Cats & Crumbs café, a Marikina pet café that fosters “pusPins,” or pusang Pinoy, will close its doors after four-and-a-half years of housing and matching cats with people looking to adopt pets. But before its last day on Dec. 31, some of its fluffy, fuzzy residents are still waiting to come home.
Obie and Ogie, two playful boys who have become a bonded pair, are still looking for their new home. Based on experience, it’s hard to have codependent animals adopted, according to café owner Joyce Abesamis. But Obie and Ogie are playful and both have great personalities.
“They are fostered, so we will be returning them back to the shelter [after Dec. 31]. It’s kinda sad, but we’re hoping even if they don’t get adopted by the 31st, we will at least showcase them for people to see them, meet them and hopefully the guests change their minds and go to the shelter next year to adopt them or foster them,” Abesamis told Super.
Since the café opened in 2016, Cats & Crumbs was able to find “fur-ever” homes for 39 fostered cats that were entrusted to them by Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). But because the pandemic affected the restaurant industry, Abesamis said that they had to close shop.
Cats & Crumbs extended their operations as long as possible, but the pandemic definitely took a toll on their business.
“It was a heartbreaking decision. We tried to extend it as much as we could because when we built the café, it has been advocacy over business for us. We designed the café to be a home for the cats. For us, the welfare of the cats always comes first, we treat them as our responsibility because they are our fosters … Personally I treat all of them as my personal fosters. So while they are at the café we make sure that they are healthy. If they need any veterinary attention, we bring them to the vet.”
She added: “Unfortunately, hindi na kaya. We didn’t want to get to the point where we couldn’t take care of the cats properly. We didn’t want the cats to become sickly. That’s why we said we have to close now while we’re able to support our cats and team members.
While pet cafés that featured dogs and cats of different breeds were a dime a dozen prepandemic, Cats & Crumbs focused on showcasing the sweet, gentle and independent pusPins.
Abesamis loved to bake cookies, but when it was time to open a shop, she wanted to create a coffee shop that could also be a part of something.
Sweet and loving ‘pusPins’
“That’s when we thought about having pusPins at the café. We wanted an opportunity for them to showcase how beautiful and how sweet and loving they are, they just need the right environment,” she said, adding that cats’ chill personalities were more suitable to a café environment.
She noted that there’s a preconceived idea that pusPins are snobbish. Some people who had no prior experience of dealing with cats even ask during their visit at the café if the cats bite or scratch people.
But Cats & Crumbs created a space for cat lovers and noncat lovers alike.
“We tried to make it a friendly space for them so even if you’re not a cat person, you’re not intimidated,” she said.
Guests were taught how to properly approach cats, letting the cats sniff their hands before petting—if the cats allow.
The café was designed as a home for the cats. Visitors sat on banig and pillows.
“They’re not going to the café to be entertained by the cats but they’re going there to visit to spend time with cats, to get to know them personally,” she said.
All the cats that were fostered in the café were vaccinated, spayed or neutered, have received veterinary attention and are ready for adoption. However, taking a cat home takes more than one visit to the café.
Since the cats are entrusted by PAWS, Cats & Crumbs follow the organization’s policy on adoption. There’s an application form to be accomplished and an interview. Cats & Crumbs also matches the personalities of the cats to the prospective owners—kind of like dating, said Abesamis.
The café owner suggested that prospective pet owners message them on Facebook to guide them through the steps and book a schedule for the visit.
Even if the café will permanently close its doors, Abesamis said that the shelter is open for those who want to open their homes to the majestic pusPin.