Lewisburg Cat Café? Meow.
by Paula Cogan Myers
A café denizen hangs out.
A café denizen hangs out.
Photo: Emily Paine
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Sarah Kline M’06 (left) and Angie Brouse at the downtown Lewisburg cat café.
A café denizen hangs out.
A black-and-white tuxedo cat called Leo slips out from underneath the sofa and jumps up to check on his sister Phoebe, who is taking a nap in a colorful box affixed to the wall. A little girl and her mom follow his path, wondering if he’ll be the one. The scene is Lewisburg’s new cat café, The Scratching Post, opened by Sarah Kline M’06, Bucknell’s associate director of prospect management and analytics, and Angela Brouse, former regional director of leadership gifts.

Colleagues and neighbors, Kline and Brouse often shared stories of the kittens and cats they rescued. Brouse kept hearing about cat cafés in major cities and mentioned it to Kline, thinking they’d laugh it off, but Kline had recently started her own nonprofit, Cherished Cats Rescue Alliance, and saw it as a great adoption platform.

In February 2017, the two set out to find a location. It was a difficult concept to pitch, but their current landlord thought the café would be a boon for Market Street business. With a space secured, they assembled a volunteer board to bring it to life. “Our board has been amazing,” says Brouse. “They help run events, photograph adoptable cats and manage our team of 60 trained volunteers, who welcome visitors and clean the space from top to bottom every day.”

The Animal Rescue Center (ARC) in Bloomsburg became their first partner, and since December, they’ve had more than 2,000 visitors from as far away as Maryland and New York. Each visitor pays $5 to spend an hour in the café, and many make larger donations.

“It’s been absolutely spectacular,” says Kline. “Already, 56 ARC cats have been adopted.” One cat who had waited seven years found her home within a month of being on site. They’ve even hosted a green-eyed celebrity-in-the-making named Tenzing, who flew to his new home in Hollywood with a professional animal trainer who plans to develop him into a star.

Kline and Brouse have welcomed local groups, Bucknell sports teams and student organizations, and hosted final-exam de-stress nights and cat yoga classes. What’s surprised them most is how happy visitors are.

“People are thrilled to be here,” says Kline. “Phones only come out to take cat pictures. The vast majority of people are fully engaged while they’re here, which isn’t common anymore. Not only are we doing all of these adoptions and giving these cats a chance, but people are enjoying themselves. It’s been really heart-melting.”