A new boutique in Emmaus is sure to turn into the cat’s meow.
Purr Haus, 27 S. Seventh St., offers what owner Laurie Mason describes as “the greatest stuff for cats and the individuals who adore them.” The store opened on Nov. 27 throughout from the CVS drive-through in space that beforehand housed an business office and prior to that, an antique shop. Its identify is a nod to the Lehigh Valley’s loaded German American background.
For felines, Purr Haus provides a vast variety of cat provides, which includes beds, bowls, carriers and toys. For human companions, there is cat-themed clothing and accessories, these kinds of as T-shirts, attire, leggings, and winter hats, as nicely as glassware, greeting playing cards and umbrellas.
A part is devoted to cat treats, this kind of as dried sardines and tuna flakes. Another segment has grooming materials handy for when it’s tub and brush time with shampoo and holistic flea-prevention methods.
Products patrons could have a hard time finding at massive-box retailers include things like matching blankets for proprietors and their cats and organic and natural catnip toys adorned with photographs of popular Tv shows like “The Golden Girls” and “Schitt’s Creek.” The shop also has a backpack cat carrier with a window, earning cats seem to seem like astronauts though traveling to the veterinarian.
There is also housewares adorned by area artists who donate a portion of their earnings to animal shelters, and solutions encouraging property cats to unleash their inner tiger via play. Friends hear to cat-themed tunes, these types of as “Kitty Kat” by Beyonce and “What’s New Pussycat” by Tom Jones. A indication, stating, “Tell me about your cats,” receives purchasers sharing personalized stories with Mason.
“Customers eyes gentle up when they see it, and we normally have a great chat,” said Mason, a Bucks County native now residing in Higher Milford Township. “They show me images and we laugh about their foolish antics. When you believe about it, there genuinely are not a lot of sites exactly where ‘cat people’ can discuss to other folks who share their enthusiasm.”
On one particular event, Mason authorized a cat to wander loose around the shop through a non-public appointment with a patron. The kitty picked out his have bed, toys and backpack provider, Mason claimed.
Mason and her partner, Tim Schroeder, had been usually self-described cat enthusiasts, owning them for many years throughout their life. The couple at present owns 4 cats and is fostering a further a few by means of the Lehigh Valley-primarily based nonprofit firm, Starting up Above Animal Rescue (SOAR).
But they’ll notify you it was not until eventually 2011 that they located a new enthusiasm in rescuing homeless cats throughout the Lehigh Valley.
Upon buying their initial residence, Mason observed a cat in the backyard with 3 newborn kittens. In advance of she could come across a way to catch the feral felines and get them adopted, the mother cat was expecting all over again. Mason and Schroeder observed zero luck in the assistance of region animal shelters with most telling them they were being complete or experienced empty financial institution accounts, Mason reported.
“As an individual who often regarded herself well-informed about cats, it was humbling to find out how considerably I didn’t know about the rescue earth,” Mason explained. “We see absolutely free roaming cats in our communities and believe they are surviving by catching mice and living their finest outdoor existence. The actuality is that most of them are starving, they’re dying from diseases, and staying strike by vehicles. It is a mainly depressing existence built even worse by overpopulation.”
Sooner or later, a buddy with rescue connections served Mason lure the mother cat and get her into a foster household, in which she later on shipped the kittens safely and securely. Mason retained the remaining two kittens indoors.
“Kittens born exterior put up with,” Mason reported. “The volunteers who entice these cats and get them vaccinated and mounted are angels on Earth that do not get the assist they should have.”
As a journalist performing for nearby newspapers, Mason was able to generate parts on the facet about Lehigh Valley’s animal welfare companies. She to begin with set out to become a teacher but a journalism training course turned her onto creating when attending Bucks County Neighborhood Higher education. Mason graduated with an associate’s degree in liberal arts in 1996.
At times, there ended up more durable information tales with similar messages about animal rescue. Just one that stands out to Mason was when she lined the tale of Nemo, a pig, who escaped a devastating barn fire that killed 4,000 animals in Lynn Township in 2019.
Mason furthermore located refuge in her animals following a long working day in the newsroom covering breaking news. At periods, the only thing that would let her to decompress more than enough to snooze was holding a purring cat in her lap, she claimed.
“I generally joke that when I create my autobiography, I’m likely to title it ‘From Murder to Meow,’ ” stated Mason, referring to her protection of murder instances. “I’ve talked to a good deal of men and women who uncover having cats all-around to be therapeutic.”
Mason very last calendar year retired from the newspaper marketplace to help spark her goal in opening the boutique. It was some thing that experienced been in the again of her head since attending to a cat conference in Asbury Park, New Jersey in 2008 with her husband.
At the conference, there were being crowds of folks waiting on extended traces to get in. Suppliers were carrying out brisk revenue on small-batch cat supplies. Mason saw a will need for some thing comparable in the area, noting some places have aisle soon after aisle of pet provides with just a corner focused to cat merchandise.
“I realized … ‘cat people’ like me relished shopping together with like-minded people for merchandise that have been not only great, but also supported a lead to,” Mason stated.
At the boutique, Mason functions tough in getting products that sets her aside from the levels of competition.
She’s picked up “Dezi and Roo” cat toys, which are intended by veterinarians, as very well as T-shirts from “Kittees,” a female-owned, California-based enterprise that donates a share of profits to no-destroy shelters.
The key concentrate of the business enterprise suitable now is on brick-and-mortar, Mason stressed. This permits her to change up stock regularly while supporting compact batch makers who simply cannot fulfill orders big adequate for on the net profits. Also, shopping at the boutique, she mentioned, is an “experience” and not anything you can achieve on the web.
Mason has future strategies to integrate extra cat rescue missions into the enterprise. She invitations rescue groups to go to with a couple of adoptable kittens on distinct days in an space off the boutique. The groups also have a opportunity to go away academic brochures and drum up membership.
Mason also wishes to partner with other area firms, these as breweries, for cat rescue fundraisers. She moreover programs to donate a portion of each individual Purr Haus emblem T-shirt and baseball cap sale to a showcased cat rescue business.
“Cat men and women are a passionate breed. They don’t just treatment about their possess pets, but are concerned with the plight of all cats,” Mason reported. “I think about Purr Haus eventually starting to be a hub for the Valley’s cat neighborhood. A location in which you can choose up a excellent new toy for your cat, or a exciting cat-themed present for a pal, all though discovering how to support regional cats in want.”
The boutique is open up from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays.
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Pamela Sroka-Holzmann may perhaps be achieved at [email protected].