“Crazy cat lady” may be an understatement. With 23 resident cats at her cafe and two cats at her home, Jennifer Bronzel cares for feline fur babies before, during, and after work.
Some might consider her a professional cat lover.
Opening Greenville’s unique Organic Cat Cafe and Music Lounge in 2017, Bronzel fulfilled her cat dream of owning a business. “One of the main goals is to convert everyone into a cat person,” she says with a laugh.
In 2011, she saw an announcement for a cat cafe opening in London, and that’s where her American dream began. Originally from Germany, Bronzel worked in the automotive industry and lived in England before moving to Greenville for her work.
Throughout her time in Greenville, Bronzel continued researching and forming a business plan for Organic Cat Cafe. “It became a better and better idea,” she says. “I thought, man, Greenville is such a perfect place. It’s a small town. There’s nothing like that. And it’s growing like crazy.”
Fast-forward to today and Bronzel works full-time with her partner Ernesto Cardenas at their new downtown cafe, making coffee, feeding and playing with kitties, talking with customers — oh, and of course, cleaning lots of litter boxes.
Although she never owned cats as a child in Germany, Bronzel had an affinity for felines, especially tigers and lions. “I remember all I wanted was plush toys in the cat shape,” she says.
So, Bronzel did what any cat lover would do when she left home for college. “Before I even had my furniture, I adopted two cats,” she says.
Living out her vision for the cat cafe, Bronzel seeks to do more than provide costumers with coffee and kitty cuddles.
“I want to bring cats to the people, but I also want to make them aware of healthy nutrition, organic food choices, how things are recycled and reused,” she says.
Bronzel calls the cafe a “creative healing cat sanctuary and music lounge.” In addition to lots of local art on display and for sale, Organic Cat Cafe also offers painting, jewelry making, and pottery classes.
The healing part of the definition represents cats’ therapeutic benefits, she says. Yoga, massage therapy, and sound healing are also available.
Bronzel says the cafe is obviously a cat sanctuary because of the 23 resident cats as well as the cafe’s adoptable cats. Partnering with nonprofit pet rescues, Organic Cat Cafe adopted out 99 cats by the end of 2018.
“All the money that is paid for adoptable cats goes straight to the rescue center,” she says.
Another goal of Bronzel’s was to create a space for people to gather. “It doesn’t matter how old you are, how you look, how much money you have, everyone comes here either for the cats, music, or art,” she says. “But, they’re all together.”
When Bronzel and Cardenas aren’t at the cafe, they’re traveling the Southeast for music and art gatherings hosted by Cardenas’ company Dimensions of Being.
“So cats and music are really a big part of our life,” Bronzel says.