As adorable as the concept is, cat cafes are so much more than cute places to enjoy good coffee and play with kittens. In essence, they can also be non-profits, social enterprises and/or communal spaces that promote and protect the human-animal bond, build strong relationships, and most importantly, save lives.
To begin, cat cafes are revolutionizing adoption models across the country. Right now, cats and kittens are being euthanized at an alarming rate due to overcrowding in shelters. Through strategic partnerships, cat cafes help reduce the stress on shelters and rescues by offering off-site fostering and adoptions in a laid-back and appealing atmosphere.
Despite some criticism – including concerns that cats may experience anxiety from people coming and going in and out of their environment – the advantages of well-executed and properly-managed cat cafes far outweigh the drawbacks.
In these friendly settings, under-socialized cats – or those who just need a little extra attention to come out of their proverbial shells – receive much-deserved affection. Outgoing cats also get the love they crave. Introverted or extroverted, these cats ideally charm their way into a forever home. Moreover, potential adopters can better gauge a cat’s personality through meaningful interactions outside of cages to find the purrfect feline fit for their family.
Finally, cat cafes allow cat lovers, particularly those who may not be able to have cats of their own, to get a feline fix while supporting rescue efforts.
In short, cat cafes are truly the cat’s meow.
A Brief History
As a global phenomenon, cat cafes have a pretty riveting, cat-tastic history. Originating in Taiwan, the first-ever cat cafe – Cat Flower Garden – opened in 1998 with the intention of helping urban professionals chill out after a long day. It quickly became a very popular tourist destination and inspired more cat cafes to pop up all over the world. For obvious reasons, they quickly became all the rage, and in the mid-2000s, cat cafes began making an appearance in other parts of Asia, including Japan – eventually clawing their way to Europe and North America, too.
In short, cat cafes are a paradise for felines and their aficionados across the world. Plus, they are saving feline lives simultaneously.
A Few Things to Expect
1) Fees May Apply: It’s worth mentioning that most cat cafe have a cover charge, so to speak, to get in the door. These fees – which average between $10-$17 dollars – are do not include the yummy desserts, food, or beverages you might enjoy during your visit. Rather, they have been put into place specifically to help defray the enormous costs of food, veterinary care, and supplies. The money also frequently supports the many local animal rescues and shelters who partner with these cafes. The good news? Monthly memberships exist for humans who want to make a bit more of a cat-mitment to the cause. When it comes to cats, you gotta pay to play, and they are worth it!
2) No outside cats: Across the board, health regulations prohibit anyone from bringing their own cats to visit. Moreover, cat cafes intentionally put a cap on the number of felines in the space at any given time to prevent fights and unnecessary stress.
3) You may need reservations:
Because they want to give cats time to decompress and sleep, cat cafes limit the number of humans who can interact with them at any given time. To this end, many locations ask that you reserve a time slot in advance.
4) Children Must be Supervised:
People often ask if they can drop their kids off to play with cats, but most cat cafes require younger humans to have adult supervision, for obvious reasons.
Now that you know what’s in store, let’s explore 13 of the best cat cafes in the U.S. to get your feline fix, right meow.
1. Denver Cat Cafe, Denver, CO
Located in the heart of the Mile High City, the Denver Cat Cafe is Colorado’s first cat cafe and has helped make over 3,000 love matches since their opening in 2014. Their non-profit arm – the Denver Cat Rescue – saves cats at risk of euthanasia from across the country and transports them to their lively coffee shop where they can find their forever homes.
2. The Casual Cat Cafe, Richland Hills, TX
Like its peers, the Casual Cat Cafe works with local rescues and shelters – serving as a temporary foster home until each cat is adopted. Run by a powerhouse couple, they even give 100% of adoption fees directly to their rescue or shelter partners!
Something extra to purr about: The Casual Cat cafe offers in-house cat boarding for the public that includes snuggle sessions for your cats to prevent them from getting lonely without you – and provides webcam access so you can spy on your pretty kitty while your away.
3. Espurresso Cat Cafe, Lawrence, KS
Located on bustling Massachusetts Avenue in bustling downtown Lawrence, KS, this charming spot features a central cat room where adoptable cats and kittens lounge and pounce, and a separate cafe where people munch on baked good (with plenty of vegan options).
The cat cafe has a mission to represent the future of cat adoption in the United States. By fostering an interactive environment for both cats and humans, this feline-friendly establishment enables prospective adopters to form deeper connections with potential cat companions – far beyond what a kennel at a shelter would normally allow.
4. Pounce Cat Cafe and Wine Bar, Charleston, SC, and Savannah, GA
Excuse me, but did someone mention wine and cats in a single title?! Um, how many ways can I say yes to this!? The brain child of self-proclaimed cat ladies, Ashley Brooks and Annaliese Hughes, Pounce Cat Cafe and Wine Bar works with the Charleston Animal Society to help match cats and humans. Due to their fur-midable success, they now have second location in Savannah, GA, where they have teamed up with The Humane Society For Greater Savannah to rescue even more fuzzy friends.
