Cat House pet store destroyed in Stadium Shopping Centre fire hopes to rebuild through donations

The Cat House hopes to be able to open a small pop-up shop before Christmas and to find a new permanent home.

GoFundMe campaign raises 19K in 4 days from loyal customers

A massive fire destroyed the Cat House pet store on Nov. 12, 2015 along with three other businesses in the Stadium Shopping Centre. (Henry Wegiel)

Calgary cat lovers are making sure that the fire last week at the Stadium Shopping Centre doesn't permanently put a local pet store out of business.

The Cat House, which specializes in feline food and toys, was severely damaged in the blaze and was demolished over the weekend.

"There's nothing," said store manager Candace Schneider. "It was so devastating, I just broke down."As soon as news broke about the fire, Schneider says customers started reaching out.

"I was on my phone for three days straight just answering people, telling them I was OK and the cats were OK."

She says it was actually customers who encouraged her to start a GoFundMe campaign to rebuild the Cat House, which has been operating in Calgary for almost 25 years.

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      Launched on Saturday, it has already raised more than $19,000.

      "When I read the fund, I recognize 95 per cent of the names there as customers that I know and love," said Schneider, who owns five cats herself.

      She says money raised will cover some of the lost wages for store employees not eligible for EI because they have a second, part-time job.

      It will also help the store open a small, pop-up shop before Christmas while its insurance claim is processed. Schneider says after that, the store will be looking for a more permanent space to call home.