New digs are the cat's pajamas

Thursday May 6, 2010

GREAT BARRINGTON -- The brand-new cat adoption center on Stockbridge Road, Purradise, is more than just a homeless shelter for felines.

Founded and managed by the Berkshire Humane Society, Purradise houses up to 15 homeless cats where residents can conveniently find their family's new feline friend.

The small building, which had served as a home and an office space, was renovated by volunteers with cats in mind.

Purradise features the Purradise Boutique, a small retail space that sells cat toys for people -- such as tote bags, books, knit dolls, finger puppets, address books, business card holders, greeting cards, book marks, note pads, clocks, pill boxes, kitty night lights and mobiles -- all with images of cats. There are also chocolates shaped like cats.

The new center falso boasts an enclosed sundeck -- The Sunshine Spa -- with cat towers, caves and scratch poles. Then there is the Purr Palace furnished with the Cloud Nine Condos, two- or three-level cat cages that allow the feline tenants plenty of room.

Miss Kitty's Cafe is the kitchen where the cat's meals are stored and prepared.

And the Matchmaking Nook is a small room with a love seat and chair where the cats and their prospective human adopters can get to know one another.

Anyone looking for a new feline friend is welcome, but those who are not in a position to bring home a new animal are welcome to come in, sit in the Sunshine Spa, and get a kitty fix.

Manager June Stewart said since the soft opening earlier this month, it has not been unusual for someone to stop by to ease their stress by relaxing with an affectionate feline.

"We think we're doing them a favor by petting them, but they do more for us," she said.

According to John Perreault, executive director of the Berkshire Humane Society, there are so many cats being housed in the Pittsfield shelter on West Housatonic Street, they were seeking more cat space and a way to increase their presence in southern Berkshire County.

"It's all about adopting cats. And by having a physical presence there, it allows us to put more cats in more homes and increase our educational outreach," he said.

Perreault said the Pittsfield shelter gets, on average, from 60 to 80 homeless cats every month, and adopts out 55 to 60 cats per month. But even when it's slow, cats are rarely euthanized -- only in cases of extremely poor health or non-correctable aggressive behavior.

This week, there are about 80 cats in the Pittsfield shelter and 13 at Purradise in Great Barrington.

The cats that end up at Purradise are processed through the Pittsfield shelter first.

Stewart said the community has been "extremely welcoming," with people stopping by now and again with donations of cat toys, cat food and offers to volunteer there.

"It has been amazing," she said.

Plans for several fundraisers are nearing completion, according to Stefanie Samek, the marketing director for Purradise.

Coming up on May 23 is a grand opening, which will feature David Grover and his band, a "cat face-painter" and guided tours.

On June 13 at 11:30 a.m. will be a fashion show and brunch called Fashion for the Felines. Admission is $30.

And on Sept. 10 will be "A Night at the Kit Kat Club," in which Crissey Farm will be transformed into a cat night club, with cat-themed decor and entertainment.

"It's the kind of night out we want to have with our neighbors because we're all about saving cats," Samek said.

For more information, call (413) 447-7878, ext. 31.

To reach Scott Stafford: or (413) 496-6241.


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