People who want a little one-on-one time with a feline to help in deciding whether or not to adopt the animal from the Cat Welfare Association are welcome to it.
In the bathroom of the shelter on Wetmore Road.
"And that's not exactly welcoming," acknowledged Gail Harbert, program manager for the nearly 69-year-old nonprofit organization, founded by a small group of people concerned about the plight of stray and abused cats in the city.
In approximately 90 days or so, thanks to a grant the Cat Welfare Association received last fall, renovations to what has been the organization's Clintonville home since 1999 will provide visiting rooms for that face-to-feline time people might want before giving a homeless cat a "forever home," Harbert said.
The construction project will also provide more space for special needs cats, such as those that test positive for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus. That means the association's resale shop, the Catique, has to find a new space.
The popular thrift store helps bring in needed funding for the organization, which adopted out 978 cats in 2013, so closing it was not an option.
Instead, Harbert said shelter board members and volunteers looked around and finally found a new spot at 1005 Mediterranean Ave. in the Busch Boulevard Centre in the Northland area.
"We were fortunate to find this wonderful space," she said.
For one thing, she added, the storefront was a former resale shop for the Boy Scouts of America.
"The great thing is that we have so many regular Catique shoppers," Harbert continued. "It's not that far from the shelter, so we figure we'll continue to have their patronage. With a lot of large apartments in the area, we're hoping to make some new friends and new shoppers."
Also, she added, the site is close to Interstate 71 and just off busy East Dublin-Granville Road, behind the Giant Eagle, and the storefront allows for good natural lighting.
"It just felt right," Harbert said, adding that the landlord has been "very welcoming."
A grand opening -- or grand reopening, as a flyer for the event puts it -- is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, Refreshments and door prizes will be offered.
Regular hours at the new location after that will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.
"I think it will be a little bit more of an upscale shopping experience, but just the fact we have more space will allow us to carry more," Harbert said.
For example, small items of furniture which could not be carried at the first Catique site can be sold at the new location.
Items accepted for donation include clothing (preferably in-season items), shoes, books, small pieces of furniture, bedding, small appliances, housewares, jewelry, art/picture frames, artwork, decorative items, candles, collectibles, records, videos, CDs and DVDs, pet items "and, of course, anything cat-related," the association's website indicates.
"All donated items should be new or gently used and free of dirt, stains, tears, and in workable condition," the site adds.
The Catique does not accept exercise equipment, television sets, computers and computer equipment, large furniture, mattresses and tires, among other items.
Secure donation bins will be placed soon at both the new store and at the shelter, according to Harbert.
A grant from the Joanie Bernard Foundation and bequest from the Marjorie Baker estate are paying for the project, which will increase space for cat care and support services by around 25 percent.