WILLIAMSBURG — Cat lovers in Williamsburg will soon have a place to interact with and potentially bring home a feline friend.
The cat lounge will open right next door to The Nautical Dog in the former location of The Ivy Trellis boutique, which recently closed. The space is also notable as being The Nautical Dog’s original location.
Amanda Wilbourne, owner of the The Nautical Dog, wanted to open a cat lounge to give the community a place to socialize with cats who are available for adoption.
“It’s a great way for people to meet cats,” she said. “Maybe they weren’t interested in adopting a cat, and they might come in and fall in love with it and decide they want a cat.”
Shwartzy’s Cove Cat Lounge, named after The Nautical Dog’s first shop cat, Schwartzy, will keep to a nautical theme; giving guests the feeling that they are walking into a beach bungalow.
The lounge will include couches and chairs for the guests while they interact with the cats, as well as cat climbing structures.
The Nautical Dog is partnering with the Heritage Humane Society to bring the shelter’s adoptable cats to the cat lounge.
“We were very excited when Amanda approached us,” Heritage Humane Society’s Marketing, Events and Humane Education Manager Jennifer Lafountain said. “It’s an amazing idea to be able to have some adoptable kitty cats get socialized ad loved, and get some adoptions from it. It’s just a perfect mixture, so we’re very excited about it.”
The lounge will include cats with injuries or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) in need of new homes.
“One amazing thing that Amanda brought up was that she was more than happy to house FIV-positive cats in her cat lounge, which was wonderful to hear,” Lafountain said. “Even right now, we have eight or nine currently available for adoption.”
FIV is an often misunderstood cat virus that cannot be spread through casual contact.
“We don’t have any restrictions on what we allow, and it’s going to be educational to say, ‘Hey, this cat does have this, but it doesn’t prevent it from being a great cat and addition to your home,” Wilbourne said.
As part of the new expansion, part of the wall separating the two buildings will be knocked down. Customers will still need to enter through The Nautical Dog to access the cat lounge.
Guests will not need to make appointments to visit the cat lounge, but Wilbourne said that there will likely be a limit on the number of people in the room at a time.
Guests will also be required to sign waivers before entering the cat lounge, which will close one hour prior to The Nautical Dog’s closing at 7 p.m. every day of the week.
Lafountain said that the cat lounge will also give community members a more comfortable option to interact with cats than they might have at Heritage Humane Society due to limited spacing and the high volume of cats.
“The nice thing is they’re going to really be able to see the cats in a more comfortable setting,” Lafountain said. “People are going to be able to get to know them a little bit more, interact with him, and I think it’s going to be amazing for the cats. They’re going to be able to get a lot more socialization and one-on-one attention.”
Wilbourne said that she looks forward to holding events in the cat lounge, such as cat yoga and children’s book readings.
“The possibilities are endless with the events we can do to get the cats socialized and hopefully find them new homes,” she said.
Wilbourne said that the goal is to open the cat lounge in mid-July.
Disclosure: The idea for this story was brought to WYDaily by a private marketing firm in which WYDaily’s Market President Derek Mason has a vested interest. -Ed.