If you have ever been to Cat’s Cradle, located at 124 South Main Street in downtown Harrisonburg, you know how much they care about our furry friends. Not only do they offer multiple programs to help manage uncontrolled breeding, they’ve created a unique environment for the cats and the community to interact. When you walk past Cat’s Cradle, their large windows invite you inside. It’s impossible not to smile as you watch them climbing on houses and playing with their toys. Inside the store, cats wander over head on a crossbeam and play freely while soaking up your attention.
The most amazing part -- Cat’s Cradle is entirely funded by individual donors and charitable partners according to Matt Chan, the adoption and volunteer coordinator. As part of their fundraising efforts, Cat’s Cradle is hosting an annual campaign -- The Summertime Challenge -- which ends Monday, August 15th. Their goal is to raise $50,000. If the organization meets its goal, the money will be matched by two anonymous donors from the community for a total of $100,000. The Summertime Challenge is vital to Cat’s Cradle's continued success in funding three primary programs: adoption, spay-neuter assistance, and retention and rehoming.
The spay-neuter assistance program helps to ensure the long-term health of the cats. Cat’s Cradle spends $150,000 a year on spay/neuter assistance. The retention and rehoming program includes assistance for those who can no longer support a cat’s medical bills on their own. This includes vetting, vaccinating, deworming, spay/neutering, and other needed services.
The third program, rehoming, involves owners who, for one reason or another, must sadly depart with their feline friend. Matt explains that all of these programs are becoming increasingly successful throughout the Shenandoah Valley. In addition, Cat’s Cradle works in tandem with the Page County and Augusta County shelters to make sure they’re not overwhelmed. The organization helps alleviate the pressure by taking care of as many cats as possible at their downtown location.
In true Friendly City fashion, it’s also inspiring to see the community rally around Cat’s Cradle. The Lady Jane and Sparrows Flowers, directly across the street, frequently foster a cat. Their foster right now is named Mia, a beautiful Domestic Shorthair. Sarah, the owner of The Lady Jane, loves the personality the cats bring to the store. The Lady Jane and Sparrows Flowers were the first business to apply to the foster program. They take extra precautions including sweeping and mopping to make sure that the store is spotless for both the foster cat and customers.
The Artful Dodger is also running a promotion in support of the organization. The Dodger will be donating $1 from every Pokemon GO themed cocktail and snack sold to Cat’s Cradle Summertime Challenge.
This isn’t the first time the community has stepped up to support Cat’s Cradle. In 2014, JMU students won $10,000 for Cat’s Cradle in the Google Online Marketing Challenge. One of these students was James Carter, the director of design and development at Immerge Technologies located in the Hess building in downtown Harrisonburg.
The work of Cat’s Cradle may never be done, but every dollar helps to feed, support, and care for the Friendly City’s felines. If you haven’t yet, stop in and experience this one-of-a-kind downtown destination.
If you haven't been to Cat's Cradle yet, take a look inside. This video was produced by students in the Harrisonburg City School's summer enrichment program.
Written by Ian Munro, James Madison University student and Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance intern. Photos by Ace of Works Photography.