The Adorable Story of Tacoma’s 1st Cat Cafe Get Catffeinated
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Have you heard of cat cafes? They originated in Japan, but they’ve become a worldwide phenomenon where customers can enjoy their favorite latte while surrounded by furry, adorable, adoptable cats. For residents in Tacoma, Washington, there happens to be one in town, and it has one of the best origin stories around. Catffeinated, located on 2515 Sixth Avenue, features an enclosed cat lounge and a separate cafe area with its baristas and store. The vision all began when Kristi Martin and Melanie Weaver met in 2011, during an MBA program at Pacific Lutheran University. Martin, a major cat person, really enjoyed her first visit to a cat cafe in Washington, D.C. “I fell in love with the model,” she told the News Tribune. Meanwhile, Weaver wasn’t so much of a cat person. But despite the fact that both women have full-time jobs in the health care industry, they were just as excited about developing a cat cafe business plan and crunching the numbers. After all, the public appeal was already there, Martin said. “Two cat cafes in Seattle are doing really well, so people were already familiar with the idea. We are the first and only here in Tacoma.” At Catffeinated, visitors can either watch cats from behind the windows or reserve time in the cat lounge, where 6–8 cats sleep and play. It’s easy to reserve with their online reservation system, which books
hourlong sessions in the cat lounge for $10. Today, they even have a membership that costs $15 a month for one hourly visit and any 12-ounce coffee or tea valued up to $5 per month.
Catffeinated sounds great for humans, but what about the cats?
The cat lounge’s large, custom-built structure gives the cats plenty of space and opportunity to rest and play whenever they choose. Thankfully, the volume of visitors is no bother to the cats due to their young age and “kitten energy,” according to Martin and Weaver. Also, a “cat guardian” is always there to ensure all the cats’ needs are met, including food and water. The cats come from the Auburn Valley Humane Society, where they are screened for temperament. After all, not all cat personalities would be happy with the new cat- and human-filled environment. “We do want the right personality for a cat to do well in this environment,” says Martin. Before arriving at Catffeinated, every cat is neutered/spayed, microchipped, vaccinated, dewormed, and given a flea treatment. All adopted cats also come with a coupon for a free, full medical check-up by a local vet. That way, the cats at Catffeinated are super easy to adopt! According to Julia Sauer, the Humane Society’s director of public services, the cat cafe actually helps potential cat parents spend more time with the cats before choosing their new furry friend. “Typically, in a shelter, you’d get 15 minutes with your pet of choice.” The cat lounge offers visitors an extended opportunity to see how cats interact with people and other cats as well. Six visitors are able to stay in the cat lounge at any one time.
Even after the pandemic, Catffeinated has survived and is open to new customers! If you’re nearby or have a cat cafe in town, give it a try. In the cafe area, patrons can order capurrccinos, meowchiatos, hisspressos, similar cat-themed drinks, and even alcohol. If you stay long enough, you might even become a cat person, like former combat medic Weaver has: “I’m actually loving the cats. It’s been a great turnaround.” That’s a fur-tastic love story if we’ve ever heard one.
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