Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing homeless cats and the operator behind the beloved Brooklyn Cat Café, received a $10,000 grant from Petco Love this week.
The grant, given to BBAWC as part of a special celebration at the Industry City Petco on June 16, will be used to fund rescue efforts and adoption services, as well as provide accessible veterinary care to local low-income cat owners.
“We are extremely grateful to Petco Love for supporting independent rescue groups like ours. We also thank every Petco customer who makes a donation in Petco stores — those donations are directly saving lives,” said Anne Levin, executive director of Brooklyn Cat Café and BBAWC. “With this funding we will save more cats’ lives and help ease the financial burdens on other independent rescuers doing the same.”
Animal rescue groups are essential to addressing the homeless animal crisis in New York City. Between 2019 and 2021, these rescuers had to increase their intake by 14%, according to Petco Love. Animal rescue groups rarely receive funding and are often forced to pay costs out-of-pocket. With the work load increasing in recent years, funding is necessary to keep rescue groups like BBWAC operational.
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“Our investment in Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition is part of more than $15M in investments recently announced by Petco Love to power local organizations across the country as part of our commitment to create a future in which no pet is unnecessarily euthanized,” said Petco Love President Susanne Kogut. “Our local investments are only part of our strategy to empower animal lovers to drive lifesaving change right alongside us.”
Since the opening of the Brooklyn Cat Café on Atlantic Avenue in 2016, over 70,000 people have visited the volunteer-run site, which serves as BBAWC’s adoption and rescue space. The feline-focused café quickly gained notoriety for allowing guests to play with cats and order a coffee — all in the same place. It’s since moved to a bigger home on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights, where it provides temporary shelter for kitties up for adoption, houses pet-education workshops and educates locals about how to properly care for critters in the area.
BBAWC also launched a low-cost veterinary clinic in 2020, followed by a low-cost surgery clinic in 2021, both intended to assist low-income cat owners across the five boroughs.
This isn’t the first time the organization has been funded by Petco Love. Late last year, Brooklynite Debbie Zhang’s story of adopting her cat, Hotaru, from the BBAWC captured the hearts of the nonprofit’s leaders, who awarded the organization with $35,000 — $25,000 for Zhang’s story, and an additional $10,000 because of the high number of people who submitted their stories of adopting from BBAWC: 97.