• Kitten BnB: A Hoboken AirBnB Complete with Adoptable Kittens

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    It’s no secret that cats are both adorable and hilarious {please see the internet for further proof if you need it}. Now, imagine being surrounded by that cuteness all the time — including as your career. In Jess Thoren’s world, that’s exactly what happens every.single.day. She’s the owner of Kitten BnB, a Hoboken AirBnB experience and cat haven where Jess and her husband foster kittens who are up for adoption all while hosting AirBnB guests simultaneously. Guests get to enjoy the company of the kittens and, hopefully, adopt one as well. As this week’s Hoboken Girl of the Week, find out how Jess got Kitten BnB started, who inspires her, and more. Keep reading to learn all about Hoboken Girl of the Week, Jess Thoren of Hoboken’s Kitten BnB.

    jess thoren kitten bnb

    Tell us about yourself and your journey to Kitten BnB.

    I started fostering kittens about three years ago, mostly because I just missed having a pet and my husband {fiancé at the time}, Erik, kept saying we weren’t ready for our own. If I’m being completely honest, I really wanted to foster puppies because I had dogs growing up, but we were living in a tiny Manhattan apartment and I worked long hours so that wasn’t possible. I ended up falling in love with fostering and since then it’s basically been a revolving door of kittens. I started an Instagram account to bring more exposure to my foster kittens and help get them adopted. We named the Instagram account @KittenBnB because Erik and I would joke that our home was a little bed and breakfast for the kittens since we would provide them a warm bed and meals until they were ready to be adopted.

    After a while, people started asking if Kitten BnB was a real place, and that’s what sparked the idea for a real Kitten BnB for human guests too.

    Why did you start Kitten BnB?

    I pretty much knew shortly after my first foster kittens left that I wanted to help more kittens in a bigger way, I just wasn’t sure how. After several people asked if Kitten BnB was a real place, Erik and I both realized this was it. I think Kitten BnB has the ability to make such an impact.

    In addition to bringing awareness to fostering and adopting, I really hope it inspires people to foster.

    I know for a lot of people, myself included, the idea of fostering can be a little overwhelming. I had signed up for the foster orientation twice before actually attending. I think Kitten BnB can show potential foster parents that fostering isn’t that scary and also show them that while it can be work, it’s also really fun. Kitten BnB also benefits my individual kittens because having people play with them helps socialize them and makes them more adoptable.

    kitten bnb kittens

    How did you get your Kitten BnB started? 

    Since I already had an audience from my Instagram, we started by asking them if they thought Kitten BnB was a place they would want to go to. When we got positive feedback, we basically just moved from Manhattan to Hoboken and spent the first six months furnishing and working on the guest experience. We started taking guests in July 2018 for two out of the three rooms. At the time, the third room was a kitten room. We then realized that the kittens probably didn’t need that big of a room to themselves, so we made that into the third guest room.

    kitten bnb terrace

    ^The view from the Kitten BnB rooftop

    How did you get into AirBnB?

    We stayed at a few AirBnBs as guests, but we never hosted before starting Kitten BnB. We decided to list on AirBnB because the platform is so great, and it provides us with an opportunity to host more guests.

    kitten bnb kitchen

    ^Jess’ beautiful kitchen, which she shares with her guests

    What is it like to have kittens and people staying in your home on a regular basis? 

    The space is pretty spacious so even when we have a full house, it doesn’t feel that way. I love having both here, I’ve met so many wonderful people from having them stay with us. Also, I said this before but it’s great for the kittens to be exposed to new faces. They love having the guests play with them too.

    kitten bnb patio

    Who is your biggest source of inspiration?

    The kittens! When I first started fostering, I didn’t realize how great the need for kitten fosters was. I always thought that since everyone wanted a kitten, they weren’t at risk at the shelter. After learning how wrong I was and that kittens are one of the most vulnerable populations since they are technically not adoptable, I really wanted to help as much as I could. I know I personally can’t save all the kittens, but I think Kitten BnB can bring more awareness to fostering and hopefully inspire others so together we can save more.

    kittens kittenbnb

    What are your goals for this year?

