PAW-PALS Bankrupt, Expert Calls “Terrible Idea”

angry cat at PAW-PALS, some rights reserved, http://flickr.com/photos/nelsva/67963185/Oroville, CA – A new local business caught much attention last month when it opened its doors. Some were offended by the opulent Grand Opening celebration, but now the streamers have faded and the music is but a distant memory. The hands of the jugglers have been stilled and the laughter of the children all but forgotten. The ice sculptures are only puddles, and the extensive array of bagel-bites a crumb-laden table. The celebratory trappings of joyous communal expression are no more.

PAW-PALS, just one long (very sharp) claw of a month after its grandiose opening, has gone out of business. PAW-PALS set up shop on the corner of Jefferson and Oak, in what for decades was the much beloved Smitty’s – providing overpriced liquor and under priced prostitutes to the townsfolk. Now the edifice is hung with banners announcing “Liquidation SALE,” “Everything Must Go,” “ATM INSIDE,” “CLOSED,” and “Mailboxes, Etc. Coming Soon.”

The concept for PAW-PALS came to being solely through founder and owner, Jeffrey Sentose, respected local businessman. “I dreamed up the notion of PAW-PALS,” Sentose reports, “while walking my cat one crisp autumn morning. I ran into my neighbor upon the sidewalk. She too was out to stretch her legs and while she shares with me the characteristic of owning a cat, she was, at the current moment, sans feline.”

A life-long pet lover and avid pet aficionado, the neighbor, Janice Hines, stopped to admire Sentose’s four-legged companion (the cat). She cooed for several minutes at the furry friend, seeming to believe the feline to be some sort of small child and, upon completion of the necessary baby-babble, announced that her own cat and Mr. Sentose’s cat should “get together sometime. Ya know, like a play date.”

Now, close family and friends have described Mr. Sentose as a man “born with dollar signs in his eyes.” So, not one to miss an opportunity to cash in on a great idea, Sentose lit up like a light. The next week, Smitty’s was out of business and PAW-PALS was ordering seven Bounce-Houses for the ceremonious commencement.

PAW-PALS was founded on this idea of “cat play dates” and offered a space, much like an indoor “cat park” or “kitten jungle-gym” or “meow-meow obstacle course.” Cat owners could, for a small fee, bring in their felines to mix and mingle with other local gatos. The shop, Sentose promised, would thrive and bring a much-needed boost to the economy of the neighborhood. His premise, unfortunately, was flawed at best.  Now, a month after its humble beginnings, PAW-PALS has deserted this town like ants leaving a flooded picnic.

Many cannot understand why the business did not succeed. However, as local cat expert (or Catspert) Giles Walker reported, “cats don’t like other cats.” Shedding more light on the situation, he continued, “there’s a reason you don’t see cat parks.” And elaborating on his hypothesis, “cats don’t enjoy being around other cats. They are territorial animals that hiss and fight and generally do not get along.”

Reporters have been unable to obtain eyewitness testimony, with everyone who observed the collapse of PAW-PALS at home “licking their wounds.” The only leads reporters could latch onto were police noise disturbance reports by neighbors complaining of “frequent mrrrowwwwwwwws [sic] loud and shrill enough to chill the bones of any man,” as well as city sanitation committees reporting street sweeper brushes full of hairballs. City officials have taken to calling the incident a real “catastrophe.”

Sentose was not available for comment on the shattering of his dreams. He is currently receiving treatment at the Good Samaritan Hospital for claw-inflicted wounds.

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