Need a kitty fix but not ready to adopt? Searching for a fur baby but not sure where to look? Or maybe you’re a volunteer who needs somewhere special to spend time?
Welcome to the Good Luck Cat Cafe, a unique pet adoption center tucked in the back of Boomerang’s Thrift Store at 2365 Wilton Drive. The volunteer-run 501(c)(3) has placed 121 homeless cats in forever homes since it opened in June 2016 and is on track to do more of the same.
“There is a huge overpopulation problem with cats,” said volunteer Laura Summers, a Wilton Manors resident who runs the adoption center and coordinates 30 volunteers who keep the doors open. “The problem is that everyone thinks it’s someone else’s job to do it. If everybody just took care of the (cat overpopulation] problems in their own neighborhood …”
A high-pitched yowl, followed by a hiss interrupts the peace as two orange tabby kittens chase each other across the floor. A black kitten with gold eyes peers intently from beneath a chair.
The trio morphs into a rolling, nipping, 12-legged ball of fur.
It’s hard not to laugh.
The homeless kitties hail from Good Karma Pet Rescue and Lady Luck Animal Rescue, which place the animals at the adoption center until they find forever homes. All the kittens and cats available for adoption have been fostered in private homes and thoroughly examined by a vet. The adoption center never has more than 10 cats and kittens at one time.
The thrift store is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays-Sundays. The Good Luck Cat Cafe is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays-Sundays. Donations keep the place running.
The adoption center has a Facebook page and an Instagram account, and volunteers hand out information cards at pet events to get the word out.
Matt LaMariana, president of the Animal Rescue Fund, which operates the thrift store, is the reason the adoption center exists.
He’s donated more than $500,000 to rescue groups over the years to give homeless animals a second chance, money raised by the thrift store he operates.
LaMariana provides the 18-foot by 18-foot room that houses the Good Luck Cat Cafe so Good Karma and Lady Luck have a venue for adoptions.
“It’s the best thing since sliced bread,” said LaMariana, as a black kitten crawled across his shoulders and nibbled his ear. “It gets people into the store and when it gets hectic in here, I get to go in there and get some kitty love.”
Thrift store shoppers and random animal lovers stop in to cuddle kittens and “ooh” and “aah” over their crazy antics.
Some people come by to de-stress. And others fill out applications to adopt.
Summers is there through it all.
“This is my thing. I come here every day,” confessed the AT&T retiree. “It’s a great day when someone comes by and fills out an adoption application.”
The Cafe resembles a cheerful living room, with a comfy couch, a few tables and chairs, a wall of whimsical cat art and a television that plays a DVD of “cat TV” with images of chirping birds.
The volunteers chose a homey decor for the Cafe so potential adopters could picture what their home might be like if they had a cat.
Retired floral designer Tommy Carrigan, of Pompano Beach, visits the Cafe daily to play with the cats, sometimes for hours at a time. It’s become his home away from home. He loves to dangle cat toys in front of the kittens and watch them swat, claw and roll.
“It’s very calming,” said Carrigan, who discovered the Cafe one day while shopping at Boomerang’s.
A small refrigerator stocks bottled drinks for purchase but otherwise the place is all about cats. Sometimes visitors learn of the Good Luck Cat Cafe on the Internet and arrive expecting some trendy eatery with lounging cats.
What they get is lounging cats.
Stacie Ferreiro and her husband Nick, both 23, discovered the Cat Cafe while browsing the thrift store one day and stop by regularly now to cuddle kittens.
Both are allergic so they can’t adopt, but they enjoy the kitties for as long as their noses will allow.
“We liked this thrift store and it does not hurt that they have these cats,” Stacie Ferreiro said. “They tell us it’s nice when people come in a love on the cats.”
WHAT: Good Luck Cat Cafe
WHERE: 2365 Wilton Drive (inside Boomerang’s Thrift Store)
WHEN: 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday through Saturday
COST: Free but donations are accepted