Cat cafés are a relatively new development. The first official cat café, Cat Flower Garden in Taipei, Taiwan, opened less than a quarter-century ago in 1998. Since then hundreds have opened worldwide. They are particularly popular in Japan and the United States and are becoming more widespread throughout the globe.
Each country’s model of a cat café varies a little bit. For most North American cat cafés, the goal is to find new homes for shelter cats. In other countries, café cats are often permanent residents instead. These cat-filled cafés and lounges are particularly attractive to those who love cats but are unable to have any of their own because of property rules, allergic family members, or simply a lack of time.
While cat cafés have made great strides in popularity here in the U.S., the recent economic downturn has made it more difficult for them to continue their work. Some cat cafés in the Sacramento area have managed to keep their doors open, but others have temporarily shuttered their establishments to avoid having to close completely.
Whether you are looking for a new cat to share your home and life with or you are a cat lover whose circumstances prevent you from getting a feline family member, a cat café may be the solution you’ve been looking for.
Currently in Business
Cat cafés in the United States are typically focused on getting cats adopted rather than on turning a large profit. The majority of the income from cat cafés in the United States is typically funneled right back into either caring for cats or keeping the business running, and little is left over to provide a cushion. Covid-19 related restrictions drastically reduced the number of patrons businesses have been able to serve, especially food-related businesses, which further cuts into their budget. Despite the challenges facing small businesses during a pandemic, two cat cafés near Sacramento have managed to keep their doors open for business.
1266 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
KitTea in nearby San Fransisco is still welcoming a limited number of guests to visit their establishment. Their comfortable cat lounge is a great place to relax and enjoy some friendly feline company for 50 minutes at a time. The lounge employs between 20-30 cats to cuddle and play with, several adoptable cats along with 14 purrmanent residents who not only provide cuddles and companionship to the humans who visit, but also help comfort and socialize new cats when they arrive at the shop.
Customers can either book a 50 minute shared session or a private session for just themselves and their friends and family for either 50 or 110 minutes. Up to 12 individuals can attend private sessions, though until pandemic restrictions ease up all parties should be part of the same quarantine group. KitTea also has Mewvie nights, allowing patrons to enjoy the cats for a longer time while viewing a movie together.
Under normal circumstances, KitTea offers a variety of crafted Kyotan teas to sip on, imported directly from their partner farm in Kyoto, and tasty pastries to snack on. The company has ceased the majority of its food and drink offerings for the time being, but customers are provided with a refreshing Revive kombucha at the end of their session.
Mini Cat Town
2200 Eastridge Loop
San Jose, CA 95121
Mini Cat Town in the Eastridge Center of San Jose is a cat lounge rather than a cat café, and they are somewhat unique in their vision. While the majority of cat cafés and lounges are focused on finding homes for mostly adult rescue cats, Mini Cat Town focuses on saving the most at-risk feline population — neonatal kittens. Kittens who are old enough for adoption are introduced to the lounge area where they get valuable socialization while waiting to meet their new forever family.
The nonprofit group works with several shelters in the area, taking in young and orphaned kittens. As Mini Cat Town is focused on the youngest kittens, their charges are often too small to be adopted when they first come to the rescue. They are often looking for people to foster found kittens until they are old enough to be safely socialized. Mini Cat Town provides foster families with all the food, supplies, and health care that the kittens will need to thrive until they are old enough to head to the adoption floor.
Temporarily on Hold
Covid related restrictions have been particularly difficult on food and drink-related businesses. Fortune magazine reported that over ten percent of all U.S. restaurants have permanently closed since March of 2020. For many of these businesses, including some cat cafés, it was prudent to put their services on hold until restrictions were lifted. Although these establishments have currently suspended visits to their cafés, most are still doing their utmost to find forever homes for displaced felines.
Bradshaw Animal Cat Café
3839 Bradshaw Rd
Sacramento, CA 95827
The popularity of cat cafés inspired the volunteers and staff of Sacramento County’s Bradshaw Animal Shelter to set up a small cat café right within the shelter itself. In the past, the café has provided free coffee and tea, free wi-fi, and a comfortable environment to get to know some of the shelter’s adult cats. Adult cats were showcased in the Bradshaw Animal Cat Café because they are traditionally more difficult to adopt out than kittens.
At the moment, the room is satisfying its original purpose as a habitat for adoptable adult cats, sans the coffee, but it is expected to reopen as a café again once it is safe to do so.
454 F Street
Lincoln, CA 95648
FieldHaven Marketplace is a thrift store just 30 minutes north of downtown Sacramento. Its mission is to raise funds to benefit the FieldHaven Feline Center, a non-profit organization devoted to the welfare of cats. Although currently converted into a display area, Champy’s Catfe, just inside the entrance, is typically the perfect way to end a visit to FieldHaven Marketplace.
Once restrictions have eased, patrons will once again be able to enjoy the companionship of friendly, adoptable cats and kittens while sipping on a cup of coffee or tea. Customers at Champy’s Catfe are encouraged to utilize the free wi-fi and even to bring their own coffee to the Catfe if they like.
The Dancing Cat
702 E. Julian
San Jose, CA 95112
The Dancing Cat in San José offers patrons the opportunity to interact with up to ten adoptable cats for sessions of an hour each. Not only are customers treated to the company of friendly adult cats, but a large art table with supplies encourages them to be creative as well.
Although their main lounge and café area is closed to the public while Covid restrictions are in place, these dedicated cat-lovers continue to facilitate adoptions. Arrangements to adopt cats that are currently in foster homes can be made via Zoom, and cats that are currently housed at The Dancing Cat can be introduced to qualified adopters by appointment on Fridays and Saturdays between noon and 5 pm.
While it’s true that current restrictions make it more difficult to run a cat café or lounge, the founders, staff, and volunteers at these facilities are determined to make a difference in the lives of cats. If you want to help ensure the health and welfare of the cats in these facilities as well, there are many ways you can show your support. You can visit the open cat cafés, or you can donate to the organizations, volunteer with them, or in some cases, purchase merchandise.
If you have recently adopted a new cat or kitten, The Comforted Kitty can help make the transition easier. Book us now to check in on your new pet when you are busy at work or to ensure that they are healthy and content when you are away for a day or two.