Meow Lounge employee Lauren Smith, left, and owner Anne Beal say they’ve had a successful and rewarding year finding homes for their cats. Mikayla Patel / The Forecaster

Meow Lounge in Westbrook is celebrating its one-year anniversary, a year of expanding partnerships and finding permanent homes for 258 cats.

The lounge has 24 cats in residence now, a number that’s always changing, and partners with nine rescue organizations across the state. In addition to providing scheduled visiting sessions with the cats, it offers weekly events, such as belly dancing classes, crafting and game nights. Attached to the lounge is a small shop that sells cat-related creations by local artists. The majority of the sales go back to the artists themselves, and the rest supports the lounge.

Mirna was timid and hid upon her arrival at the cat lounge, but has since come out of her shell. Mikayla Patel / The Forecaster

“It’s been really great to expand out and get kitties from across the state,” said owner Anne Beal. “It’s been exciting to be a part of, and the community support has been wonderful.”

Managing the lounge has been both the most stressful thing Beal has ever done, she said, and also “a dream come true.”

The biggest reward has been watching so many cats grow more confident in the comfortable surroundings, show their personalities and find loving homes, she said.

Many of the cats who come to her have spent months or even years in shelters or foster homes, but once they’re at the lounge they get adopted almost immediately.


“A lot of the rescues, especially smaller ones, have been extremely grateful because this helps give them more space” to take in more cats, Beal said.

Giving people the opportunity to spend time with cats at the lounge allows them to form more of an individual bond with them than they would at a shelter, she said. “It gives people more exposure to them.”

Andrew Winslow and Alyssa Vrdoljak got engaged while visiting at Meow Lounge last week. The happy couple is pictured with cat Winston. Mikayla Patel / The Forecaster

Some of the people who book visits with the cats just like to spend time with them, and that’s beneficial, too.

“Even if they don’t want to adopt, coming in is a great experience for both people and the cats,” employee Lauren Smith said. “Getting to socialize helps prepare the cats for living in a home with people.”

For the cats, the lounge offers a more peaceful and home-like environment where, at their own pace, they can be comfortable. One cat now at the lounge, Mirna, wouldn’t eat and wasn’t interested in the other cats when she first arrived, and spent most of her time hiding under chairs, Beal said. After a few weeks, she got braver and now sprawls out confidently in the middle of the room.

“Coming here and getting to help all the animals find homes is amazing. I get to love on them and spoil them and help them find families,” Smith said.


Summer has been a slower time for the lounge, said Beal, so she hopes to continue getting the word out.

“The adoptions were busier in the winter because more people were home,” she said. “The biggest thing has been trying to get people to come in during the weekdays.”

Visitors can book their time through the Meow Lounge website for $15 per adult and $10 per child for a 50-minute session. Longer visits and monthly passes are available, too.

“I’m trying to make this as much of a community space as possible. I’m just providing this hub so that people come out and support the rescues,” Beal said.

“I love the activities that we do,” Smith said. “My favorite is the pottery nights, and watching cats try to get their paw prints on the pottery.”

Weekly schedules of events can be found on the lounge’s website, at

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