Newsday Tuesday — Adventures at a Cat Cafe

I’ve researched cat cafes, I’ve written about them, I’ve talked about someday visiting one. Finally I did it! While at the Cat Writers’ Conference in Houston last week, we were treated to an outing to El Gato Cat Cafe. What a lovely experience.

The cats and a gift shop with everything “cat” are housed in a charming bright yellow cottage. There are double doors leading into the cat area to keep cats from escaping. But what cat would want to escape? They have all sorts of climbing and hiding apparatus, windows through which to watch birds and other activity, tunnels, bridges, cozy beds, and toys. They also have people visiting and a caretaker who sits with them during visiting sessions to answer questions and, I’m sure, to help give the cats a sense of safety and familiarity. She also happens to be a vet tech and she observes the cats for any health issues.

As guests, you can interact with the cats, observe them, photograph them, and even pet those who will allow it. And this is important because the cats are all up for adoption and the patrons at a cat cafe help to socialize them–calm them, help those that are skittish to feel more comfortable around loving people. I’m sure that many of the cats have chilling stories to tell.

One thing I observed is how healthy all of the cats look. They must be getting great nutrition and veterinarian care as well as a loving temporary home.

These photos are of some of the cats at the El Gato Cat Cafe. While there, I also bought a pair of kitty earrings and a sweater with cats on it. I do believe some of the others in our group helped to support the cat cafe through purchases as well. And the gal who runs it is absolutely charming.

So where’s the “cafe” element of this cat cafe? Out in the parking lot. It’s a food truck operated by equally friendly people. They serve many interesting coffee drinks, other types of refreshment and a few food items.

Several of us signed books in the parking lot at the cat cafe each wearing a pair of kitty ears that had been handed out. We met some of the neighbors and got to talk about our books and make a few sales.

There are a few cat cafes in nearby cities here in Southern CA that I keep saying I’m going to visit. Now I’m definitely going to do so and I’ll write about them as well. Would love to hear/read about your cat cafe experiences as well.

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