Our story

Our story

How we became the first cat cafe in Brooklyn

Our mission

Serving our community since 2007

The Brooklyn Cat Cafe is a volunteer-run adoption center and community space working to reduce cat homelessness through rescue, education, TNR and outreach. We are run by Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition (BBAWC) and are proud to be the only non-profit cat cafe in New York City.

Our impact

Since 2007, we have rescued over 7,000 cats

In 2021, we took in and adopted out more cats than any non-government funded organization in NYC. 100 cats on average each month are placed in our foster network. We operate one of the largest cat foster programs in NYC. Over 800 foster families have welcomed our cats into their homes since 2020.

Our public space provides a welcoming environment for visitors to engage with friendly felines in a comfortable setting that organically promotes humane education. Since opening, we have welcomed over 100,000 visitors.

We began the BBAWC Rescue Clinic in 2020 to provide high quality low-cost veterinary services and spay/neuter to rescuers and low-income pet owners. To date, we have performed over 1,800 spay/neuter surgeries and over 5,000 exams. We are currently the only low-cost option booking appointments for cat owners.

We make cat rescue accessible. Our cost-efficient resources support independent rescuers and empower members of the public to take action in addressing cat homelessness.

We believe that everyone can be an active part of the solution.

We are proud to be one of the earliest cat cafes in the US, and the first to launch in New York City’s most populous borough. We’re the only cafe in the city run by a non-profit animal rescue organization.

Our history

How we started

A group of rescuers founded Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition (BBAWC) in 2007 with the goal of improving the lives of the many homeless animals of Brooklyn through low-cost veterinary services and adoption support. Finding foster homes for cats rescued from the street or pulled from the overcrowded city shelter became the organization’s top priority, but it was a major struggle without a central meeting place for foster families, potential adopters, and rescuers. The Brooklyn Cat Cafe was launched to be this very special place.

Creating a community headquarters

The cafe opened in May 2016 at a storefront location in historic Brooklyn Heights. Since then, we have welcomed an average of over 35,000 visitors during a normal year. Brooklyn Cat Cafe is primarily volunteer-run, managed by the BBAWC directors who oversee the business affairs, cat care and daily operations. We also operate as a resource center for animal rescuers, providing educational workshops and holding space for newly-rescued cats and we began conducting Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) services in December 2016.

Our mission expands

During the COVID pandemic, we turned our attention to growing our foster program. We now house around 200 cats in foster homes at any given time, massively increasing our life-saving capacity through the generosity of our community of cat lovers. In 2020, we began a low-cost medical clinic, providing vaccinations, exams, and other services to recent rescues. In 2021 our spay/neuter clinic started offering low-cost options to rescuers and low-income community members.

Expanding outreach out for evolving needs

As our focus broadens to provide more access to low-cost veterinary care for both rescuers and low-income pet owners, we’re able to help even more animals stay with their loving families, on their journey to adoptive homes, or continue their lives as healthier, happier community cats.

Our reach

Since BBAWC began in 2007, we have rescued over 7,000 cats and more than 100 other animals including dogs, guinea pigs, rats, rabbits, mice and a chicken. Over 6,000 animals have been placed in permanent adoptive homes and over 1,000 cats have been TNRed. We started the BBAWC Rescue Clinic in 2020 which has done over 1,800 cat spay/neuter surgeries (as well as some rabbits and rats).


We thank our supporters

  • BISSELL Pet Foundation
  • Head Family Charitable
  • Foundation
  • Heights Advisors
  • Maddie’s Fund
  • Nelson Family
  • Philanthropy
  • Petco Love
  • Steedman Family
  • Foundation
  • and public support from donors like you

The Brooklyn Cat Cafe is made possible by support from GS Humane.