In my years writing about cats, I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know many truly amazing people who take it upon themselves to make the world a better place for cats in need. For Mario Arbore, his company Square Paws specializes in unique home furnishings and interiors designed specifically with cats and their owners in mind. And, when he’s not busy doing that, he makes the time to transform animal shelters and cat cafes with totally catified makeovers.
Before conditions at the Ladew Cat Sanctuary…
Recently, in Oyster Bay, New York, the Ladew Cat Sanctuary for the Patricia H. Ladew Foundation was expertly redesigned with Mario’s vision to create an environment that’s inviting to both cats and people. Mario shared with me,
Our design intent was to create a neutral color environment on the walls and use the client’s signature blue and green logo colors in combination with natural wood finishes and newly added warm yellow, orange, and red colors as accents in the spaces. Allegorically, we were taking a cue from the media flack that Pat Ladew received in the 70’s when she bought the property as a sanctuary for stray and homeless cats, and we fashioned these spaces as suburban rooms as if the resident cats fully own the house.
And for the reveal!
A general contractor (Gerwald Construction) did the “heavy lifting” work on the project, and we at Square Paws designed and built the cat features in each room. A mid-century modern design was the inspiration for our concept, which can be seen in items like the corner table lamp, the retro cat-refrigerator, the console cat-TV, and the shadow box above it. The grandfather clock is a nod to arts-and-crafts design and carries through our nautical motif of the husband cat as an Oyster Bay fisherman.
It seems that Mario approaches each renovation with the purest of intentions, and wants to do this to inspire other cat shelters/rescues. He says, “My hope is that this will inspire other animal shelters and cat sanctuaries to think beyond the typical clinical environment for adoptable cats.”
And Ladew Sanctuary isn’t the only place where Square Paws has left their purrfect mark. Brevard South Animal Care Center has received the Square Paws treatment, along with two rooms dedicated to Billy Joel at North Shore Animal League (https://squarepaws.com/two-odes-to-billy-joel/). Three cat cafes in Florida have also been catified to the max, you can check them out below:
The Cat Café South Beach in Miami (https://squarepaws.com/south-beach-cat-cafe/)
The Witty Whisker Café in St. Augustine (https://squarepaws.com/witty-whisker-cat-cafe/), and
Cattyshack Café in Ft. Myers (https://squarepaws.com/cattyshack-cat-cafe/)
I’d like to give a special “thank you” to Mario for all that he does for cats in need, and I can only hope that more shelters and cat cafes become inspired by his creations. For more on the Ladew Cat Sanctuary, be sure to check out their website here.
Please note: All previous condition photos are courtesy of the Patricia H. Ladew Foundation; all renovated conditions are courtesy of GraphiteNYC.