Our business is “Sassy’s Cat Cafe and Adoption Centre”, 499a Payneham Road, Felixstow.
We have a 20 seat cafe with a glass wall so you can see the resident and adoptable cats and kittens and watch them play. There is a small charge to enter the cat room and that goes towards their food, vet bills, immunisation, litter and toys.
The business has been here since 2016 and my husband and I bought it in April 2021. We have a strong focus on helping Paws and Claws with their adoptable cats and kittens and donated space to showcase them. That was always part of our vision, as all creatures deserve to be loved and cared for.
// What were you doing prior to your business and why did you get started?
I had retired three years ago from my career in Administration. As I now had the time, I contacted the Animal Welfare League and was trained to become a cat and kitten foster carer, which we did for two years. I also trained to look after the neonatal kittens who are bottle fed, day and night. It is a huge commitment to make but incredibly worthwhile. My smallest kitten was 160 grams. I got him and his siblings up to 800 grams by the time they were eight weeks old, they were then desexed, microchipped, vaccinated and had flea and worm treatment and then put up for adoption. Yes, there were tears but by letting these kittens that we formed such a strong bond with go, this created space in our heart and home for other, initially unwanted kittens.
I also had a small, home based, bakery business called Sassy but Sweet, which indulged my passion for baking. When the cat cafe came up for sale it was my two passions under one roof. Cupcakes and kittens!! It was my destiny.
// Who is someone you look up to?
My friend and colleague, Jo Southcott, created and implemented the foster care scheme for the Animal Welfare League 7 years ago. Sadly she was made redundant. Jo offered to help me with the cat side of the business and is now an integeral part of Sassy’s. What Jo does not know about cats and kittens, is not worth knowing. Jo has always been a great support to foster carers and guided and helped them through some difficult times. Jo now volunteers with Paws and Claws and is through Jo that the adoptable cats and kittens come to Sassy’s.
// What are you most proud of?
At 63 and in the time of Covid, I decided to follow my heart and, with my husbands blessing, bought the cafe. It took six weeks of hard work to revamp the cat room and the cafe to make our vision a reality. I am proud of my faith in myself and showing that it is never to late to follow your dreams.
// Do you have a favourite SA business that you are passionate about supporting?
Nikalene Riddle, creator of Skinnymixers, is a fabulous success story, from humble beginnings to publishing over a dozen Thermomix recipe books. Nik has won awards and is an inspiration to everyone around her.
// What advice would you give other women wanting to start a business?
Do your research. Be brave, Have faith in yourself and lean on others when you need. GO FOR IT!!
// Share with us a quote or mantra you live by…
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. Elenor Roosevelt
Get in touch with Sharon:
Facebook: Sassy’s Cat Cafe and Adoption Centre