The owners of the Blue Cat Cafe discovered profane graffiti against “you gentrified scum” on the walls of the building early Friday after vandals glued the doors shut, trapping mewing cats inside the business.
Blue Cat Cafe, which opened its doors a year ago on Oct. 17, is home to more than 200 cats adoptable through the Humane Society. The cafe’s opening became controversial because it was built on property where the Jumpolin piñata store had been demolished by the property’s owners to the shock of the store’s operators.
The owner of Blue Cat Cafe asked the Statesman not to use her name because of multiple death threats that she said she’s gotten from protesters who opposed the demolition of Jumpolin.
“The vandalism and the mental anguish they’ve caused me and the cyberbullying they do — it’s really out of control,” the owner said. “They show up with megaphones and they yell profanity; they send me emails with pictures of dead cats and pigs.”
She said protesters have even showed up to her house to intimidate her. The business has had police presence at past protests, she said.
“I had nothing to do with the (Jumpolin) case, and when I found out more information when I got here, I reached out to the people and asked how I could help,” the owner said. “I told them that they were allowed to come and sell their piñatas here for free, and I told the protesters that I would be happy to make our parking space into a pocket park.”
The owner said the protesters told her they didn’t want that and that their only desire was for her to vacate the property.
Blue Cat employee Kaitlyn Green reported Friday’s vandalism to police. She said the staff spent two and a half hours removing the glue to get into the building.
“I was disappointed just because there are live animals in here, and not being able to get into the building, I mean, it affects them,” Green said. “They depend on us to feed them, change out their litter and make sure they’re not sick. … I just don’t know how (the vandals) could justify doing that.”
The owner said she expects to spend a few hundred dollars on a locksmith to fix all the doors.
“If I have anything to say to the protesters, it’s that I’m sorry I’ve offended them by being here, but I’m open to peaceful communication and solutions and figuring out how we can live together happily,” the owner said. “That’s all I can do. I can’t be a part of this hate anymore. I am a small-businesswoman and we sell coffee and adopt out cats for the Humane Society. So I don’t think that what we’re doing here is wrong.”
Frequent Blue Cat customer Zach Tibari, 20, thinks people should look at the cafe in a positive light.
“And even though it is definitely a product of gentrification, the establishment is for a good cause so people need to look at the greater picture and realize what they’re doing is a good thing,” Tibari said.