Usually when you stroll down Meeting Street and pass Pounce Cat Cafe, there are fuzzy faces staring back at you. But the pandemic has even affected the cat cafe — Pounce Cat Cafe is almost out of cats.

“We really have no idea [what happened]! Everyone was looking for a quarantine pal?” said Ashley Brooks, Pounce’s co-owner. “Even while we were closed, we got tons of emails and inquiries about adopting cats from us. Since we reopened, the demand has been just as high which is great, but it’s a catch-22 because now we don’t have enough cats to run our business.”

Normally the cafe acts as a foster home for around 17 adoptable cats from the Charleston Animal Society. Although there are cats that need homes — they can’t be sent to Pounce. Before they can make it to the cafe, all cats must be “fixed, vaccinated, microchipped, and medically and behaviorally fit for a group housing environment like the cafe,” said Brooks.

The downside of the cafe running out of cats is not only there aren’t cats being adopted, it puts unique businesses in jeopardy.

“We cannot house kittens at the cafe, and there are very few healthy adult cats that would also be good candidates for an environment like Pounce. We cannot risk getting our other cats sick if cats aren’t properly vetted, and we also do not want to bring any cats to the cafe that might be anxious or stressed around other cats or people,” said Brooks. “There are definitely cats out there, but the eligible pool is very small when you also think about how many people are also so eager to adopt.”

In the meantime, Pounce is keeping their bar open and are not currently charging an entry fee. “People can kind of just float in and out, read, do work, and pet the literal two cats we do have if they want,” said Brooks. “If you want to stop in, just shoot us a message first and we’ll give you an update on our cat situation before you come in.”

You can support the cafe by purchasing merchandise, gift certificates or by booking future visits on their website.

Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.