Customers- and their cats – buoy Lehigh Valley business amid slumping economy

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Contributed Photo:  Laurie and recent Purr Haus guest Ethel from Feline Good Cat Rescue. Ethel and her sister Lucy were adopted after staying at “Hotel Purr Haus”

Emmaus, PA- Purr Haus of Emmaus, Pennsylvania’s only cat-themed boutique and adoption showcase, received an unexpected sales boost this month from customers eager to celebrate the store’s upcoming 200th cat adoption.

Purr Haus owner Laurie Mason Schroeder invited shoppers to purchase a $10 gift card to donate to the local cat rescue of their choice when the adoption milestone is reached. She noted in her Facebook post about the initiative that business had been slow during April and May and that she was considering reducing the store’s hours so she could pick up a part-time job.

“A lot of small businesses are struggling, and I completely understand why sales had dropped,” Schroeder said. “I’ve been to the grocery store. If people have to pay more to feed their family they’re not going to be able to spend money on new cat toys and treats.”

Purr Haus customers responded immediately, purchasing more than 100 gift cards in the first three days of the campaign. Most chose the rescue that they’d adopted their cats from or dedicated their donation to a pet who has crossed the rainbow bridge.

Schroeder said many customers sent emails and messages expressing concern that she wouldn’t be able to continue her “Hotel Purr Haus” program, in which rescues send hard-to-adopt cats to the store during the week so Schroeder can promote them on social media. One of her videos, which showed her and a rescue cat simultaneously reacting to the April 5 earthquake, garnered 37,000 views on TikTok.

Cat rescuers took to social media to urge their followers to support the store, noting that it’s one of the few places small nonprofits can bring cats to meet potential adopters.

“Aunt Helen’s (Cats in Need) alone has adopted probably 20+ kittens and cats through Purr Haus. The latest was sweet Leo, an adult cat that was handsome, docile and quiet but didn’t get ONE application until Purr Haus made their video with him while hosting him as part of Hotel Purr Haus. He found his dad in less than 48 hours! Laurie makes raffle baskets, is always ready for any of our crazy kitten event ideas (Kittenpalooza with Mermaids or Pumpkin Spice Kitten Event, Meowmosas anyone?) and rescues in the Lehigh Valley have been able to raise hundreds of dollars and pounds of food in donations.,” Aunt Helen’s Cats in Need volunteers wrote on their Facebook page.

So far, 185 cats have found homes while visiting Purr Haus. The shop at 27 S. 7th Street in Emmaus opened in Nov. 2021 with one rescue partner. Currently, 15 cat rescues utilize the store’s free-roam adoption room on weekends, including The Sanctuary at Haafsville, The Lehigh Valley Humane Society and Feline Finish Line. The gift card drive comes as rescues are grappling with so-called kitten season, the months in which the valley’s stray and feral cat population increases, leading to an influx of kittens, many which need expensive veterinary care.

Purr Haus adoptions also increase during kitten season. Schroeder noted that 13 adoptions were processed in one day alone last July.

“I’m confident and very proud that we’ll be reaching 200 adoptions very soon,” she said. “I started this business with the goal of helping cats and supporting cat rescuers, and I’m humbled that they’re returning that support.”

For more information contact Laurie at

Information provided to TVL by:
Hayden Rinde