The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

A cat cafe consignment shop? You’ve got to be kitten me!

Photo by Shirley Liu for The Lafayette
Project Paw is more than just a cat cafe; it’s also a consignment shop and community outreach center.

Students who aren’t allowed to keep pets in their dorms can get their fix of fluffy friends at Project Paw instead. For just $10, patrons can cuddle with cats, enjoy snacks and — best of all — know that their money is going toward a great cause.

Project Paw, the second location of the Center for Animal Health, is a cat cafe, consignment shop and community outreach center all at once.

In the cat room, customers can pet and play with six of the Center for Animal Health’s friendliest felines, all of which are adoptable. However, the store also holds regular sales of cheap houseware, clothing, books, pet supplies and other donated goods. As a nonprofit, all the proceeds go directly back to the Easton community via outreach events.

Some of Project Paws’ outreach events include free pet food and cat litter giveaways, school supply drives for local students, free and low-cost vaccine and microchip clinics for pets and more. Lafayette’s own study abroad director Rochelle Keesler even hosts a yoga class at Project Paw.

“I think one of the most important things when we talk about animal welfare and taking care of animals is we have to make sure that we are, in some ways, taking care of their people,” Kelly Bauer, the executive director of the Center for Animal Health, said.

Project Paw opened just this past April, but prior to its opening, Bauer had been planning it for five years. She got the idea for Project Paw after visiting a cat cafe.

“I just thought it was funny that people would pay to go see cats … It’s a lot of fun and people enjoy it and I saw it as a way to get animals adopted that was not traditional,” Bauer said.

People can adopt any of the cats in the cat room for a $100 adoption fee. However, Project Paw regularly holds specials where the adoption fee is discounted. For instance, according to Project Paw director Dan Higgins, patrons who adopt a black or predominantly black cat in October can have $31 slashed off their adoption fee.

“One thing that’s really important to us is making sure we find a good home for all of these cats,” Higgins said.

According to Bauer, a big obstacle in achieving animal welfare is overpopulation. Project Paw helps combat this not just by encouraging adoption, but also by making it easier for existing pet owners to keep their pets with heavily discounted and free pet supplies.

“[Project Paw] really is a place where people can help other people and they can feel good about it … You are paying a donation to see a cat but that $10 donation … is going to potentially provide a backpack for a Paxinosa [Elementary School] student. It’s potentially going to provide food for somebody who doesn’t have it,” Bauer said.

“It’s not just about us serving our community. Our community is truly serving itself,” Bauer continued. “And I love that we can orchestrate that.”

“It’s like an oasis for the neighborhood,” Higgins said of the services Project provides for pets and their owners alike.

Members of the Lafayette community can support Project Paw by visiting the cat room, buying the donated goods on sale and volunteering. Those interested in volunteering can email [email protected].

If you’re not a cat lover, don’t worry — Project Paw is sure to convince you otherwise. Higgins is a newly converted cat person, and Bauer, who is allergic to cats, can’t help but spend time in the cat room.

Ultimately, Project Paw is about giving back to the community. Bauer hopes that those who visit will remember their time at Project Paw and repay the kindness elsewhere.

“Kindness is taught through our interaction, and if we can teach people that being kind to animals is really important, we will help to establish decent human beings,” Bauer said.

Those interested in staying up to date with Project Paw events and news can check out their Facebook @ProjectPawEaston and their Instagram @projectpaweaston, or by signing up for their email list by emailing [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Shirley Liu, Managing Editor
Shirley Liu manages, edits, and manages edits.

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  • N

    Nina ReutherOct 14, 2022 at 10:34 pm

    I think this is an awesome idea and pray all goes well for you and the cats. Love this idea

  • K

    Kelly L BauerOct 12, 2022 at 11:10 pm

    Your writing is incredible. You captured Project Paw perfectly. Thank you. I am honored. I can’t wait to read your first book.