The Cattification of Blue Cat Cafe
On East Cesar Chavez in downtown Austin is a small blue and mostly unassuming building. This particular building has some rather interesting artwork consisting of a blue cat wrapped in a purple robe that is dotted with yellow flowers. Next to it is a pair of grey cats, one of which has a yellow/white laser beam emitting from its eyes. It is very fitting of downtown Austin style and amazingly fun. But as fantastic as this artwork is, what this place is and what it does is real story.
On February 17, 2015 Rebecca Grey launched a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of opening a “cat cafe” which she aptly named Blue Cat Cafe. With a goal of $60,000, the campaign finished slight north of that with $62,553 with a further 5k donated directly to the business. With money in hand and some not so mild determination, she found a nice spot at East Cesar Chavez.
A Small Tour
The entrance was walled off from the rest of the cafe to prevent escapee cats. From my own experience with my two cats, I think a couple of net armed guards should be manning the doors, but to be fair, my apartment is not nearly as nice as this cat heaven.
Also part of the entrance is a small store.
Building codes being what they are, food is cook in the food truck which you can see in the top left. And as you can see, benches dot the area in front of the cafe should you wish to eat outside or wait for a table inside.
With some design help from cattification expert Kate Benjamin, the interior was transformed into the quintessential cat home. I’ll go over more about everything you see here a bit later, but this is the marvelous inside!
The Cats in the Cafe
To those callous people who don’t see a reason to build a cat cafe other than because it’s just a cool idea, Rebecca has a couple of other great reasons!! As stated on her Kickstarter
We believe true “cat haters” are few and far between and that the bottleneck to putting homeless kittens in loving homes is simply more “face-to-whisker” time.
Also along those lines is the idea that cats are mean spirited and will try to bit/claw at any readily available person. To be fair, for some, that is true. But, there is something that we can do to lessen that. One of the most important things that a shelter can do, other than rescuing the little guys, is to get the cats/dogs ready for adoption. The best way to do this is to provide human contact. Basically a pet that hides in the corner of a cage is less likely to get adopted than one who meows/barks at you as you walk by. Blue Cat Cafe facilitates this by providing a foster home were the cats can learn to socialize with their human friends and thus, become more “adoptable”.
On staff is Jacqueline who acts as the liaison to Austin Humane Society. Among other duties, she helps make the adoption process as smooth and quick as can be.
I like to point out here how awesome Austin Humane Society and Austin Pets Alive are. Both do amazing working helping animals in need find a good home. In fact, my two cats Louis and Clark came from each place respectively. Yes I named them after that Louis and Clark. And yes I knew it’s spelled Lewis. 🙂
Moving on, each of the cats in the cafe fall into 3 different categories, each indicated by what color their collar is.
- Blue means that they are permanent residents.
- Red means that the cat has been adopted and is waiting for the adoption process to be finalized.
- Green means that the little one is currently looking for a home.
Outside of finding homes for the fur balls, the cafe provides a number of other services, from helping you make your home cat friendly to a “Tubby Kitten Boot Camp”. (For those whom self indulged in too much cat-nip) Yes I know cat-nip isn’t food. Roll with it people!
Since I’m sure many people are wondering, how is this place kept clean? Well, the litter situation is kept behind a mural which the cats can access through to small cat holes. Air purifier run all day in the litter room to ensure that the rooms air stays fresh and that the smell is kept to bare minimum. I can attest to how well the filter work, as had I not read that the litter was located behind the wall, I never would have guessed. You can actually see the room and the filters in the above picture.
Another nice touch is that each table has a couple of lint rollers for removing any hair you might and probably will acquire whilst visiting.
And finally, the monies. Like any business, the cafe has to make money to survive. To help offset the cost of having some 15 cats on site at any given time, a small cover fee of 5 dollars is required to get in. Though, The Lady and I only paid 3 when we visited. I suspect that The Lady’s fame is spreading and thus she is getting special price.
You can find out lots more at their website… here!
Enough of that, onto our visit!
Cats, The Lady, and The Lady’s Hot Co-Co
The Lady and I arrived at the cafe a little before 12. The place, as you can tell from the picture above, already had small crowd. Before entering the cafe we paid the cover fee and signed a waiver. Because of those pesky food regulations, the way you order food is a bit different. After you place your order with a waiter, you are given a buzzer. Once the buzzer goes off, you can pick up your food from a window that connects to the outside.
There wasn’t any open tables inside so we opted for the plastic couch like thing.
Once we sat down, a waitress came by and took our order. I wasn’t hungry, but The Lady ordered a cup of Hot Chocolate. You can find their menu here, which consist of Vegan style food. After the waitress departed, we got up and wandered around the area.
In the center of the cafe is a tree wrapped with rope whose branches play home to a couple of cat beds. If you look along the walls, you can see wooden shelving. This shelving extends around most of the face giving the cats a way of escaping those grubby hands for an extra bit of privacy.
A number of logs are hung from the ceiling allowing the cats a bird’s-eye view of the goings on.
These guys even have their own sky-box!
The Lady and I wondered around, taking joy in finding cats hidden in the most unexpected of place. After a while, The Lads Hot Chocolate was ready, so we went back to our couch/table. On a couch opposite our table was another couple, Shannon and Kirk…or Kurt. Probably Kurk… Anyways, Shannon had located a store owned copy of Exploding Kittens. A purr-fect(yeah I went there) game for a cat cafe if ever there was one.
We played a round and chatted about random things. After we finish, Shannon and Kurk went on their way. Before departing a few minutes later The Lady and I took one last look around.
Finally able to pull The Lady away, we headed home.
I tip my hat to the many people who work to provide foster homes for animals of all walks of life. While the idea of a cat cafe is not new to the world, this is one of only two in the US. And I can say that it is unequivocally, awesome! The staff was very polite and quick to help and while we didn’t try any of the food, many others seemed to be enjoying the culinary delights. Most importantly though, the cats looked happy and the services provided by the cafe are amazing.
So, is the idea of a cat cafe silly? Perhaps, but I promise you will enjoy the experience if you give it a try. So go ahead and stop by, sit down and enjoy some coffee, get some work done, pet a cat or two or three…or 15. Then maybe, just maybe, take one home 🙂
To view the rest of the photos, click here
Or click-through the album below.
Thanks for reading!by