    My main goal for this year is to just really keep working on and improving the experience at Kitten BnB. With each guest, we learn something new and I want this to be an amazing experience for every person {and kitten} that stays here.

    See More: Hoboken Girl of the Week: 7-Year-Old Elise Papakonstantinou

    What’s a typical day look like for you?

    Sometimes I really wish I had a typical day, but every day is definitely very different here. There are so many moving pieces with guests and kittens. Also, depending on the age of the kitten, they have different care. When I’m not entertaining guests or taking care of the kittens, I’m taking a lot of photos and videos, answering emails, reviewing adoption applications, and working on ways to grow and improve Kitten BnB.

    kittenbnb hoboken kittens

    What has been the highlight in your life so far?

    Just making Kitten BnB a reality has been a dream come true. I’m also really proud that since we’ve started fostering, we’ve found homes for over 130 kittens.

    What has been the most rewarding part of fostering kittens?

    Kittens don’t really have a high survival rate outside {or inside} shelters, so knowing that I’m literally saving a life is pretty amazing.

    I also love finding my kittens adopters and seeing them so loved. I get to give someone their new best friend and make another person so happy, it’s really a beautiful thing.

    What has been the most challenging part of running your business? 

    When you’re dealing with kittens and people, sometimes things don’t always go as I planned. I’ve also never done anything like this before so the whole thing has been a learning experience.

    hoboken girl week jess thoren

    What is your favorite thing about the business you run?

    I get to cuddle with kittens whenever I want!

    kittens hoboken

    What has been some of the positive feedback you’ve received from your guests? 

    We’ve had guests tell us they love that the space is modern, spacious, and clean. They’ve also said that after a long day in NYC, coming home to kittens is the perfect way to de-stress.

    Do you ever see yourself doing something like this for puppies/dogs in the future?

    I love dogs and it’s definitely something I’m interested in exploring in the future.

    Tell us about another business in the area you admire.

    Hoboken Girl! Since moving to Hoboken and probably even the month before, Hoboken Girl has been my favorite place to learn about things going on in Hoboken. I personally find it to be an amazing resource and I love the community it has created. {Side note: We’re blushing!}

    Read More: Meet the Artist Behind Jersey City’s Pride Artwork: Swati Rastogi

    Hoboken + Jersey City Favorites

    What is your favorite restaurant in Hoboken?

    Oh, that’s tough! If I had to choose, I’d probably have to say, Grand Vin. I love the atmosphere, the food, and live music.

    What is your favorite boutique in Hoboken?

    The Washington General Store.

    What do you love most about Hoboken?

    I love that Hoboken has such a great neighborhood feel. It’s something I didn’t have when I was living in Manhattan.

    What is your favorite thing to do in Hudson County?

    I love to go out to eat and it’s been really fun trying new restaurants in Hudson County.

    How long have you lived in Hoboken?

    About a year and a half.

    What is your favorite outdoor place to spend time in Hoboken?

    The waterfront, can’t beat those NYC views!

    What is your favorite place to work out in Hudson County?

    I am the worst at working out, so I don’t really go anywhere and if I do, it’s just at home.

    Where do you go out with friends in the area?

    I end up going to NYC a lot but if I’m staying local, it’s Grand Vin, Pilsener Haus & Biergarten, and Antique Bar and Bakery. I recently went to City Bistro and loved the roof deck.

    What is something you think needs to come to Hoboken?

    I would like to see the west side of Hoboken get a little more built up with some more places to eat. Sometimes, I’m lazy and even though nothing in Hoboken is really that far, it’d be nice if there were more options on this side of town.

    Keep up with Jess on Instagram at @KittenBnB, Facebook, on her website, or email her at jess@kittenbnb.com. If interested in adopting one of her available kittens, head to her website!


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