My Day At A Cat Cafe
Ever since I heard a cat cafe was coming to Los Angeles, I was overwhelmed with excitement. Like the rest of the late-20-somethings my age, I watched Girls and saw how amazing the cat cafes of Japan looked. So when I heard there would be a small venue filled with coffee and cats on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, I awaited its opening with bated breathe.
Then I forgot about it. Of course.
It took a year for them to open, and I completely forgot about this amazingly unique venue coming to my town. So, you can imagine my excitement when my friend, Zoe, introduced me to her roommate, Kate, who worked at none-other than that cat cafe itself: Crumbs and Whiskers.
Once Kate found out what I did for a living and how much I loved kitties (I have two of my own), she instantly invited us for a visit. Thus, my tale begins.
I entered the cafe at 10 minutes till 5:15 p.m., as recommended. I was greeted by Kate, who had me sign a liability waiver (we are dealing with live animals, after all), and I ordered my drink of choice: a mocha latte.
Once 5:15 on the dot hit, we were shuffled through the glass doors and greeted by the manager. He went over all the rules with us, pretty standard stuff, for safety and happiness of the cats. Things like: don't wake any kitties up, don't pick them up unless they are on your lap or on a seat with you, don't steal any cats (true story).
The cats, as I heard from Kate, are most active in the evening. Even at 5:15, half of them were snoozing soundly. Some were new or shy and still getting acclimated, so we were given a heads up that we may only see about half of the cafe cat residents.
First up, Hazel. As the manager gave us the run-down of the rules, he introduced us to Hazel, the resident den mother. Not missing her cue, she immediately jumped onto the counter to greet us and let us know that she was queen bee.
Once we were released to frolic with felines for 70 minutes, I got a good look at the space. The venue itself, a long, rectangular, space filled with baskets and boxes of faux fur blankets, large faux fur rugs and blankets to lounge on, with or without kitties, and a plethora of toys for playtime.
For the next 70 minutes, I sat, petted, and played with a handful of precious and precocious kitties, learning the stories of each, as well as of the owner. She was a young woman who had visited a cat cafe in Thailand and fell in love with the idea of opening one. So, she set out to open one in Washington D.C., and then Los Angeles.
As the staff walked around the cafe and saw mutual interest between human and feline, they would give you some backstory on your new friend: age, gender, time at the cafe, personality traits. Pro tip: cats love sleeping with fur-filled baskets.
Over the course of an hour, more kitties began to stir and play with the excited patrons. Well, except for this gal. She just continued to take on more lavish sleep stretches as our hour progressed.
As I wandered around the cafe, meeting various kitties and folks, I discovered more unique and endearing facts about the venue. Every cat is adoptable. Some have already been adopted and are waiting to go to their forever homes, but the majority of the kitties you see there are waiting to find their purrfect family. The turn-around for most kitties is only a few weeks, and, even with the quick adoption turnaround, the facility does their due diligence to interview potential adopters and make sure the cat would mesh with them and their home (i.e. some kitties need to be the only kitty in the home and some kitties need siblings).
This little chalkboard almost made me cry. As Los Angeles adamantly moves toward becoming a No-Kill city, I felt so much adoration and appreciation for this company for saving so many deserving and delightful kitties. I only wish more cities would jump on the No-Kill bandwagon.
This litter box was also a sassy, tongue-in-cheek addition to the cafe. You can write your ex's name in it and at the end of the month, the cat's will, well, use it as nature intended.
Overall, I had an exhilarating time, and I can't wait to go back and support them as much as I can. Really, I highly recommend. I had so much fun.
But maybe not as much fun as this guy...