New Café Is the Cat’s Meow
Trendy business pairs kitties with caffeinated humans.
Cat Town is full of felines looking for homes.
Photos by Stephen Loewinsohn
By now you’ve heard the buzz: There’s a cat café in town, and it’s the first in the United States. What is already a hip trend in Japan and elsewhere around the world is now on our very doorstep. You can’t take your cat to tea, however. The idea is to showcase adoptable cats along with some tasty coffee and treats, but the two spaces do not comingle. You can take your coffee with you to visit the Cat Zone, but kitties never set paw into the café. A double-door corridor sets the two apart. So don’t worry about cat hair in your scone.
Adam Myatt and Ann Dunn, co-founders of Cat Town, had been noodling on an idea to help cats for some time; Myatt’s trip to Japan last year included several visits to cat cafés, and their plans advanced. Finding the right location and getting ready to open a café concurrently were challenging, but they accomplished both. Cat Town is sleek and arty on the café side, offering pour-over coffees featuring beans from Bicycle Coffee in medium, dark, and decaf—Guatemalan and Honduran beans in particular. In the Cat Zone, a handful of cats lounge while others gleefully claw, climb, leap, chase toys, and curl up against the ankles of whomever is standing near. Colorful murals featuring local scenes and, of course, cats, make the space a cheerful place to drink your beverage and pet a passing feline.
In their first weekend, six of the nine cats in the space were adopted; two were taken to a foster home, because they did not enjoy the space with so many people in it. Other cats came in, and Myatt and Dunn hope for a steady stream of adoptions henceforth. One thing is certain: “Nobody is ever going back to the shelter,” according to Myatt.
All of the cats have been neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped. Volunteers from Oakland Animal Shelter ensure that the people/cat interaction is safe and healthy for both parties. On the cat side of things, they vet the cats, so to speak, to see who will play well with others; for health reasons, very young kittens, with their underdeveloped immune systems and no vaccinations yet, will not take part in the fun at Cat Town. Look instead for “tweenagers,” cats of six months to two years of age. Much older than that, and cats are more territorial and less suited for the multi-cat space of Cat Town.
Grand opening weekend in October was “incredible,” Myatt said. Visits with kitties in the Cat Zone were booked up, and “we had to turn away” many interested visitors, he said. For now, weekends are busy, and reservations are highly encouraged. Visit the website to reserve time with the gatos; pop in and watch through the windows any time. Café hours are 8 a.m.–7 p.m. Wed.–Sun.; the Cat Zone is open 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
Cat Town Café and Adoption, 2869 Broadway, Oakland, www.CatTownCafe.com