Clovis Bar Owner with Breast Cancer Struggles to Stay Open

A small bar in a strip mall has pink walls back to back, glittery iridescence countertops, portraits of iconic women from the Golden Age of Hollywood, and sometimes a little corgi running around named Brandi.

Miss Kitty’s Lounge is a laid-back bar for a girl’s night out, located on Herndon Avenue, in Clovis.

The bar has struggled with finances even before the pandemic hit, now it is on the brink of a permanent shut down.

Bars are not allowed to be open during this time except for having a contract with a restaurant and 25 percent capacity; Miss Kitty’s Lounge is doing just that.

“It’s all my hard work for the last seven years, and I can’t let it go,” says Catherine Hill, owner of Miss Kitty’s Lounge.

Hill resined the countertops herself, tiled the floors, and even spent days creating a flower designed tabletop made of sequin.

If falling behind in rent was not hard enough, Hill received detrimental news last October.

She was diagnosed with stage three, triple-negative breast cancer.

Hill has gone through six months of chemotherapy and 15 rounds of radiation. The day the state got shut down, she was going into surgery to get a mastectomy and the removal of 15 lymph nodes. 

During her radiation period, Hill was given an eviction notice from her landlord. Not too long after, she learned her cancer now spread to her lungs. Weeks later, she was met with a lawsuit.

Hill’s savings was already wiped from cancer treatment, “We have nothing to help us with the rent, utilities, insurance, all the other bills that caused us to stay closed. It just dwindles down.”

In 2019, Hill was in a legal battle with her ex-husband over Miss Kitty’s Lounge. In the end, she was able to gain full ownership of the lounge but was left with thousands of dollars in debt.

Only two months after getting full management is when she found a lump.

“In those months, when I could have caught it early, it went to stage three, so it probably cost me my life,” says Hill.

Hill has said her support system is fantastic; just a couple weeks ago, she got married. She says her husband is her rock. Her daughters have been her support through hard times.

“It has been a non-stop rollercoaster, non-stop. I’m 41, diagnosed with later-stage breast cancer, now I’m a stage four. I still have a 12-year old little girl at home, that’s the worst, but this [Miss Kitty’s Lounge] also keeps me going, like, let’s go. Get up. You got payroll to do. Suck it up,” said Hill.

Hill is immune-compromised and practices social distancing. Being behind the bar and making drinks was once her livelihood. Now, her oldest daughter, Willow, has taken the reign of bartending for the lounge.

“If there is anything I could leave my kids is a good work ethic,” said Hill.

Hill said the family that has been with her has just shined amid hardship.

The landlord has been contacted and has yet to give a statement. Hill will continue running Miss Kitty’s Lounge as long as possible.

Tori Lavon
Tori Lavon is a Multimedia Journalist from Reedley, California. She received her Bachelor's in Mass Communications and Journalism with an emphasis in Broadcasting from California State University, Fresno. Currently, she is a radio intern were she sometimes has the opportunity to be on-air with talent. She is getting her start in media. She has a passion for reporting, photography, and videography. Tori also has a love for art; she loves to draw, paint, and does pottery on the side. One day she hopes she can be on-air talent at a radio station as well.