Imagine entering a bookstore with the intention of finding a new interesting read, only to be greeted by a couple of adorable kittens at the door.
No, this is not me retelling you one of the best dreams I ever had (and probably ever will). This is in fact a reality!
This is a story about one very interesting place that is located in Upper Tantallon, just outside of Halifax in Nova Scotia, Canada. We are talking about Otis & Clementine’s Books and Coffee, which is a bookstore that has captured the attention of many people all around the globe.
And that’s not because they are serving the best and most delicious coffee you will ever taste, or because they have the greatest book selection in the world. Nor is it because their place is perfectly cozy, charming, and homey.
No. This bookstore is famous because it also serves as a temporary foster home for many abandoned kittens in the area. Can you believe that?!
This genius idea came from a woman named Ellen Helmke, who decided to open a secondhand bookstore back in 2001.
Her initial plan was to create a cozy place where people would be able to relax, leave the cares of the real world outside, drink a cup of coffee, and pick an interesting and compelling book or two from the shelf.
And the idea to introduce cats into the whole story sort of happened by itself when Ellen started opening the doors of her bookstore to kittens in 2009.
However, these kittens are not just picked up from the street and brought into the bookstore. They all come from the local rescue group South Paw Conservation Nova Scotia, and each and every one of them has had all their vaccine shots, been neutered or spayed, and dewormed.
Ellen says that those adorable kittens have brought many customers to her bookstore. Many of them come there with the intention to see adorable little fluffs sleeping on bookshelves, or playing in the store, and end up picking a book or two, thus revisiting their long-lost love for reading.
But she also admits that many people come to her, not knowing they are going to be welcomed by cats, and they end up very pleasantly surprised.
Ellen also claims that having kittens in her bookstore has greatly affected her own mood and mental health. She says that they have improved the quality of her life, while at the same time improving her business.
Ellen made a great call by becoming active on social media where she regularly posts the state of the bookstore and updates her fans on the number of kittens available for adoption.
The whole adoption process is, of course, entirely managed by the South Paw Conservation Nova Scotia (SPCA) and Ellen’s Bookstore is only the intermediary foster home.
The adoption process is fairly simple: a candidate has to submit his online application and pay a $235 CAD (or $177 USD) adoption fee. And that’s basically it!
However, Ellen never stops encouraging people who have their hearts set on a particular kitten to act quickly and waste no time. She said that these cats never stay with her for too long, and they usually leave within a few weeks.
Ellen is very proud of the work she does. She says how the interest in her kittens is very high, and how as soon as she gets new ones in, there are already hundreds of requests from people asking how can they apply for them.
She states how, since they introduced the foster program to their bookstore in 2019, around 30 kittens have successfully found their homes and that their adoption rate is 100%. Those are some pretty good numbers if you ask me.
For the people who are planning to visit Otis & Clementine’s Books and Coffee, Ellen suggests they call first, so they could check if there are still some kittens available for adoption. Just in case they don’t come there only to leave empty-handed.
Ellen says that she does not regret anything. Her fostering experience has brought so many opportunities and kind people into her life. And it also made her bookstore ten times more welcoming and cozier.
On top of that, it has also been very beneficial for all those poor abandoned kitties. Those felines got a chance to have a good foster mom, a very special home, and to meet many good people with whom they could cuddle. Besides, they get to socialize and grow up with other fellow kittens.
So, if by any chance you want to visit Canada, go to a very special bookstore to read some books and drink some delicious coffee, while also having a little kitty sleeping in your lap, or playing under your feet then Otis & Clementine’s Books and Coffee is the perfect place for you.
I know it is definitely on my bucket list. Because why wouldn’t it be, anyway? It’s a place that offers books, coffee, and cats. What more could I ask for?