The talk is sure to get catty at a new cafe expected to open soon in West Sayville.
Ryan Shea, a Yaphank resident and nurse at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, is opening what she is billing as Long Island’s first cat cafe. Cats available for adoption can mingle with prospective feline parents at The Shabby Tabby Cat Cafe in the hopes their encounter will lead to a lasting relationship.
Shea raised about $30,000 through a 45-day Kickstarter campaign to renovate an approximately 1,300-square-foot strip mall space slated for the cafe – 249 W. Main St. The work is expected to be completed mid-September.
Cats can have their fun by getting crazy playing with catnip toys and planters or climbing scratch posts. Vistiors will pay an hourly or half-hourly fee to spend time at the cafe, Shea, 36, says. While wrapped baked goods, coffee and tea will be available, "it's not food-directed," Shea says. The cafe's mission is find cats a home.
Shea says plans include two rooms for cats and humans to mingle that will include Wi-Fi, tables and television. The animals for adoption will come from the Golden Paw Society cat rescue group in Huntington. No outside animals will be permitted.
“It’ll be cat-friendly and comfortable,” Shea says. And fun: She hopes to host special events such as paint-your-pet sessions, karaoke with cats, wine tastings and yoga. “At some point I’ll be trying to get a liquor license for wine tastings,” Shea adds.
Shea is a self-confessed cat lover who has three at home — Lillie, Ollie and Bandit. She’s visited cat cafes in Manhattan and one in Colorado.
During the past couple of years, Shea says she’s learned of Long Island’s feral cat problems and how it can be handled, so she also plans educational events such as trap-neuter-release classes.
“I’ve loved cats since junior high school — my mother had cats,” she says. “I like that they do their own thing and they have a relaxing quality about them. They’re not usually super high energy; they just go with the flow and are independent.”