The Casual Cat Cafe, opening mid-July in Richland Hills, will have all the trappings of a typical coffee shop (hot java, bottled drinks, cookies) with the added perk of freely roaming felines. Think of them as the cafe’s furry residents. And you’re invited to adopt any of them.
Casual Cat Cafe co-owner Cindy Pennington discovered the growing trend of cat cafes three years ago in Charlottesville, Virginia. A pet adoption store she stumbled upon let the four-legged animals roam throughout the main floor. Pennington found the concept favorable to the pop-up adoption programs commonly employed at corporate pet stores.
With traditional adoption programs, we “load the cats in a carrier,” she said. “Some of them might get sick in the car on the way to the store. Then you take them to the event and shove them in a cage. We had several cats that were so sweet at home but were mean at adoptions” because of the uncomfortable environment.
Pennington recently found a retail space in Richland Hills that fits her budget. Her plan is to partner with local animal shelters and rescue groups like Tall Tails Rescue and Transport and Richland Hills Animal Services to foster a dozen cats at a time at the cafe. When an animal is adopted, Pennington and her staff will facilitate the transfer of ownership process onsite. Adoption fees go directly to the rescue group or shelter that the feline came from.
To fund the purchase of a security system for the cafe, Pennington recently started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $3,000. She’s halfway to her goal. One loose end that needs to be filled is finding a bakery to supply cat-shaped cookies for customers.
“Every day, I get multiple emails about cats needing fostering,” Pennington said. “There’s just not enough room. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to open the cat cafe. We can put these cats in a safe environment until they get adopted.”
Pennington doesn’t plan to have many exclusions over who can visit her cafe, but there is one group that won’t be allowed in. No dogs, please.