Would you like cream with your coffee? How about a cat?
Cat cafes are trending. Hybrid coffee shops/cat rescues have been popping up around the US since 2014, when Cat Town Café opened in Oakland, California. While cat cafés are still relatively new to the US, one of the first, Cat Flower Garden, opened in Taipei about twenty years ago. (The idea may have started because many of the city’s landlords don’t let renters keep pets.) Like many similar cafés, it invites customers to sip java and mingle with felines often considered unadoptable, because they’re seniors, shy or otherwise at-risk.
In Seattle, you can have your coffee and a cat, too, at Meowtropolitan. Order a Catpuccino or other refreshing brew in the designated coffee room, and gaze through big windows at the adorable felines in the separate cat lounge. Six are permanent residents, but others are adoptable. For $10, you’ll get a beverage (a barista can decorate your Mewocha or Chai latte with a cat face) and 50 minutes to cuddle or play with the sweet tabbies, toms and calicos. Yoga sessions with cats are also available.
If you’re craving more than coffee, stop by the Blue Cat Café in Austin, Texas, where the Tex-Mex menu features a Purrito, Alley Cat Street Tacos, burgers, salads and more. Considered the biggest cat café in the country, this combination sanctuary and eatery follows The Humane Society’s adoption process, so if you can’t adopt on the spot, you may have to apply and wait a few days—but it’s all in the pet’s best interests. Need help after you get home? Call back and book a visit with a cat consultant who works on behavioral issues.
In Japanese, Koneko means kitten, and this New York City establishment says it’s America’s first Japanese cat café and sake bar. At Koneko Cat Cafe you can also order beer or wine while you meet a new furry friend in one of its three unique spaces: a sun-filled upper cattery, an inviting lower cattery, or an outdoor catio. The adoptable felines come from Anjellicle Cats Rescue, a non-profit, no-kill shelter with locations around New York.
Indulge in a cup of loose-leaf Japanese green tea at San Francisco’s KitTea Cat Café, where the resident felines rub heads with a few adoptables. The café’s permanent Kitty Crew were saved from shelters in northern California; look for feisty Blinx, who gives kisses, or Cheddar, who likes belly rubs. KitTea offers free meow-fi, outlets for mobile devices, and a selection of pastries, sandwiches, soups, salads and Belgian waffles. You can enjoy them all while watching the kitties frolic or nap in the Cat Lounge. KitTea welcomes volunteers and foster parents for cats that occasionally need a change of scenery. Contact the café for details. Also, be sure to call ahead to reserve an hour with the cats and a bottomless cup of tea.
Java Cats Café, the first of its kind in Atlanta, is located in the city’s Historic Grant Park. The idea for it grew out of a research paper written by founder Hadyn Hilton, a student at Georgia State University, and its adoptable furballs come from PAWS Atlanta, the state’s oldest, no-kill shelter for dogs and cats. In Atlanta, regulations require that the cat lounge is kept separate from the food area, but you can visit just to love on the animals, or enjoy some fresh-ground coffee and then meet them. The café also sells box lunches and snacks provided by Gathering Industries, a non-profit that helps homeless individuals get back on their feet.
Lynn Coulter is owned by two rescue dogs—Molly and Miss Paws—and occasionally blogs at LynnCoulter.com. She’s also the author of three books and a freelancer who writes about travel, gardening and more. She and her husband live in metro Atlanta, where they cheer for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and spend their money on dog biscuits.