The Strathmore Municipal Library and Happy Cat Sanctuary hosted Strathmore's first ever cat cafe last Saturday!

Debbie Jensen with the Happy Cat Sanctuary said the event was wonderful, as more than 200 people showed up and 8 cats were adopted! On top of that, $230 was raised in donations for the sanctuary. Jensen was especially happy to see how much everyone enjoyed the cafe, including the cats!

"People just love the cats, and the cats love the people, so it's fun. I was so proud of all the parents because all the kids that came in were very gentle with the cats, which is nice.," Jensen said.

cat cafe​​​​​​Photo Courtesy: ​Strathmore Municipal Library

Cat cafes are a great way to spend time with our feline friends, even if you can't take one back home with you. Jensen said some people had the opportunity to enjoy a cat's company when they normally couldn't, and moments like that make it all worth it.

"There was a lady and her kids there who love cats but her husband is very allergic, so they got to come down there and play with the cats and spend some time with them. So it's nice that people that can't have a cat can come down and visit the cats." 

Assistant Director of Library Services Carmen Erison explained the cafe would not have been possible without the Town of Strathmore's help and funding. Through Strathmore FCSS, the cafe was funded by the rural mental health project grant, which provided all the food and drinks. the Town and FCSS also worked with the library to provide other necessities for the cafe, like the racks. Erison explained the mental health grant was put to good use, as cat cafes are a great way to improve mental health.

"The cat cafe was a great program because it allowed other cat lovers to meet each other, get to know each other, and working with animals is also a big boost for mental health. So that was what made the cat cafe not only a great event for the Happy Cat Sanctuary where they were able to pull in some donations and get cats adopted out, but also be able to provide a space where people can come enjoy and just have a lot of fun with other cats," Erison said.

cat cafePhoto Courtesy: Strathmore Municipal Library

The event was such a great success that it will be coming back in January! There is no specific date yet, but Erison said they will try to bring the cafe back two more times before the rural mental health project grant runs out in March. Even after the grant runs out, it's possible we could see the cafe return, although it could be a paid event since the library would have to cover the costs of food, drinks, cleaning supplies, and other necessities.

"Once the grant funding is over, I think that (paid entry) is something that we would consider. The one thing that we have to consider, especially when we're running events like this, is health and safety. So we wanted to make sure that no food was inside the cat area, and when you are selling food, you also have to be very considerate about what you're selling. We have to make sure that we follow proper health and safety guidelines and those other things," Erison said.

With the cat cafe set to return, you'll have a couple more opportunities to spend time with plenty of happy cats at the library! If one cat especially gets your attention, you could even adopt one. 

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