The kitty’s out of the bag … The Black Cat Market’s new home at 5135 Penn Ave. opens Oct. 27.
Since lauching in Lawrenceville two years ago, co-owners Olivia Ciotoli and Indigo Baloch have helped nearly 200 felines find forever homes.
Their work isn’t done, but their stint at 5171 Butler Street is winding down. Instead of renewing the lease on the storefront, the pair is moving the rescue operation to — appropriately enough — Garfield.
Much larger than the current Lawrenceville site, the new space will allow Ciotoli and Baloch to install a bigger cat hangout and a full-service coffee bar. Eventually, they plan to also share some room with the old tenant, Workshop PGH, which will offer classes in creative areas such as woodworking, sewing, art, leather and plants.
“As much as we loved it, we couldn’t fully achieve our dream [in Lawrenceville] and the new space will allow us room to grow and really do everything we wanted to do with the business,” Baloch says.
While they make the transition, the women are still busy facilitating adoptions through Frankie’s Friends, a New Kensington-based nonprofit organization that provides relief to animals suffering from cruelty, neglect, disease and homelessness.
People interested in adopting a cat can make an appointment to come in and mingle with the resident kitties.
Once you find an animal you connect with, the team will put you in touch with Frankie’s Friends and get the application process started. The adoption fee is $75 for adult cats and $100 for kittens, which includes the cost of them being spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.
There’s been a spike in adoptions since the pandemic started.
“We think the isolation and more people working from home has made people long for a pet to keep them company,” Baloch says. “Also, we’ve been big supporters of pet therapy for a long time and think that for a lot of people, the pandemic has been very traumatizing. We’re all experiencing something so difficult and scary and having an emotional support animal can be such a big help.”