MadCat in Madison, Wisconsin is the kind of pet store that makes you feel like everything is all right with the world. It’s the kind you tell your kids about. It’s the kind we’re proud to support, and name our store of the month!
MadCat, founded by Ted O’Donnell (a Vermonter!) in 2002, has three locations in Madison that serve up everything pets need on a silver platter—or maybe a neon green one signed with a funky paw. The fun, furry dynamic is pervasive in the three stores that help educate and serve this college town, home to over 40,000 students. With the backing of the young community and the MadCat teams’ creative capabilities, O’Donnell has been able to dream up some unique ideas for his stores.
MadCat has a solid reputation as a socially conscious company. A few years back, O’Donnell had the idea to start an environmentally friendly refill program that allows customers to bring in empty jugs of cat litter and get a new, refilled jug for a nominal price. The program was a great success right out of the gate.
Instead of plain, white jugs of litter, a colorful variety splashed the scene at MadCat as the staff made recycled jugs into its new canvas for creativity. As far as O’Donnell knows, MadCats’ fun signature effort is theirs alone. This creative endeavor has spread the MadCat name all over homes, dorms and businesses in Madison. The jugs range from
portraits, to cartoons, to humorous, awareness-building sayings that promote not only art, but also a green environment with quirky community spirit.
Every six months, MadCat invites local graffiti artists to the store to paint and spray the company truck. From funky local artists to budding college students, the contributors decorate the truck to represent the store and current trends. The truck, which helps deliver MadCat products in the area, adds a local and creative presence to the long lanes of traffic.
MadCat is, of course, focused on cats, but celebrates the fantastic dogs of the area as well. This company is all about quality products, helpful employees and supporting the animal community with a strong sense of self. MadCat does not sell any pets in store, instead supporting cat rescue and animal adoption. MadCat has been voted “Madison’s Favorite” pet store by alternative newspaper Isthmus seven years running.
It looks like the folks at Isthmus and Pet Naturals can all agree with Ted when he says, “This is the kind of pet shop we all wanted to shop at when we were kids, but didn’t exist.”