A new boutique in Emmaus is absolutely sure to turn out to be the cat’s meow.

Purr Haus, 27 S. Seventh St., features what proprietor Laurie Mason describes as “the finest stuff for cats and the people today who adore them.” The store opened on Nov. 27 across from the CVS generate-thru in area that formerly housed an business and prior to that, an antique store. Its name is a nod to the Lehigh Valley’s prosperous German American history.

For felines, Purr Haus delivers a extensive assortment of cat provides, which include beds, bowls, carriers and toys. For human companions, there’s cat-themed clothing and extras, these kinds of as T-shirts, attire, leggings, and winter hats, as nicely as glassware, greeting cards and umbrellas.

A portion is devoted to cat treats, such as dried sardines and tuna flakes. Yet another section has grooming provides handy for when it’s bathtub and brush time with shampoo and holistic flea-avoidance options.

Things patrons could have a tough time discovering at significant-box merchants contain matching blankets for house owners and their cats and organic and natural catnip toys adorned with photos of preferred Television set exhibits like “The Golden Girls” and “Schitt’s Creek.” The shop also has a backpack cat provider with a window, producing cats seem to look like astronauts though traveling to the veterinarian.

There’s also housewares embellished by region artists who donate a part of their income to animal shelters, and items encouraging residence cats to unleash their interior tiger by perform. Company pay attention to cat-themed tunes, this sort of as “Kitty Kat” by Beyonce and “What’s New Pussycat” by Tom Jones. A sign, stating, “Tell me about your cats,” gets purchasers sharing own tales with Mason.

“Customers eyes light up when they see it, and we normally have a good chat,” said Mason, a Bucks County native now living in Higher Milford Township. “They demonstrate me shots and we chortle about their foolish antics. When you assume about it, there truly aren’t numerous locations the place ‘cat people’ can converse to others who share their passion.”

On 1 celebration, Mason authorized a cat to wander free close to the store in the course of a non-public appointment with a patron. The kitty picked out his personal mattress, toys and backpack carrier, Mason stated.

Mason and her partner, Tim Schroeder, have been often self-explained cat fans, proudly owning them for many years during their lives. The pair now owns 4 cats and is fostering one more 3 via the Lehigh Valley-centered nonprofit firm, Commencing Over Animal Rescue (SOAR).

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

Upon buying their very first home, Mason found a cat in the yard with a few newborn kittens. Before she could obtain a way to capture the feral felines and get them adopted, the mother cat was expecting once again. Mason and Schroeder observed zero luck in the enable of place animal shelters with most telling them they ended up whole or experienced empty bank accounts, Mason mentioned.

“As another person who often considered herself professional about cats, it was humbling to master how much I did not know about the rescue environment,” Mason explained. “We see free of charge roaming cats in our communities and imagine they’re surviving by catching mice and dwelling their finest outside existence. The reality is that most of them are starving, they are dying from ailments, and becoming strike by vehicles. It’s a largely depressing existence designed even worse by overpopulation.”

Eventually, a mate with rescue connections aided Mason trap the mother cat and get her into a foster household, in which she later on sent the kittens properly. Mason retained the remaining two kittens indoors.

“Kittens born exterior suffer,” Mason stated. “The volunteers who entice these cats and get them vaccinated and fastened are angels on Earth that do not get the assistance they are worthy of.”

As a journalist performing for regional newspapers, Mason was equipped to publish items on the facet about Lehigh Valley’s animal welfare corporations. She in the beginning set out to turn into a instructor but a journalism training course turned her onto composing even though attending Bucks County Community Higher education. Mason graduated with an associate’s degree in liberal arts in 1996.

At times, there had been harder news stories with similar messages about animal rescue. 1 that stands out to Mason was when she coated the tale of Nemo, a pig, who escaped a devastating barn fireplace that killed 4,000 animals in Lynn Township in 2019.

Mason also uncovered refuge in her animals after a extensive working day in the newsroom masking breaking information. At situations, the only point that would permit her to decompress adequate to slumber was keeping a purring cat in her lap, she explained.

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

Mason past yr retired from the newspaper industry to support spark her intention in opening the boutique. It was a little something that experienced been in the back of her mind given that attending to a cat conference in Asbury Park, New Jersey in 2008 with her husband.

At the conference, there had been crowds of men and women waiting on long lines to get in. Distributors have been undertaking brisk gross sales on small-batch cat materials. Mason noticed a need for a little something equivalent in the space, noting some places carry aisle following aisle of doggy supplies with just a corner devoted to cat objects.

“I realized … ‘cat people’ like me relished browsing along with like-minded folks for merchandise that had been not only neat, but also supported a induce,” Mason reported.

At the boutique, Mason will work tricky in obtaining items that sets her apart from the competitors.

She’s picked up “Dezi and Roo” cat toys, which are built by veterinarians, as well as T-shirts from “Kittees,” a woman-owned, California-dependent business that donates a percentage of revenue to no-get rid of shelters.

The main emphasis of the enterprise proper now is on brick-and-mortar, Mason stressed. This lets her to transform up stock regularly when supporting modest batch makers who simply cannot fulfill orders major adequate for on line sales. Also, procuring at the boutique, she said, is an “experience” and not anything you can reach on-line.

Mason has long term strategies to incorporate extra cat rescue missions into the enterprise. She invites rescue groups to pay a visit to with a number of adoptable kittens on precise times in an place off the boutique. The teams also have a prospect to go away academic brochures and drum up membership.

Mason also needs to lover with other community corporations, this kind of as breweries, for cat rescue fundraisers. She additionally options to donate a part of each Purr Haus logo T-shirt and baseball cap sale to a showcased cat rescue business.

“Cat men and women are a passionate breed. They don’t just care about their personal animals, but are involved with the plight of all cats,” Mason claimed. “I consider Purr Haus at some point becoming a hub for the Valley’s cat neighborhood. A put wherever you can pick up a great new toy for your cat, or a pleasurable cat-themed reward for a close friend, all when mastering how to assist community cats in have to have.”

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

By Amalia