Milwaukee's Sip & Purr Cat Cafe to rescue 20 cats affected by Beirut explosion

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- After a massive explosion shook downtown Beirut on Aug. 4, Milwaukee's very own Sip & Purr Cat Cafe sprung into action, creating a scholarship program and traveling to Lebanon to rescue injured and homeless cats.

Sip & Purr is the only cat cafe in America that routinely accepts international, at-risk cats into its adoption program, so after the explosion,  people from all over the world reached out to the cafe, according to founder Katy McHugh.

“They knew we were experienced at rescuing international cats and were looking to us for help. That’s when we decided to launch our scholarship program,” McHugh said.

McHugh traveled to Beirut on Oct. 12. She'll be working with Animals Lebanon, a Lebanese animal charity, to prepare cats for travel to the U.S. and to search the explosion site for any animals still missing or in need of medical care. On Oct. 19, she'll travel back to the United States.

“I’ll be bringing 20 very lucky cats back with me to the U.S.," McHugh said. "Due to the declining economic situation in Lebanon, COVID, and then the explosion, these cats stand no chance at finding homes in Lebanon. Their rescue was made possible through Sip & Purr’s Scholarship Adoption Program."

Sip & Purr's scholarship program was launched in September. Donations made to the program directly assist the company in rescuing, transporting and caring for rescued cats. 

Cats rescued from Beirut will eventually be available for adoption at Sip & Purr. 

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