Pounce Cat Café + Wine Bar’s success shows in the stats: it’s found homes for some 500 felines in just 11 months
While “cat room” may be quiet on weekday afternoons, Saturdays and Sundays book quickly, notes co-owner Ashley Brooks (top right), so make reservations at pouncecatcafe.com. Walk-ins are welcome anytime in the fully enclosed back bar that serves wine, beer, coffee, tea, and WildFlour pastries.
Sundays can get feisty at Pounce Cat Café. “People brunch a little too hard,” explains co-owner Ashley Brooks, and then they head to the Meeting Street establishment to sip $3 rosé while enjoying kitty cuddles. One of the felines—there are usually 15 to 20 in residence, all adoptable through Charleston Animal Society (CAS)—wins them over, and adoption efforts ensue.
“We simply won’t send a cat home with someone who’s had too much to drink,” stresses Brooks, who opened Pounce last December with pal Annaliese Hughes. Suffice it to say, that news isn’t always accepted gracefully.
The occasional hissy fit comes with the territory for a cat café that doubles as a bar. However, most of the time, peace and joy, purrs and playtime, reign. Patrons (who must be at least 12 years old) pay $15 to spend an hour sipping a complimentary drink in the cats’ spacious sitting room. Special events, such as Friday “Mewvie” Nights and Sunday-morning Cat Yoga pack in even more furry fun.
This time of year, folks are likely to encounter all adult cats, though at the request of CAS, Pounce was devoted to little guys during “kitten season,” finding homes for an average of two per day. “We follow the same adoption process as Charleston Animal Society,” notes Brooks. “Our staff conducts the interviews, and we do all the paperwork right here.”
In this relaxed setting, “the cats are acting like they would at your home, so you get to really see their personalities,” she continues. “I think our return rate is low—only about three percent—because we’re able to match-make so well.”
And match-make they do. By early October, Pounce had logged a whopping 500 adoptions. And in the New Year, the team will double its winning formula, opening a second location in Savannah.
A look at Pounce by the numbers
15 to 18 patrons are generally allowed in at once. ”Our formula is the number of cats we have minus two,” says co-owner Ashley Brooks.
One in three adopters didn’t arrive with plans to pick a new pet, she estimates. ”They just fall in love.”
100 percent of adoption funds go to Charleston Animal Society. Kittens cost $100 and are usually snatched up in less than a week. At just $50, adults stay two weeks on average.
500-some tiny felines typically flood CAS each spring to fall. “This summer, we took so many that CAS didn’t have to hold kitten adoption events,” Brooks notes.
Six litter boxes are hidden inside cat-room furniture such as a faux desk. The staff adds more at night to keep everyone content.
Photographs by (2) Margret Wood & courtesy of (three kittens) Pounce Cat Cafe + Wine Bar