After a five-month hiatus, Feline Good Social Club—the cat lounge in Downtown Long Beach at Atlantic Avenue and Third Street—reopened to the public Tuesday with new cats and kittens, a few new safety precautions and a redesigned lounge better suited for social distancing.

To enter the cat haven/heaven, guests must now make and pay for reservations online—no walk-ins allowed—and have their temperature taken and hands sanitized upon arrival. Masks must be worn during the entire 50-minute session.

The lounge now features nine separate seating areas, spaced at least six-feet apart, that are distinguished by a washable, fuzzy rug and furnished with plush pillows and a chair or two, depending on which area you sit. The lounge does allow for small groups to sit together, so long as they’re from the same household and the seating spaces are sanitized after each session.

Long Beach resident Charlene Long, 40, reaches for a kitten at the Feline Good Social Club grand opening Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. Photo by Cheantay Jensen.

Prior to COVID-19, guests were allowed to roam the lounge as they pleased, now patrons are asked to stay seated in their designated area and use toys stationed on each rug to entice the kitties to approach. If that fails, there are masked volunteers on site that will corral the cats toward the guests. Although coaxing the kitties over shouldn’t prove too difficult, their latest batch of rescue cats, which totals about 25 right now, includes 10 very friendly four- and five-month old kittens.

“There was one batch of kittens up today and they were just like, ‘Why are you working on things? Pay attention to us! We want to be picked up, we want to play, we want to be on the table,'” FGSC volunteer Abby Anderson said, attesting to the kitten’s behavior. “I was holding one and petting the other one with my other hand, they’re so funny.”

Feline Good Social Club co-owner Pam Leslie admits that it was a lot of work getting the space ready for reopening. Safety was a chief concern, but the club was eager to get back to its mission of finding their rescue cats forever homes. Their business model is mutually beneficial; patrons get to play with or just be around the rescue cats which helps socialize them, improving their adopt-ability. Or, patrons end up falling in love with the cats and wind up adopting one themselves.

Seven-year-old Cora Long tries to coax the kitten named Prada with a spring toy. Prada is one of the “designer” cats, named after famous fashion brands. Prada is currently up for adoption. Photo by Cheantay Jensen.

Since launching the lounge last year, the club has surpassed more than 80 adoptions with half of those occurring in the last five months alone. Anderson believes this is likely because people stuck at home during quarantine realized they finally had the time to properly look after a shelter pet.

“Shelters across the board across the country have just been almost emptied out,” she said.

Long Beach resident Charlene Long and her seven-year-old daughter, Cora, visited the lounge’s grand reopening on Tuesday. While they have a cat of their own at home, 12-year-old Christopher, they said they enjoy the unique experience of being able to play with a bunch of cats at one time.

“It’s the best, we came last year and thought as soon as they reopen we’ll be back,” Charlene Long said.

Also enjoying the company of the cats on Tuesday were 30-year-old Victoria Lee and 32-year-old Ty Zang who drove up from Huntington Beach. Lee said she’s always “liked the idea” of adopting a special-needs cat since they don’t get adopted as often, and had her eye on the white kitten Kit-Kat who has cerebellar hypoplasia—or CH as it’s often referred to—a neurological condition that causes the cats to wobble when they walk.

Kit-kat is a five month old special-needs kitten, who has Cerebellar hypoplasia, a neurological disorder that means he has some difficulty walking. Kit-kat is one of 10 kittens staying at the Feline Good Social Club and is currently up for adoption. Photo by Cheantay Jensen.

Volunteer Abby Anderson, who has worked with Feline Good Social Club since it opened last year, noted that the lounge is a great resource for people to learn about what goes into taking care of special needs cats in a setting that emulates the home environment, making the cats much more comfortable and confident.

In addition to the new cats and revamped lounge space, FGSC boasts two new murals from local artist Vlad Noel (whosvlad) who FGSC co-owner Pam Leslie affectionately refers to as “our artist.” Prior to COVID-19, Noel had painted a mural on the furthermost back wall depicting two giant cats wearing rounded sunglasses. The new mural on the interior features a black cat with a big face and huge eyes and smaller body—the proportions designed to give the perspective a person would see of a cat standing very close to his or her face.

The second mural is on an exterior wall of the building facing Third Street that shows a smiling girl reclining on a lounge chair while upside down, holding a grey and white cat.

The exterior mural facing third street was painted by artist Vlad Noel, known locally as WhosVlad. Photo by Cheantay Jensen.

Feline Good Social Club will be celebrating the rest of their grand reopening through the remainder of the week with goodie bags, until supplies run out. To book your reservation which costs $15 for a 50-minute session, click here.

Feline Good Social Club volunteer Toni Mikrut plays with some of the kittens during the grand reopening of the cat lounge in Downtown Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. Photo by Cheantay Jensen.

Feline Good Social Club is located at 301 Atlantic Ave.