Finding Eternal Families: New Market’s KAT Café Celebrates 200th Adoption | Economy & business
When Diane Foland opened her adoption center in New Market almost two years ago, she hoped to find at least one cat a permanent home each month.
A year and 10 months later, KAT Café celebrated its 200th adoption when 1-year-old Luna (formerly Iduna) returned home with the Zimet family from Darnestown.
“She’s curious,” Lori Zimet said of her black and white cat. “She’s sweet, she’s confident.”
Lori and her daughters Hannah, 14, and Maia, 10, visited KAT last week after a friend of Frederick’s informed them of New Market activity. They made an appointment and hoped to find a self-confident feline who wouldn’t mind living alongside their dog.
“My daughter was playing with [Luna], and she was very sympathetic, ”Lori told the News-Post.
They scanned a QR code in the cafe to learn more about the history and personality of Luna’s vet. From there, Lori said they started a smooth application process and were able to get her home a few days later.
“She’s adjusting,” Lori said Wednesday. “It’s nice to have a cat. This brings a good balance.
For Foland, the 200th adoption marks an important milestone.
“With each adoption, I am so grateful that we can help provide this service to the community,” said Foland. “Just to say, ‘I’ve helped adopt hundreds of cats’ … it’s really amazing.”
Foland describes KAT (which stands for Kitties, Adoptions, Treats) as an adoption center first and a place to have light snacks afterwards. The Frederick County Animal Control Division and Animal Adoption Center provide the cats and KAT brings the warm atmosphere.
Linda Shea, director of the county’s Animal Control and Animal Adoption Center, praised the “partnership that saves lives.”
“The 200 cats adopted through KAT benefited from a less stressful environment,” said Shea, “and were able to show their“ real selves ”in a cage-free environment that mimics a home environment – something our traditional shelter cannot. We appreciate Diane’s foresight and persistence in making this happen and in providing a welcoming environment not only for the cats in her care, but also for potential adopters.
Inside their store on Wednesday, just over a dozen cats wandered among soft pillows, plush blankets and scratching cat trees. Classical music floated from the speakers. Touches of Halloween trinkets could be spotted between a feline-inspired decor. One small chalkboard advertised vegan chocolate cupcakes – they offer vegan treats for humans and have a carnivorous menu for their four-legged residents.
Guests pay $ 15 for an hour and 10 minutes with the cats, which Foland says helps cover the costs of supplies needed to care for so many kittens.
“Their money is going to a great cause,” Foland said, explaining that KAT is not funded by county dollars like the shelter.
As Foland spoke about the business and everything she had learned, a gray tabby named Octopus climbed on top of her and began kneading a pillow. Finally, he fell asleep soundly next to Foland.
While some cats dozed off, others bounced off toys or sneaked around shelves. A curious kitten jumped onto the white picket fence used to prevent cats from sneaking through the front door. Foland quickly tore the cat from its perch.
Employee Michelle Weston, wearing a cat-print mask, cuddled one of the cats. She was a veterinary technician, but the job came with many difficult days. While working at KAT, she says she experiences “all the happiness” and none the sad.
“I feel like I’m really making a difference,” Weston said.
She has noticed how cats’ personalities seem to stand out when they have a place to walk around and interact with different groups of people.
“It’s so nice to be able to see how they act outside of a cage,” Weston said.
When cats come to the animal shelter, they tend to stay there until they find a home. Most kittens just arrived in August or earlier this month. Their current cohort is aged 4 months to 6 years.
A 3 year old black cat named Voodoo, who dozed off in a window facing the street, has been there since May. Foland said Voodoo would rather be the only cat in his house, so they were waiting for the right adopter.
Requests are handled by the county shelter, although KAT employees are there to help answer customer questions.
“The shelter works hard doing it basically like a match to make sure the kitten ends up in the best home, as this helps reduce the rate of return to the shelter,” Foland said. “Everyone’s goal is adoption forever. “
KAT spent two months closed due to COVID-19 and closed an additional two months when they ran out of cats due to high adoption rates.
But now, with the regular arrival of cats, they’ve added events, such as painting nights, tarot readings, and yoga.
At the start of the business, Foland said they welcomed walk-in visitors, but have since switched to reservations. Foland found that scheduled dating reduced impulse adoptions that might not be successful.
Still, whether someone comes to visit with the intention of adopting or just to play with the cats, Foland is happy to see them.
“The community is so kind and generous,” Foland said, “and they donate a lot of cat litter.”
Follow Mary Grace Keller on Twitter: @MaryGraceKeller