THIS PLACE COME ABOUT?
Once upon a time, a girl called Catalina was struck with the idea that if she could help more cats get adopted, her life would be pawesome. And so she did and lived happily ever after. Just kidding...it took a lot more work than that!
I've always loved animals. But I confess I didn't grow up as a "cat person". There's a lot of misconceptions about cats: they're not loving or loyal, they're snappy, scratch everything and dogs are more loving. I think these thoughts run through a lot of people's heads if they haven't been close to a cat before and one of those people were my parents! To give them some credit, Argentina is very different when it comes to pets. Cats are mainly feral in the city and not many people have them as pets. I never had cats at home growing up. Mom, Dad, it's all good... I loved the guinea pigs.
In 2013 I moved from my parents home in Argentina to Santa Barbara, and to my own place for the first time in my life. I am a musician and photographer, so I spent a lot of time at home editing and practicing. This may sound silly, but the mornings and afternoons working from home while my husband was at the office were incredibly lonely. I had never been alone at home and it just felt like there was something missing. That's when I got the chance to cat sit for my friend and I promise you guys, having this cheerful little loving feline keeping me company made the biggest difference. She changed my mind about cats completely.
That's when I decided that perhaps adopting a cat could be a good idea. So I went to check out some adoptable kitties. That's where I learnt that you don't adopt a cat, they adopt you! This little ball of fur started jumping up and down in the cage, trying to get my attention. Once I picked him up, he licked my face and that was it! I fell in love with him and he didn't let me go without taking him home. Loki is the most loyal, loving, gentle and just overall hilarious animal I have ever met. He changed all of the misconceptions I could've ever had about cats. And on top of that, he made our place feel more like home!
After adopting him, I decided I wanted to volunteer at ResQcats, an amazing local rescue organization in town. I could spend hours in there, helping photograph the kittens, assisting with the new arrivals and socializing the shy kitties. I learnt so much thanks to my wonderful friend Jeffyne Telson. My big 25th birthday realization was: If there's something that I love doing SO much that it doesn't feel like work, find a way to make it into your job. Helping animals was just that for me. More specifically, cats. And so the search for a business or career that would combine my passion for art, people, business and helping animals began. Tough combination, right? Well...life had something great in store!
When I heard about cat cafes becoming more popular in the United States, I knew exactly what I had to do. I couldn't stop thinking about it. I called the City of Santa Barbara, Animal Services, the Health department, EVERYONE I COULD and told them about my crazy idea. Surprisingly they were all incredibly supportive. Me and my husband worked day and night creating the concept of Cat Therapy.
I created this business because I wanted to provide people and shelter cats with a space that feels like home. A space where YOU can relax and recharge for the day, celebrate a special occasion, purrhaps find your kitty soulmate, or simply get away for a little bit from whatever you need to space out from. A space where I can provide cats with a bridge between the traumatic experience they went through that brought them to the shelter and their forever home. A happy place! I want to help rescue organizations create a world where no cat needs to be euthanized just because they don't have anywhere to go. I committed to being that place where they can be safe and this is what we work for on a daily basis. Additionally, it is my job now to help spread the word about how loving and appreciative cats are.
Cat Therapy is a place for humans to come together for the love of cats. I hope you'll book your next visit right meow.
See you soon!
Catalina Esteves - Founder
PS: In case you were wondering, my parents have officially completed their transformation to crazy cat people :)