Published: 06:00, 03 December 2020
| Updated: 21:47, 03 December 2020
Bosses from the county’s first cat café fear it could be forced to close in the new year - with its felines put into rescue shelters.
Cosy Cat Café owner Christeen Norfolk has launched a fundraiser in a last-ditch attempt to save the Herne Bay business from having to shut.
Fourteen of the furry creatures - whose ages range between one and 16 - have been living at the William Street premises since it opened in June 2018, following stints in animal sanctuaries.
But having racked up at least £30,000 of losses during the pandemic, Ms Norfolk says she may be forced to give them back to the homes in January, if the appeal does not generate enough money.
“This money will keep the roof over the cats’ heads and go towards any potential vet bills,” the businesswoman said.
“I can’t close it - I can’t let the cats down. If I can’t raise the money, I think they’d have to go back to rescue - I can’t bear the thought of it.
“I have lots of sleepless nights thinking about it.”
The café owner received a £10,000 grant to support the eatery during the first lockdown, but says she needs more as she has been unable to trade for large chunks of the year.
And despite remaining closed during both lockdowns, Ms Norfolk has had to care for the cats at the café, pay their health costs and cover utility bills.
“The running costs of the café add up to about £2,000 a month,” she added.
“I’ve already considered taking more money on the mortgage and I’ve looked at other avenues.
“I can afford to pay the bills for November and December, but we will be in serious difficulties come the end of January.”
Should Cosy Cat Café close, it will be the second town centre casualty in recent months, after A Bundle of Books in Bank Street shut for good in September.
Since establishing the GoFundMe page last week, Ms Norfolk has managed to raise almost a third of her £6,000 target.
“We’ve been closed more than we’ve been open this year,” she explained.
“We lost all of our trade over the summer and bank holidays - some weeks we might have taken between £1,500 and £2,000.
“The mind boggles as to what we’ve actually lost. A conservative guess is around £30,000.”
To donate to the appeal, click here.