Brooklyn Boro

Seth Meyers and other celebs turn out to support Brooklyn Cat Cafe

Sitting in A-list real estate, cafe attracts A-list supporters

June 3, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff

Brooklyn Cat Cafe at 76 Montague St., Brooklyn Heights, on Thursday will celebrate five years of cat rescue in Brooklyn with “Turning Five and Feline Fine,” an online streaming event featuring comedy, entertaining features about cat rescue, and of course — cat videos. 

Contrary to what some people might think, the Brooklyn Cat Cafe, operated by  the Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition, is not a place where people can take their cats to play with others, nor it is a place to drop off stray and other unwanted cars. However, it is a place where people looking to adopt a cat can come, relax, have coffee or tea, play with the cats and make their decisions. 

Celebrity hosts at the online event include NBC’s Seth Meyers (Late Night with Seth Meyers); stand-up comedian Paula Poundstone; TV and movie actor and producer Téa Leoni; actor John Doman (The Wire); actor Lance Reddick (The Wire); actor and singer Reshma Shetty (Royal Pains); comedian Ophira Eisenberg (NPR’s Ask Me Another); Alysia Reiner of “Orange is the New Black”; chef and restaurateur Tom Colicchio; and Laura Brown, editor-in-chief of InStyle; along with longtime Brooklyn Cat Cafe feline resident manager and mascot, Newt. 

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Cat Cafe co-founder Rachel Foster is the co-sponsor of the event, along with her husband Alain Kodsi, of Heights Advisors, the  Heights-based real estate development firm that has served as lead investor in many large Brooklyn projects. Also serving as co-sponsors are Tracy and Howard Brickner.

This cat is asking a delighted patron for treats. Photo by Alexandra Steedman

The event will also honor Brooklyn rescue veterinarians Dr. Yvonne Szacki of the Park Slope Veterinary Center and Dr. Pratikshya Patil, also of Park Slope, for their tireless work providing affordable veterinary care to Brooklyn’s animal rescue community.

Viewers can watch the livestream on June 3 at 7 p.m. ET or on demand after the event. Runtime is approximately 55 minutes. Tickets start at $25. For tickets, donations, and sponsorship, visit fiveyears.catcafebk.com. 

Since it opened on May 7, 2016, in a storefront on Atlantic Avenue, more than 75,000 people from around the world have visited Brooklyn Cat Cafe and attended events and classes. In 2018, Brooklyn Cat Cafe moved to its current space at 76 Montague St.

Cats rest on the bar and on bar stools at the Brooklyn Cat Cafe. Photo by Alexandra Steedman

In its five years of existence, Brooklyn Cat Cafe has rescued more than 4,000 animals and sent more than 2,600 to “forever homes.” So  far in 2021, Brooklyn Cat Cafe has rescued more than 650 animals and made more than 400 adoptions. 

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The cafe closed near the beginning of the pandemic, but reopened with limited hours that fall.  Describing why the Cat Cafe survived when so many other businesses and nonprofits alike haven’t, Adelia Honeywood Harrison of the Cat Cafe said, in a statement:

“We are a nonprofit organization and the community is very committed to our work. Except for a small staff, we are almost entirely volunteer-run. During the pandemic, public interest in fostering and adopting animals exploded. In 2019 we made 430 adoptions and in 2021 we made 1,024. We went from having a few dozen cats in a foster home at a time in 2019 to a few hundred every month in 2020 and now. Adopters pay an adoption fee, and the increased number of adoptions meant more revenue for our rescue work. 

“Our fosters were willing to cover costs for their own supplies. We also received foundation grants from GS Humane, ASPCA and Petco Love. And individual donors really came through for us,” she said.

She added, “I should emphasize that we are really coming out even, not ahead. Adoption donations cover only part of the costs for a given cat. What really pulled us through were our volunteers who do a ton of work, grant funding and individual donors.”


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