New Emmaus boutique provides purr-fect finds for cats and their human companions

A new boutique in Emmaus is absolutely sure to become the cat’s meow.

Purr Haus, 27 S. Seventh St., provides what operator Laurie Mason describes as “the greatest things for cats and the people who love them.” The shop opened on Nov. 27 throughout from the CVS push-via in room that earlier housed an office and prior to that, an antique shop. Its name is a nod to the Lehigh Valley’s rich German American record.

For felines, Purr Haus delivers a vast variety of cat materials, together with beds, bowls, carriers and toys. For human companions, there is cat-themed clothing and extras, these as T-shirts, attire, leggings, and winter season hats, as nicely as glassware, greeting cards and umbrellas.

A portion is devoted to cat treats, such as dried sardines and tuna flakes. A different segment has grooming provides handy for when it’s tub and brush time with shampoo and holistic flea-prevention solutions.

Items patrons could have a hard time locating at huge-box vendors involve matching blankets for house owners and their cats and natural and organic catnip toys adorned with images of well-liked Television set reveals like “The Golden Girls” and “Schitt’s Creek.” The shop also has a backpack cat provider with a window, creating cats surface to search like astronauts whilst touring to the veterinarian.

There is also housewares adorned by region artists who donate a part of their gains to animal shelters, and solutions encouraging residence cats to unleash their inner tiger by way of enjoy. Company hear to cat-themed tunes, this sort of as “Kitty Kat” by Beyonce and “What’s New Pussycat” by Tom Jones. A signal, stating, “Tell me about your cats,” gets customers sharing own stories with Mason.

“Customers eyes light up when they see it, and we constantly have a fantastic chat,” said Mason, a Bucks County native now residing in Upper Milford Township. “They clearly show me images and we laugh about their silly antics. When you feel about it, there genuinely aren’t numerous destinations in which ‘cat people’ can talk to some others who share their enthusiasm.”

On a person event, Mason authorized a cat to wander loose about the store during a personal appointment with a patron. The kitty picked out his have mattress, toys and backpack carrier, Mason said.

Mason and her partner, Tim Schroeder, had been constantly self-explained cat fans, possessing them for decades all through their lives. The couple at the moment owns 4 cats and is fostering one more a few by means of the Lehigh Valley-primarily based nonprofit business, Beginning Over Animal Rescue (SOAR).

But they’ll tell you it was not until 2011 that they identified a new passion in rescuing homeless cats across the Lehigh Valley.

On shopping for their initially house, Mason identified a cat in the backyard with a few newborn kittens. In advance of she could discover a way to catch the feral felines and get them adopted, the mom cat was pregnant all over again. Mason and Schroeder observed zero luck in the assistance of region animal shelters with most telling them they were complete or experienced empty financial institution accounts, Mason said.

“As somebody who normally viewed as herself educated about cats, it was humbling to learn how substantially I did not know about the rescue earth,” Mason mentioned. “We see free roaming cats in our communities and feel they are surviving by catching mice and dwelling their finest outdoor lifetime. The reality is that most of them are starving, they’re dying from ailments, and currently being hit by automobiles. It is a typically miserable existence manufactured even worse by overpopulation.”

Eventually, a pal with rescue connections helped Mason trap the mom cat and get her into a foster residence, where she afterwards shipped the kittens properly. Mason held the remaining two kittens indoors.

“Kittens born outside the house endure,” Mason explained. “The volunteers who lure these cats and get them vaccinated and preset are angels on Earth that never get the guidance they have earned.”

As a journalist operating for nearby newspapers, Mason was capable to produce pieces on the side about Lehigh Valley’s animal welfare organizations. She at first set out to develop into a teacher but a journalism course turned her on to creating though attending Bucks County Community University. Mason graduated with an associate’s diploma in liberal arts in 1996.

At times, there ended up more challenging news tales with similar messages about animal rescue. 1 that stands out to Mason was when she included the tale of Nemo, a pig, who escaped a devastating barn fireplace that killed 4,000 animals in Lynn Township in 2019.

Mason in addition located refuge in her animals after a lengthy day in the newsroom masking breaking information. At times, the only thing that would permit her to decompress sufficient to rest was keeping a purring cat in her lap, she explained.

“I frequently joke that when I generate my autobiography, I’m likely to title it ‘From Murder to Meow,’ ” claimed Mason, referring to her protection of murder instances. “I’ve talked to a whole lot of people who discover obtaining cats all around to be therapeutic.”

Mason final calendar year retired from the newspaper sector to assistance spark her purpose in opening the boutique. It was something that had been in the again of her head considering the fact that attending to a cat conference in Asbury Park, New Jersey in 2008 with her husband.

At the convention, there had been crowds of people ready on long strains to get in. Suppliers ended up undertaking brisk sales on little-batch cat provides. Mason noticed a require for anything equivalent in the region, noting some destinations have aisle just after aisle of dog provides with just a corner committed to cat merchandise.

“I understood … ‘cat people’ like me relished buying alongside like-minded people for goods that ended up not only neat, but also supported a cause,” Mason said.

At the boutique, Mason functions really hard in finding merchandise that sets her aside from the opposition.

She’s picked up “Dezi and Roo” cat toys, which are created by veterinarians, as effectively as T-shirts from “Kittees,” a lady-owned, California-based mostly firm that donates a proportion of gains to no-eliminate shelters.

The principal concentration of the organization ideal now is on brick-and-mortar, Mason stressed. This will allow her to adjust up inventory often although supporting modest batch makers who simply cannot fulfill orders big plenty of for on the internet sales. Also, browsing at the boutique, she said, is an “experience” and not some thing you can realize on-line.

Mason has long run options to incorporate additional cat rescue missions into the business enterprise. She invitations rescue groups to take a look at with a few adoptable kittens on particular days in an region off the boutique. The teams also have a possibility to leave academic brochures and drum up membership.

Mason also wants to lover with other nearby corporations, these kinds of as breweries, for cat rescue fundraisers. She on top of that ideas to donate a portion of each and every Purr Haus emblem T-shirt and baseball cap sale to a highlighted cat rescue group.

“Cat individuals are a passionate breed. They do not just treatment about their personal animals, but are involved with the plight of all cats,” Mason stated. “I imagine Purr Haus inevitably getting a hub for the Valley’s cat group. A place wherever you can pick up a terrific new toy for your cat, or a fun cat-themed present for a good friend, all when mastering how to assist area cats in require.”

The boutique is open 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 be arrived at at [email protected].

Katheleen Knopf

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