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Charming Cat Corner opens at Vista Ridge Mall

Local News, Notes and Events
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2015/12/5 13:13:38 (8170 reads)

Open in new windowVisitors can pay $5 or $10 to relax with feline friends in a new mall attraction

By Steve Southwell

Long-time cat rescuer Bev Freed may have hit upon just the right idea for connecting people to cats. Freed has opened up The Charming Cat Corner in Lewisville’s Vista Ridge Mall. Occupying the site of a former clinic, the tastefully-decorated cat paradise has various themed rooms where visitors can sit for a spell and pet or play with one of almost 30 cats that roam free in the facility. The Cat Corner opened their doors for the first time Friday afternoon with seven employees and a one-year lease.

Guests enter through a vestibule intended to keep the cats from darting out into the mall. A lobby visible to those walking past has a couch and a couple of spacious “cat trees” full of hidey holes and lounging spaces for the cats, all of whom seemed quite at home for having only been there a few days.

Open in new windowA Victorian-themed room has fine upholstered wingback chairs, a faux fireplace, and coffee table, and seems the perfect place for a cup of tea and a purring cat in one’s lap. A modern-themed room has sleek furniture that seems like what cats would buy if there were a feline version of Ikea. There is a large circular treadmill, and boxy cubbies for cats to curl up and snooze. All throughout the play rooms, there are cat toys everywhere, with no shortage of things to keep the furry ones busy and interested. A tropical-themed room has faux plants and sun streaming through windows that catch light from a skylight outside in the mall. Everywhere the cats can go, there are things for them. Cozy cat trees, scratching posts, and places for the kitties to climb and explore. There is even a room with cardboard boxes that both people and cats can enjoy. One large box has beanbag chairs that people can sit in, and the small boxes are purrfect for the cats.

The facility is the culmination of years of work for Bev Freed. It was originally envisioned as a cafe, pitched in an unsuccessful GoFundMe campaign, but Freed scaled back that idea, she says, after realizing the mall has a nearby food court with a variety of food and drinks. Instead, guests are invited to bring food and drink to the Charming Cat Corner, offering tables and chairs for the not-so-furry visitors. However, they do ask that guests only feed themselves and other humans. There is free wi-fi throughout the mall, so guests could even take a laptop or tablet if they just insisted on trying to get work done, but one suspects the playful kitties would have other ideas.

For $5, guests can visit with the cats for 30 minutes, or $10 will get an hour with the cuddly occupants, plus food and drink coupons (still being worked out) from food vendors in the mall. Cat-related merchandise is available for sale inside as well.

Open in new windowAlthough the Charming Cat Corner is a for-profit business, its goal is more than money. Freed says most of the cats there are available for adoption. Over a decade ago, Freed founded Kitty Save, a nonprofit that works to get rescued cats into foster homes, and then placed with families. These foster cats had been placed with volunteers, which would keep them in their homes. “We’ve been doing adoptions at places like PetSmart for years,” said Freed. “We would drag the cats out of their comfort zones, and put them in cages, and take them to places where the cats don’t know where they are, full of bright lights and noise,” she explained. Under these circumstances, Freed said that the cats’ personalities would collapse, and that it was difficult for potential adopters to see how the cats would interact.

The Charming Cat Corner will partner with nonprofits like Kitty Save and municipal animal shelters such as City of Lewisville Animal Services to showcase the cats in an environment they can be comfortable in. Guests can see how the cats interact with people and each other. Freed thinks that by having guests come into the cat's environment instead of the other way around, the felines can show their true personalities.

Of course, not every guest will visit with adoption in mind. Spending time petting cats (or dogs) can be very calming and there is even some science to say that it is beneficial for health. Some people love cats, but may not be able to have them in the house due to someone’s allergies or a lease that forbids pets. Charming Cat Corner’s aim is to give those who are not looking for adoption a chance to play with the pets, no strings attached.

Pets come with responsibility, but visitors to The Charming Cat Corner reap all the benefits of interacting with cats without the hassles of feeding and watering them, or changing litter boxes.

Open in new windowThe cats will live in the facility, having residential rooms full of beds where they can stay. Freed explained that they will work to ease the newest felines into the environment, giving them protective cages and letting them adapt to the environment. The entire facility is monitored by an internet-connected camera system, giving the employees access to view the furry residents from their smart phones. The facility’s attendant also keeps an eye on cats and guests to ensure everything is going smoothly. HEPA air filtration units in every room keep the facility smelling fresh and clean.

All of the adoptable cats in the facility are fully vaccinated, altered, and microchipped. There is an adoption fee for those who would like to take one into their home. For cats originating with the Lewisville city animal shelter, the adoption would go through the city, with the adopter taking the it home from the mall.

For more information about the facility or adoption, interested persons can call 972-315-2287 or visit the Charming Cat Corner at Vista Ridge Mall, 2401 S. Stemmons Freeway - Lower level near Sears - Suite 1306. You can find them on Facebook here.

Store hours:
Monday - Saturday: 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Sunday: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.

- Rating: 10.00 (1 vote) - {$lang_ratethisnews}

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