January is the busiest month for adoptions at Pounce Cat Cafe every year. “It’s always a crazy month, even for our Savannah location,” said co-owner Ashley Brooks.
Since opening in 2016, Pounce has noticed the January spike, but the reason for it is unclear. The staff believes it may have to do with the holidays being over and people feeling more settled. But this year, amid the pandemic and nationwide economic instability, the cafe had a record number of January adoptions.
Pounce announced on Instagram on Jan. 25 that the cafe needed to close for a few days to “stock up” on a kitties as the business’ adoption partner, Charleston Animal Society (CAS), couldn’t keep up with the demand.
“We’ve done 42 adoptions this month alone … and January’s not even over yet,” Pounce manager Reed Penale told us on Tuesday. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we surpassed 50 adoptions even in the next few days before February.”
The cats are scurrying out the door so quickly, the closure on the 25th was the third time this month Pounce was forced to hit paws.
When CAS does not have adoptable felines that meet Pounce’s requirements (certain temperament, health status, age), the no-kill shelter travels to other shelters in the state to find fur-balls that fit the bill. Some of these shelters still euthanize animals that go unadopted, so when CAS and Pounce are able to find new homes for the cats, they’re freeing up shelter resources and reducing euthanasia rates.
According to Animal Society data, the euthanasia rate of cats in South Carolina was 47% in 2016. In 2020, it was down to 18%. A number of factors contributed to that decrease, so it’s unclear exactly how much Pounce’s record adoption numbers helped drive that figure down.
January’s record numbers at Pounce were a continuation of momentum from 2020. In 2019, Pounce facilitated 250 total adoptions, compared to 310 in 2020 — a 24% increase. “We’ve never had a year like this, as far as adoptions go,” said Penale.
“January 2021 is the biggest adoption month we’ve ever had,” she said. “We think the pandemic keeping everyone home has a lot to do with the record numbers. People are working from home, travel is restricted. It’s actually a good time to get a pet.”
The record adoptions are great news for the kitties, but the periodic closures, combined with the pandemic, have put a damper on business at Pounce, which makes money from its cafe sales.
“Being a small business in a pandemic, we were closed for two of our busiest months out of the year, so we definitely took a hit from that like so many other small businesses,” Penale said. “But, we’re fortunate that it’s been picking up.”
Pounce is planning to re-open on Thursday with more cats to pet, cuddle and potentially adopt — but if the rest of the month is any indicator, they won’t last long.
Pounce Cat Cafe has a range of COVID-19 protocols in place, including limiting the number of guests to 12, encouraging social distancing, thoroughly cleaning the cat room and bar every hour between reservations and requiring people to wear masks at all times unless actively drinking.
Pounce also accepts donations both in the store and online through their Amazon wishlist, which features necessary items for the cats—litter, in particular, is a desirable donation item.