Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Calico Nook is the Cat's Meow

When Marissa Massucco and Kristi Mahoney first met, they connected immediately through their mutual love for cats. Massucco has worked as a director and surgery technician at Countryside Veterinary Clinic in Wrentham (a business her husband owns) for more than a decade and Mahoney is "cat mom" to three rescue felines. Together, these animal advocates are the brains behind Calico Nook, New England’s first cat social club.

"Helping homeless cats is a major reason we started this business," Mahoney explained. "We have already fostered a few cats from local shelters and are making it a priority to welcome more cats.

Located approximately 40 miles southwest of Boston in the suburb of Franklin, the concept is a spin on the widely popular cat café model that seems to be purring up a storm all around the globe. It was a gloomy April afternoon when I visited, but warmth (in the form of whiskers and fur) welcomed me at the door. 

"The Nook"(as many patrons call it) is just that – a cozy retreat from the hustle of daily life that offers visitors the companionship of the most adorable rescue cats ever. It looks and feels like a traditional cat café, but without the actual café elements (food and beverages are not served due to state regulations).

"Our customers (some of which can’t have cats due to their living situation or an allergic family member) reap the benefits of spending time with cats in a relaxed environment,"
Mahoney said. "At the same time, our rescue cats reap the benefit of loads of love and playtime in a space created just for them."

The décor is soft and the setting serene. As a matter of fact, Calico Nook reminds me of something straight out of Pottery Barn. Think country-chic living meets crazy cat style. It most definitely works. An over-sized beige sofa sits adjacent to a pin cushion foot stool. A bubbling brook gurgles in the distance – beckoning residents to pause from playtime for refreshment. A soaring cat condo adds cosmopolitan charm and feline art illuminate the wall sparking conversation. I was compelled to sit for a cup of tea and relive my visit to Le Café des Chats, but I knew tea was not to be.

There's a calm curiosity about the space as 15-year-old Angel (pictured above) kneads on a fluffy white rug and Brie (pictured below), an elegant Maine Coon flaunting snow white fur, burrows into a shelf perched high above the ground.

"We came up with 'Calico' to reflect cats and 'Nook' to reflect the many different nooks within our space that you can cozy up with a book, hang out with a friend, and pet a cat," Mahoney said.

Calico Nook is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization established for the sole purpose of helping rescue cats. The duo relies on a $5 admission per guest and retail sales to support the residents and their beautiful new home. All cats have been vaccinated and spayed or neutered.

Photo // Calico Nook

Photo // Calico Nook

~ Meet the Cats of Calico Nook ~

Georgie is a 10-year-old domestic short hair tuxedo who loves to nap on laps, but still boasts tons of energy. If you’re resting on the sofa or in her favorite chair, it's likely she'll hop on your lap. 

Photo // Calico Nook

Claude is a domestic short hair tuxedo with a heart of gold. He had a tough life on the street for many years and has battle scars to prove it, but he's soft as a marshmallow on the inside. Claude loves to lay on the rug while patrons brush or pet him. He's the Nook's most "dog-like" cat. 

Here I am with sweet Angel who couldn't stop purring up a storm on her favorite fluffy carpet. I fell in love with her gentle spirit and colorful fur. Angel is somewhat of a mother hen to the rest. 

Brie is the Nook's teenage diva who loves to roam and explore high places. She loves cat toys, catnip and often tries to break into the treat bin. After playing and exploring, Brie often rests in her favorite cabinet or the penthouse suite of the Nook's cat condo. 

Photo // Calico Nook

And last, but certainly not least there's a kitten in a basket! That's right - a kitten in a basket! If this isn't a million dollar photo, then I don't know what is. Asher is the Nook's new 2-month-old darling. I'm told Brie loves to "mother" her and Angel and Claude enjoy watching her. Georgie, on the other hand, is still warming up to the idea.

June is Adopt-a-Cat-Month and although these rescue felines aren't available for adoption (at this time),
stop by Calico Nook at 58 East Central Street, Franklin and meet them.

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