NEW JERSEY’S FIRST CAT CAFE TO OPEN IN ASBURY PARK
In a whisker of time, Asbury Park will become home to the first cat cafe in New Jersey.
Created by city resident D.J. Bornschein and managed by Jamie Nichols, Catsbury Park on Cookman Avenue, will feature fine teas, coffee and snacks on the right side and a wave of cat love on the left. Think of it as a Starbucks with adoptable cats.
“The café will help fund our cat rescue and adoption and run like a stand-alone business; it won’t be an afterthought,” said Bornschein, speaking first to The Coaster. “We’ll take pride in offering high-end teas for every season, like fruitier during the summer and more robust in the winter and snacks spotlighting the best of our area. But you don’t have to hang with our cats to have some tea or avocado toast.”
The lounge / free-range adoption area will be separated from the café by a glass wall. Bornschein, Nichols, and Jen Kash designed Catsbury Park to meet the customer where they are at the moment – whether running errands or looking to feed their soul with the unconditional affection of a cat for an hour… or a lifetime.
“We have partnered with animal rescue organizations including Camden County Animal Shelter and the Monmouth County SPCA to help foster and find forever homes for the cats,” said Nichols. “Anyone that’s been to an animal shelter knows there are great shelter cats who are overlooked because of the overwhelming environment. Our lounge will mimic a home, let 12 cats flourish, and give guests and potential adopters a true feel for a cat’s personality.”
The cat café originated in Taiwan in the late 1990’s and quickly spread to Japan, which is now home to more than 150 of the cafes. In 2014, the first café in North America opened as a pop-up in New York City to lines around the block. Today, there are permanent cafes around the country, soon to include New Jersey.
Within five minutes of Bornschein walking in to a California cat café in 2015 he knew he had to open one in Asbury Park. As traveling Stage Manager for the Bouncing Souls, over the next 16 months, he visited a bunch of cafes around the world while he refined his vision for New Jersey.
“The concept spoke to me immediately; a light went off in my head,” said Bornschein. “This will be heaven for cat lovers and tea drinkers. Ultimately, the café is another avenue to promote adoption.”
In 2016 he founded his animal rescue organization and to-date, Catsbury Park has homed 40 cats thanks to a grass-roots effort. Bornschein and his team constantly advocate for the most helpless and innocent of furry souls.
“Seeing a cat grown and living a happy life is a level of fulfillment I’ve never gotten before,” said Bornschein. “There’s nothing better.”