WILLIAMSBURG — Cat lovers in Williamsburg will soon have a place to interact with and potentially bring home a feline friend.
The Nautical Dog, 5102 Main St Suite B, a family-run pet supply store in New Town, is opening Williamsburg’s first cat salon this summer.
The cat salon will open next door to The Nautical Dog in the former location of The Ivy Trellis boutique, which recently closed. The space is also notable as being the original location of The Nautical Dog.
Amanda Wilbourne, owner of The Nautical Dog, wanted to open a cat salon to give the community a place to socialize with cats available for adoption.
“It’s a great way for people to meet cats,” she said. “Maybe they weren’t interested in adopting a cat, and they might come and fall in love with it and decide they want a cat.”
Shwartzy’s Cove Cat Lounge, named after The Nautical Dog’s first shop cat, Schwartzy, will retain a nautical theme; giving guests the feeling that they are entering a bungalow on the beach.
The living room will include sofas and chairs for guests while they interact with the cats, as well as cat climbing structures.
The Nautical Dog partners with the Heritage Humane Society to bring adoptable cats from the shelter to the cat salon.
“We were very excited when Amanda approached us,” said Jennifer Lafountain, director of marketing, events and humane education for the Heritage Humane Society. “It’s an amazing idea to be able to socialize and love adoptable cats and get adoptions out of them. It’s just a perfect mix, so we’re really excited about it.
The show will include cats injured or infected with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) who need a new home.
“One amazing thing that Amanda brought up was that she was more than happy to house FIV positive cats in her cat salon, which was wonderful to hear,” Lafountain said. “Even right now, we have eight or nine currently available for adoption.”
FIV is an often misunderstood cat virus that cannot be spread by casual contact.
“We have no restrictions on what we allow, and it’s going to be instructive to say, ‘Hey, this cat has that, but that doesn’t stop it from being a great cat and an addition to your home'” . said Wilbourne.
As part of the new expansion, part of the wall separating the two buildings will be removed. Customers will still need to enter through The Nautical Dog to access the Cat Lounge.
Guests won’t need to make an appointment to visit the cat lounge, but Wilbourne said there will likely be a limit to the number of people in the room at one time.
Customers will also be required to sign waivers before entering the cat lounge, which will close one hour before The Nautical Dog closes at 7 p.m. every weekday.
Lafountain said the cat lounge will also provide community members with a more comfortable option for interacting with cats than they might have at the Heritage Humane Society due to limited spacing and high volume of cats.
“The nice thing is that they’re really going to be able to see the cats in a more comfortable setting,” Lafountain said. “People are going to be able to get to know them a little bit more, interact with him, and I think it’s going to be amazing for the cats. They’re going to be able to benefit from a lot more socialization and individual attention.
Wilbourne said she looks forward to hosting events in the cat lounge, such as cat yoga and children’s book readings.
“The possibilities are endless with the events we can organize to socialize the cats and hopefully find new homes for them,” she said.
Wilbourne said the goal is to open the cat salon in mid-July.