Our Story

How we became the first cat cafe in Brooklyn

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 animal homelessness through education, TNR and outreach. We are run by Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition and are the only non-profit cat cafe in New York City.

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 almost 7,000 cats and more than 100 other animals including dogs, guinea pigs, rats, rabbits, mice and a chicken. Nearly 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, and since then have done over 1,200 spay/neuter surgeries and examined over 2,000 cats (and also many rabbits and rats).

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 Mission

Serving our community since 2007

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.

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 opening in 2016, we have rescued over 5,000 cats and more than 100 other animals including dogs, guinea pigs, rats, rabbits, mice and a chicken. Well over 3,000 animals have been placed in permanent adoptive homes and over 800 cats have been TNRed. We host the BBAWC rescue clinic, which in 2021 did 248 spay/neuter surgeries and over 2,000 exams. In 2022 from January through April, the clinic has done 431 spay/neuter surgeries and over 1,100 exams.

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.

2019

2019

  • 342 friendly animals rescued
  • 240 cats TNRed
  • 188 shelter pulls
  • 430 adoptions
  • 56 spay/neuter assistance

2020

2020

  • 867 friendly animals rescued
  • 172 cats TNRed
  • 211 shelter pulls
  • 1023 adoptions
  • 63 spay/neuter assistance

2021

2021

  • 954 friendly animals rescued
  • 193 cats TNRed
  • 153 shelter pulls
  • 967 adoptions
  • 248 spay/neuter surgeries
  • 2017 exams

2022

2022

  • 494 friendly animals rescued
  • 176 cats TNRed
  • 86 shelter pulls
  • 434 adoptions
  • 806 spay/neuter surgeries
  • 1969 exams

(January – June)

Our funders

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

Other donors include:
  • ASPCA
  • BISSELL Pet Foundation
  • Head Family Charitable Foundation
  • Heights Advisors
  • Maddie’s Fund
  • Petco Love
  • Steedman Family Foundation & public support from donors like you
2019

2019

  • 342 friendly animals rescued
  • 240 cats TNRed
  • 167 animals pulled from ACC
  • +21 from other shelters
  • 430 adoptions
  • 56 spray/neuter assistance

2020

2020

  • 867 friendly animals rescued
  • 172 cats TNRed
  • 204 animals pulled from ACC
  • +7 from other shelters
  • 1023 adoptions
  • 63 spray/neuter assistance

2021

2021

  • 867 friendly animals rescued
  • 172 cats TNRed
  • 204 animals pulled from ACC
  • +7 from other shelters
  • 1023 adoptions
  • 248 spray/neuter assistance + 2017 exams

2022

2022

(Jan-Apr)

  • 828 friendly animals rescued
  • 133 cats TNRed
  • 24 animals pulled from ACC
  • +46 from other shelters
  • 340 adoptions
  • 431 spray/neuter assistance + 1109 exams