Wineries and More That Support Cat Rescue
Winemakers, brewers and distillers are often cool cats, so perhaps it’s not surprising that so many actually adopt cats, support cat rescues and aid other feline-friendly causes.
Winery cats help with rodent control and greet visitors between, ahem, cat naps. Many are adopted from animal shelters and rescue organizations, living out their lives either as “barn cats” who roam the property or indoor lap cats who prefer to snuggle up inside. Either way, the benefits they bring to establishments are plentiful, and often inspire owners to help other animals in the community.
Michelle Benvenuto, executive director of the nonprofit Winegrowers of Napa County, said it’s natural for industry folk who value sustainability to support animal causes as well.
“Winegrowers of Napa County defines sustainability as a three-legged stool that needs all three legs to stand: the environment, the economy and the community. Supporting local animal shelters ties into all of our long-term sustainability efforts,” she says. “As part of the community, vintners and growers not only enjoy giving back, but they also understand the importance of animal life since in the vineyard, protecting and encouraging wildlife can promote healthy soil and air quality as well as conserve water and energy. An added benefit: who doesn’t love a winery dog or cat?”
Here’s a sampling of wineries, distilleries and breweries that have animal lovers grinning like a Cheshire cat.
Cat’s Paw Winery
Cat’s Paw Winery‘s name was inspired by an orange tabby named Joey. Today, three orange winery cats—all rescues, named Percy, Morris and Simon—play purr-fect hosts for visitors to this Rock Hill, South Carolina, destination. In addition to rescuing feline friends, Cat’s Paw Winery donates to local animal shelters and recently hosted a cat adoption event with Friends of York County Animal Shelter that featured over 30 adoptable cats.
De Tierra Vineyards
This winery in Carmel, California, donates to animal organizations quarterly, including Golden Oldies Cat Rescue, which has the motto, “Older cats, new beginnings.” De Tierra also hosts check presentation “paw-ties” and invites the organization’s board, volunteers and adopters and makes an additional donation from any sales from that night.
St. Francis Winery & Vineyards
For 20 years, this Sonoma winery—named for the patron saint of animals, St. Francis of Assisi—has hosted a “Blessing of the Animals” fundraiser for the Humane Society of Sonoma County.
Tito’s Handmade Vodka
Though Tito’s Handmade Vodka famously launched a charitable arm called “Vodka for Dog People,” the brand also supports cats in myriad ways—including supporting over 3,000 animal shelters each year and Emancipet, a nonprofit that offers low-cost spay/neuter and vaccination services to both cats and dogs.
Tito’s is also a sponsor of the annual cat festival POP Cat in its hometown of Austin, Texas, and worked with the nonprofit Wings of Rescue to transport 225 cats and 576 dogs from Puerto Rico and Florida to safety after hurricanes lashed those regions this fall. Through the nonprofit Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity, Tito’s helped rapper-turned-humane-cat-trapper Sterling “TrapKing” Davis purchase a special vehicle for his Trap-Neuter-Return missions to help spay and neuter community cats.
Metazoa Brewing Co.
Metazoa Brewing Company frequently hosts Give Back Nights in the taproom and donates 5% of beer sales to wildlife and animal rescue organizations, including IndyHumane and Exotic Feline Rescue Center, which rescues tigers, lions, leopards and other big cats. Last year the Indiana brewery donated more than $45,000 to local and regional animal organizations.
Rolling Hills Vineyard
When oenophiles raise a glass of Mascot wine in the Urban Tasting Room of Rolling Hills Vineyard in Garden City, Idaho, they also raise money for animal shelters statewide. Guests drop the name of their favorite rescue organization into a lottery, and each quarter, the winery pulls a name from the hat and donates 10% of Mascot purchases to the winning shelter. West Valley Humane Society recently won a donation to support shelter animals, including nearly 50 cats available for adoption.
Paradise Springs Winery
In Clifton, Virginia, Paradise Springs Winery plays host to an annual Wine and Cheese Festival, a fundraising event for the Fancy Cats & Dogs Rescue Team, which has rescued over 25,000 cats. The Virginia winery also welcomed the nonprofit Animal Welfare League of Arlington earlier this year.
Falling Knife Brewing Company
This Minneapolis brewery hosts fundraisers for myriad nonprofits, including the Bitty Kitty Brigade—which rescues and nurtures neonatal kittens—donating $1 per pint sold during special happy hours.
Whiskers & Wine Bar
As a cat lounge, Whiskers & Wine Bar is in a league of its own. Instead of a cat café with adoptable cats and coffee, this establishment in San Diego, California, caters to cat lovers who enjoy playing with adoptable cats from Saving One Life Animal Sanctuary while sipping on craft beer, wine or specialty cocktails like Meowhattans and Kittytinis.
This Napa winery donates 10% of every bottle purchased to nonprofits, like Cat Rescue & Adoption Network, which finds homes for cats with special needs. Online shoppers can select their personal cause of choice at checkout; cat lovers can try Rosie & River Pinot Noir, which is named after the CEO’s rescue cats. ONEHOPE Wine has donated over $8.5 million to nonprofits, including more than $250,000 to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
Stray Dog Wild Gin
This Greek brand donates a portion of sales to provide food and veterinary care—and ultimately, homes—to stray cats, kittens and canines in Greece through the nonprofit Save a Greek Stray. Additionally, Stray Dog works with the nonprofit PAWS Chicago for local campaigns and events. For the 2022 inaugural Stray Dog Week, the company donated $1 to the nonprofits every time participating bars and restaurants tagged the brand in social media posts or used the hashtag #StrayDogWeek.
Alton Farms Estate Winery
Mice don’t get a chance to play at this Canadian winery inhabited by six cats, including deaf white cat Rory, who appears on the label of White Cat White, a Riesling/Sauvignon Blanc blend. Alton Farms also hosts a midsummer craft market fundraiser for the cat rescue organization Cat Chance in Ontario.
Barrel Oak Winery
Pet-friendly Virginia property Barrel Oak Winery donates thousands of gift certificates to animal rescue organizations for silent auctions, including Humane Rescue Alliance in Washington, D.C. The nonprofit not only offers cats and dogs for adoption but offers a humane education program in schools to teach children about kindness to animals.
Indeed Brewing Company
This Minnesota brewery hosts fundraising events for the nonprofit Feline Rescue, including this past spring at the start of “kitten season,” when shelters face an influx of homeless kitties. Activities included a kitten livestream, kitty-naming contest and cat-themed games. It’s part of the company’s “Indeed We Can” initiative that supports good causes with donations and the motto, “Cold beer, warm fuzzies.”
Crazy Cat Winery
A frisky kitty named Jinx led the owners of Crazy Cat Winery and Café in Bristol, New Hampshire, to name their winery in his honor. Current winery cats Cricket and Jasper are beloved rescues as well. To give back to the nonprofit that saved them, Crazy Cat shares social media posts of adoptable cats from FuRRR Feline Rescue, and hosts year-round cat food and kitty litter drives. Whenever someone brings in a donation, they get a discount for any wine purchases at the winery, including the popular “Whisker White.”
Di Aire Vineyard & Winery
Any time customers join the Mixed Breed Club—which involves getting four bottles of wine delivered every other month—Di Aire Vineyard & Winery in Plymouth, California, donates $10 with every shipment to an animal shelter that the customer chooses, plus an extra $50 donation just for joining. The proceeds from the Great Wines for Great Causes program also support animal shelters and many other nonprofit organizations.