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It was kittens galore at Ventura Pet Barn. (Photo by Chris Frost)
Thursday, September 12, 2019

By Chris Frost



Ventura—The Ventura Pet Barn was kitten central, Sept. 8, as the retailer hosted a kitten adoption party in conjunction with Surfcat Café and Adoptions.


The event featured a large group of kittens experiencing their first trip away from their home. They were a little nervous at first but settled in and made the day a big kitten party for attendees captivated by the fun.


Surfcat Café and Adoptions is dedicated to compassionate care for cats that end up with everyone in a forever home. 


Executive Director Leslie Ann Weiss said they usually don’t have kitten adoptions because the non-profit often focus more on adult, senior, special needs, and hospice kitties.


“We had a hospice kitty come in, and she was pregnant,” she said. “She had her kittens, and it turned out that she was completely healthy. That’s why we have the babies now.”


The group uses an extensive social media presence for advertising the kittens, and she hopes people will come in and adopt the kittens.


An excellent example of the work the group does is with “Natasha” a small Calico kitten that came from the shelter.


“We have a direct partnership with them, and we only take cats from the shelter in Camarillo,” Weiss said. “On a rare occasion, we will take a cat from another rescue on a transfer, but we don’t take from the public.”


The shelter has tremendous educational resources, she said, and the goal is to educate the public to become responsible cat owners.


“We’re trying to educate the public not to dump the cats when they are done with them,” she said. “If they’re interviewed through the shelter system and given other ideas—wow, a light may go on and say that person might want to adopt my kitty instead of leaving him at the shelter.”


An adult cat adoption party means setting up a big tent, she said, which is a five-sided tent for camping that is safe inside.


“Kittens get sidetracked enough that they don’t want to jump over this (the retaining wall) and adult cats look for a way out,” she said. “There is a different adoption process for adult cats because most of them are special needs. We do home checks and background checks, talking to them, and learning about them, so we know this is the kind of cat they want.”


She could not describe her feelings about helping a family find the perfect cat or kitten.


“This family called me first and are discussing it with each other,” she said. “They wanted to know how we worked, and it’s not just a second thought where they grab a kitten, and three days later, they say I had no idea.”


Bin Lu, along with her daughter Rachel and husband Bnchao, decided to adopt June.


“Not long ago, we lost our family cat, and we decided to look for a new cat,” Bin said. “We’ve had cats all our life.”


Rachel said the criterion for her new cat was a calm cat.


“We had a cat before, and he was crazy,” she said. “June seems calm, so we want her. She is pretty, and this is the first cat my mom showed me when she pulled up the website.”


Bin said the family has a dog at home, who is a sweet dog.


“June will enjoy it,” she said.  


Shelley Rinker makes cat toys, and her company Whimsily Ever After makes organic and natural toys for kitties.


“We’re here for support,” she said. “Leslie always wants us to come, because she wants the kittens to get used to little kids and my daughter is around my two cats at home.”


She met the people at Surfcat in 2016, while attending the CatCon convention.


“We had tables at the convention, and we started talking,” she said. “I used to design children’s toys for 13 years, and I decided that I wanted to try working for myself. I had my two cats for over a decade, and they inspired me to make them toys. The toys that are out there six or seven years ago were just mice and nothing exciting for cats.”


She called her toys intricate and said the favorite one is sushi and a baguette.


“Cats love fish,” she said. “Cats love the baguette because it’s long and they love the little kicker.”


Although the family has two cats now, Shelley and her daughter Elise anticipate adding a third cat as she gets older.


“When her negotiating skills improve,” she laughed.


For more information and to see all the kittens and cats up for adoption, visit www.surfcatcafe.org.

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