It all started with one cat. “It was this little orange tabby and I say my heart grew three sizes that day,” Anne Dunn said. Now she’s running a wildly successful cat cafe that has saved hundreds of lives and started a nationwide trend.
Two years ago, she opened a cat cafe–the first in the nation–and the rest is history. More than 1,500 cats have been placed in homes and Oakland Animal Services’ euthanasia rate has dropped from 42 percent in 2011 to 14 percent today.
Her first rescue experience lead to another, according to the report by NBC Bay Area News, and Dunn soon began to volunteer at Oakland Animal Services. There she saw how cats who could not handle the stressful shelter environment became withdrawn or aggressive. They were labeled unadoptable and were euthanized.
She decided that those same cats would be fine in a different setting. “We see that these cats are adoptable. They just need to be in the right environment, get them out of small cages surrounded by barking dogs.”
Dunn founded her own non profit, Cat Town, and focused on fostering cats in homes. Her next challenge was creating a place that people who wanted to adopt a cat would find attractive. She opened the cafe in a store front where cats mingle with customers.
“I feel so fortunate to have a partner like Ann Dunn and Cat Town,” Rebecca Katz, Director at OAS, to NBC News. “It’s really resulted in plenty of lifesaving. It’s a collaboration, not a conflict.”