Cats look out the window at passers-by inside the Brooklyn Cat Cafe. Photo by Alexandra Steedman
Brooklyn Cat Cafe at 76 Montague St. in Brooklyn Heights was surprised with a $35,000 check from Petco Love during a celebration at Petco on Tuesday — thanks to a story submitted by Brooklyn resident Debbie Zhang in the Petco Love Stories campaign, and to Brooklyn Cat Cafe adopters submitting the most stories of any rescue group in the Northeast region.
Zhang’s heartwarming story of how her adopted cat changed her life was selected as one of 100 Love Stories winners from across the country this year. Now Brooklyn Cat Cafe can earn up to an additional $25,000, but it needs the community’s support. From now through Dec. 15, noon CST, the public can vote for Brooklyn Cat Cafe’s winning story in the People’s Choice competition here.
“Debbie’s story shows how adopted pets change our lives for the better and we are so thankful she shared her story in the annual Petco Love Stories campaign to help us receive a grant award. These funds will help us bring more pets in need together with loving families,” said Anne Levin, executive director of Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition (BBAWC), the organization that runs Brooklyn Cat Cafe. “Now you can help us save even more pet lives by voting for our story in the People’s Choice competition.”
In the People’s Choice Competition, the top five stories with the most votes will earn additional grant funding from $5,000 to $25,000. The deadline to vote is today, Dec. 15, 2021, noon CST. Winners will be announced before Christmas. To view all 101 stories and vote for a favorite, visit here.
Debbie Zhang is an essential worker who took a new job in a hospital just as New York City was shutting down in 2020 for the COVID-19 pandemic. The workload and the necessary isolation to protect her family and friends took a toll on her mental health, and that’s when she decided to adopt Hotaru from Brooklyn Cat Cafe.
Debbie says that caring for Hotaru taught her to also care for herself and to love life again. “Ever since I officially adopted her, I’ve had someone that gives me joy to come home to after a long and hard day at the hospital,” she said. Read and vote for Debbie’s story here.
Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition is a woman-run, volunteer-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing and rehoming homeless cats and addressing the root causes of homeless cat overpopulation. BBAWC was created in 2007 as a cooperative to provide individual animal rescuers with medical, foster and adoptive support such as was otherwise found only in traditional shelters.
In 2016, BBAWC created a community adoption and rescue space, Brooklyn Cat Cafe, one of the only cat cafes in the country operated as a non-profit rescue organization. Since it opened, over 70,000 people have visited Brooklyn Cat Cafe from around the world, and hundreds have attended its private events and classes.
In 2020 BBAWC launched a low-cost rescue veterinary clinic at Brooklyn Cat Café to help cat rescuers afford the cost of medical care for their rescues. Thanks to funding from GS Humane, in 2021, BBAWC also launched a low-cost spay/neuter clinic for cat rescuers.
Petco Love is a nonprofit changing lives by making communities and pet families closer, stronger, and healthier. It has helped to find loving homes for more than 6.5 million pets in partnership with Petco and organizations nationwide.