ASBURY PARK — The idea grew twofold, first out of its founder's house, then drawing on a concept that's been popular in some Asian countries for close to two decades. Now it is the first of its kind in New Jersey: a nonprofit "cat cafe" that welcomes you in for a cup of coffee or tea, while also introducing you to potential new, furry friends to bring home.

Catsbury Park opened on Cookman Avenue in Asbury Park in September 2017, about a year after founder and owner DJ Bornschein started a rescue mission in a spare bedroom of his. Since then, he said nearly 400 felines have been adopted.

"(For) people that are interested in adopting, it's a great way to meet a cat that potentially might be your new best friend, as opposed to going to a shelter where the cats are always in cages and crates," he said. "We've created an environment that very closely mimics your home, so when you come in and spend time with us and our cats, you're going to get the true personality of that cat."

Catsbury Park in Asbury Park (Louis C. Hochman /

To clear up any confusion, this is not like a dog park; it's not a place to bring your cat if you already have one. (Bornschein made the point that not many cats would want to leave their homes to go on playdates anyway.) Instead, Catsbury Park is a place where rescued cats are taken in, vetted and vaccinated, spayed and neutered if necessary, and then offered for adoption.

Catsbury Park in Asbury Park (Louis C. Hochman /

Money to cover the costs of those procedures comes through fundraisers, donations, and of course, proceeds from the goods sold at the cafe. Adoption prices help to offset some of that total as well.

Bornschein said that the cafe is currently promoting older cats, age 5 and up, that may often get overlooked. For them, the cost to adopt is $20 less than the cost of a younger adult cat.

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Patrick Lavery is Senior Producer of Morning News and Special Programming for New Jersey 101.5, and is lead reporter and substitute anchor for "New Jersey's First News." Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email

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