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Hidden Gems: Meet Diane Foland of K.A.T. Cafe

Today we’d like to introduce you to Diane Foland.

Hi Diane, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I used to be a cheeseburger, bacon-loving lady who liked animals but would not have considered herself an “animal lover.” One day, I was lying in bed reading a magazine article titled “Cage-Free vs. Free Range: Do you know the difference?” Of course, I had heard the terms before referring to eggs, but did not pay attention much to the difference. However, the title piqued my interest enough to read. By the end of the article, I was changed forever. After learning about the torture in factory farming towards chickens (embarrassingly, I admit before this article I had no idea!), I swore off eggs and chicken, but in just a week, I realized that this wasn’t enough. I went down a terrible rabbit hole of information about factory farming for all animals and swore off animal products entirely.

I then discovered a wonderful organization, Mercy for Animals, whose mission I wanted to support and where I learned more about the importance of animal cruelty awareness. With this mission now on my mind all the time, I stumbled across Crumbs & Whiskers Cat Cafe in Washington, D.C. Before this moment, I had never heard of a cat cafe, so I went in with my guard up and animal advocacy questions prepared. I entered defensive and left enamored. It was an incredible experience and a genius idea to bring a calmer, kinder way to adapt to the community. I immediately called the Downtown Partnership in Frederick, MD, where I began my quest to open KAT. I thought to myself, “I have to replicate this idea in my town,” and one year and eight months later, I did!

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Starting KAT was anything but a smooth road. I was denied 32 times from other landlords to lease their space as they had many fears about this concept, including the smell, the property damage, and even some worried about “the noise” (these aren’t tigers, people!). I was laughed at, hung up on, I was told it was the “dumbest idea ever heard of,” and more, but this did not deter me. Fortunately, space #33 was the lucky winner! It is owned by a wonderful, kind gentleman who was willing to open his heart and mind to the idea and allow us to lease the space. I know that he’s glad he did, and one of the highest compliments we receive every day is, “Where are the litter boxes? It doesn’t smell at all in here!”

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about K.A.T. Cafe?
KAT (Kitties. Adoptions. Treats.) is a cage-free adoption center and light fare vegan cafe provided by other local businesses that provide support to our local animal shelter. At K.A.T., we believe that all animals should have the best quality of life possible. We are helping fulfill this mission by providing a safe, clean, enriching, and cage-free home for kitties from The Frederick County Animal Control & Pet Adoption Center (FCAC) in hopes they will all find their forever homes, our ultimate goal.

Our kitty residents are cared for with the utmost respect and love. We offer supervision and require adherence to our rules to ensure the safety of all visitors and kitties. Every aspect of K.A.T. is designed to best meet the needs of the kitties through an enriching environment with space for them to play, eat, socialize, and enjoy downtime away from visitors should they choose to do so. We also believe by offering only plant-based foods, free of all animal products. We are leading by example to show our community the attainable dream of a cruelty-free future.

Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?
I am an only child which I believe does impact personality. As an only child you have extra attention (and extra presents!), but you also have to learn to entertain yourself, you love the quiet, and have more time to think than those with siblings. I come from a loving family of entrepreneurs, leadership mindsets, and creative thinkers. However, I was shy, timid, and soft-spoken. I had pets growing up but didn’t consider myself an animal lover until I became an adult. I was interested in working with children (which I do in my other career) and writing. I know that my 10-year-old self would be proud of my 34-year-old self indeed.

Pricing:

  • Kitty Sessions are $15 per person for ages five and older
  • Children under five years of age are free
  • Food & Beverage Pricing varies from $2-$10

Contact Info:

  • Email: info@katcafe.net
  • Website: www.katcafe.net
  • Instagram: @katcafefrederick
  • Facebook: @katcafefrederick

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