5. Crumbs & Whiskers Kitten & Cat Cafe, Los Angeles, CA and D.C.
Inspired by her trip to Thailand, founder Azarea realized that she wanted to replicate the live-saving work being done in the Catmosphere – a cat cafe in Chiang Mai – and returned to make her dream of reducing euthanasia and improving the lives of homeless cats a reality. To date, Crumbs and Whiskers has spared 5,000 cats and kittens from the risk of euthanasia, while donating over 60k to charity.
6. Enchanted Cat Cafe, Reno, NV
If you love cats but are tragically allergic to them, you can still visit their cafe, which is totally separate from Cat Lounge. Touting over 1,500 sq ft of space for cuddling cats, the lounge is equipped with powerful air purrrrifiers (sorry, I couldn’t resist that one!) to significantly reduce dander. But if that isn’t sufficient to control your allergies and you still need to keep your distance, you can spy on the cats in the lounge from the cafe itself without interacting with the them directly. This way, you still get to enjoy their shenanigans while still managing to breathe.
7. The Region Cat Cafe, Merrillville, IN
The Region Cat Cafe consistently earns rave reviews and partners with Second Chance 4 Pets Network – a foster-based rescue. In case you need something a little stronger than a mocha, their menu features beer, red and white wines, Prosecco, Mos-cat-o, and White Claw Seltzers.
8. Tally Cat Cafe, Tallahassee, FL
Like many other cat cafes across the U.S, including #6 on this list, Tally Cat Cafe has distinct cafe and cat lounge areas, making it possible for humans with allergies to watch cats through the enclosed glass. They have a longstanding relationship and and deep trust in Leon County Humane Society, their partners in cat-crime=a mission to find cats new homes. And like #4, #7, #8, and #11, Tally offers fun cocktails, beer, and wine, for those who prefer to spirits and other alcoholic beverages while they pet cats.
9. Le Cat Cafe, Philadelphia, PA
Situated in the heart of Brewerytown, Le Cat Cafe, a Purrrrisian-themed cat haven, usually fosters up to about a dozen cats on premise for potential adopters to meet and greet. This is the adoption platform for Green Street Rescue, which assists and supports community cats, helping them thrive though trap-neuter-release-manage (TNRM) programs that sterilize animals so they cannot reproduce.
Their proximity to both the Art Museum and the Philly Zoo means you can include this as a stop in a fun day out in the City of Brotherly Love.
10. Neko: A Cat Cafe, Bellingham and Seattle, WA
Partnering with Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC), Neko A Cat Cafe has a similar story to Crumbs and Whiskers (#5 on this list). Founder Caitlyn also fell in love with cat cafes while spending three years in Japan and Vietnam, and decided to replicate this adoption model once she returned to the U.S. And that’s why global innovation rocks, y’all.
11. Sip & Purr Cat Cafe, Milwaukee, WI
Wisconsin’s first cat cafe, Sip & Purr Cat Cafe was also internationally-inspired (like #5 and #10) when Founder Katy McHugh fell in love with a cat named Gigi in a cat cafe in Amsterdam. On top of her partnership with Lakeland Animal Shelter, Sip & Purr’s has earned its claim to fame as the sole cat cafe in the U.S. that consistently welcomes international, non-traditional, at-risk cats into their adoption program. Again, cosmopolitan cat appreciation for the win!
And, like #4, #7, #8, and #13, they cater to both coffee and alcohol drinkers – serving beer, mixed drinks, wine, and bubbles – thereby providing all kinds of fixes in one convenient location!
12. The Catfeine Cat Cafe, Murfreesboro, TN
Located just 30 minutes outside of Nashville, it seems fitting that The Catfeine Cat Cafe owners, Curtis and Taura Byrd, are musicians. This dynamic married couple who have found the perfect homes for over 500 cats and counting!
13. Purrfect Day Cafe, Louisville and Covington, KY
With the motto cuddles not cages, husband and wife team Chuck and Tricia Patton have facilitated 7,937 love matches and donated 84,000 to date through the Purrfect Day Cafe by working closely with the Kentucky Humane Society They also host private events (or pawties) and offer cat yoga classes. Also, like #4, #7, #8, and #11, they serve adult beverages as well as tea and coffee to appeal to a wide-range of cat lovers.
If none of these are close by, I hope you are now energized to go explore a cat cafe near you!
|13 Clever Cat Cafes in the U.S. to Get Your Feline Fix
|1. Denver Cat Cafe
|2. The Casual Cat Cafe
|Richland Hills, TX
|3. Espurresso Cat Cafe
|4. Pounce Cat Cafe and Wine Bar
|Charleston, SC, and Savannah, GA
|5. Crumbs & Whiskers Kitten & Cat Cafe
|Los Angeles, CA and D.C.
|6. Enchanted Cat Cafe
|7. The Region Cat Cafe
|8.Tally Cat Cafe
|9. Le Cat Cafe
|10. Neko: A Cat Cafe
|Bellingham and Seattle, WA
|11.Sip & Purr Cat Cafe
|12.Catfeine Cat Cafe
|13. Purrfect Day Cafe
|Louisville and Covington, KY
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Arwen Matthijssen/Shutterstock.com
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