Cat salon helps prevent feline euthanasia and paves the way for adoption

By Philip Palmer

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (KABC) — If you’re a cat-loving person, there’s a cat salon called Cat Therapy that might help you find your new friend.

Tucked away in a cluster of small businesses and just off State Street in Santa Barbara, Cat Therapy is a salon that helps prevent cats from being euthanized.

In 2021, cats were euthanized twice as often as dogs. This place is therefore a good place for cat lovers to relax and maybe make a new friend.

Penelope Bianchi visited the cafe and left wonderfully well.

“So therapeutic, and it’s a wonderful way to socialize cats. All the cats here are used to people and they’re not nervous, they’re not scared,” Bianchi said.

The cage-free environment improves the cat’s quality of life and also gives them the opportunity to show their personality to human guests.

In many cases, cats in shelters are not socialized with people, which can make them more difficult to adopt. But the cafe offers them a place to hide if they’re not in the mood for company, allowing them to feel safe around people at their own pace.

Melissa Galbreath has adopted cats from shelters and Cat Therapy.

“It’s night and day that make the difference in terms of the experience cats have. For an animal to have the space to be an animal and roam and explore and just be around other people and d animals, it’s so much healthier for them,” Galbreath said.

An entrance fee and the sale of goods are used to pay for the care of the cats who will remain there until their adoption. Real pet adoption is coordinated by the nonprofit Stray Cat Alliance, which rescues cats from shelters and the streets.

By housing hard-to-adopt cases, Cat Therapy frees up space in shelters, said founder Catalina Esteves.

“We help them clear spaces in their foster homes or facilities so they can have more space to rescue more cats that are currently on the streets or are currently in the shelter system,” Esteves said.

If you want a cat, often you won’t have to choose a cat, because chances are a cat will be comfortable choosing you.

“They really choose their employees and so it’s really fun to experience that,” Esteves added.

Since Cat Therapy opened in 2017, over 700 cats have been adopted.

But even if a visitor doesn’t adopt, they leave feeling a little better and knowing they’ve helped socialize another cat looking for a forever home.

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