I possibly can. Unfortunately, I have a very elderly and sensitive cat so I, personally, am not able to adopt any animals right now, but I hope that I can act as a liaison and bring some new kitties and families together.”
Canty added EVHS is having “our best year ever in terms of raw numbers and statistically speaking.”
“We are on pace to rescue over 2,600 lives, and we’ve lowered euthanasia at [Bartow County Animal Control] for an eighth consecutive year,” he said. “EVHS is making a profound impact on animal welfare in our community, but don’t take my word for it. We invite any and everyone to volunteer and understand what we are all about.”
And the cat cafe also benefits the library.
“It gives us a way to partner with an awesome local organization and do some local outreach, hopefully getting some new patrons to visit the library and learn what a wealth of resources and fun things we have to offer,” Stipe said. “One of my main goals as a member of the library staff is to help patrons find a sense of community in their own city. I want people to know that libraries are more than just books.”
Registration for the event is preferred and can be done at the reference desk or by calling 770-382-4203.
“This time around, we have registration listed as preferred on all of our marketing material; that is, if you would like to make sure that you will have a spot, be sure to call and register for a time of your choice — any time between 1 and 5 p.m.,” Stipe said. “You are also welcome to walk in and see how things look. We do not want to discourage anyone from attending by setting strict rules about registration.”
Stipe has been getting a lot of feedback so far from patrons about the new concept.
“Honestly, I have been blown away by the amount of interest that we have had,” she said. “My main method of advertising right now is through Facebook, where we have 145 responses to the event and over 5,300 views [as of Tuesday afternoon]. If this goes well and we have a successful turnout, I would like to make this a recurring event.”
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