The cat cafes in the western United States serve up some of the warmest service in the world.
Americans are known for being friendly and animal lovers tend to be compassionate souls, but the owners of La Gattara in Phoenix, Denver Cat Company in Denver and Tinker’s Cat Cafe in Salt Lake City are in a kindness league of their own. providing patrons with unforgettable experiences. I found my visits to be downright magical.
Great cities to visit in their own right, adding a stop by these feline emporiums will surely be the highlight of any trip.
La Gattara Cat Lounge is sure to get you smiling.
From the cheer-inducing colors to the friendly staff to the sweet kitties, it's a happiness boost everyone can enjoy.
We visited on a bright and sunny Saturday with Phoenix relatives who had never been to a cat cafe before, but were excited to see what it was all about. While everyone wandered the room getting to know the felines, I chatted with Amanda, a warm and welcoming cat staffer. She caught me up on the cat cafe, actually a cat lounge since they are not set up to serve food/beverage quite yet. The owner, Melissa, a dedicated and experienced cat rescuer, fosterer and advocate, worked with famed stylist Kate Benjamin, of design company Hauspanther to create the cat playroom (phase one), while the phase two will include a coffee bar and expanded boutique.
I was overjoyed to learn that La Gattara, open about one year, has facilitated 155 adoptions (as of April, 2018) via shelter partners Kneading Kitty's Rescue and All About Animals, a testament to their successful rescue partnerships.
Normally ranging between ten and twenty felines, there were eighteen fur balls in residence the day we visited. With the exception of Charlie Chaplin, the resident cat, all were available for adoption, including Nancy, a sweet and sassy girl, gorgeous blue-eyed Fallon and my favorite, Barney, a black and white short-haired imp!
The set-up is definitely geared towards maximizing cat interaction, so for those of us that live to play with kitties, La Gattara delivers in spades. Between kitty love and conversation with charming Amanda, it was a lighthearted outing that left us grinning long afterwards.
Those of us who love coffee anxiously await the cafe phase taking shape, but in the meantime, if you are looking for that perfect spirit lifter sans caffeine, look no further than La Gattara!
Date Visited: 3/26/18
One of the highlights of my cat cafe travels has been meeting amazing people from all over the world. Most of the time, these visits are fun, yet straightforward encounters with a fellow cat lovers, but sometimes, I get really lucky and make a friend for life.
Leila is one of those people. She has had an incredible life journey, including a law career, and that was before she even opened Denver Cat Company!
I was in town for a conference and had the fortune of visiting on a weekday morning before my afternoon flight. Located in the eclectic Berkeley neighborhood, this Mile High City cafe fits the vibe with a colorful and cheerful interior filled with books and art. Denver Cat Company is spacious, clean and inviting with plenty of seating to kick back and relax. The cover fee is $8 and there is no time constraint, delightfully rare in the world of cat cafes.
Arriving just as they opened, we hit the jackpot of fun as the cats were lively and Leila was able to converse at length.
She described how fortunate she has been to develop a loyal base of supporters that have helped her fulfill her mission to find forever homes for Denver’s rescue cats. She also has a tight-knit team that works at the cafe and the spirit of camaraderie between patrons and staffers is infectious!
Speaking of felines, there were so many sweet fur babies roaming the room that I had a hard time taking pictures since I just wanted to scoop them up for cuddles. My favorites included black beauties Jada and Marcie. Stunning Foxy, with her white face, bright amber eyes and black nose that stood out like an exclamation point. Then, there was cuddly Caldwell, who climbed into my lap and also my heart.
Over the course of two hours, we alternated between playing with the cats, visiting with Leila, taking photos and observing the traffic of regulars coming in for their daily coffee and kitty fix.
I couldn’t help being completely charmed by my visit to Denver Cat Company. Of course, Leila and the cats have much to do with that, but the cafe itself is so warm and welcoming that its easy to forget everything just be swept up in the happiness.
Do yourself a favor and prioritize a visit to Denver Cat Company. You might just find friends for life- feline and human.
Tinker Player Kitten Cat: Tinker’s Cat Cafe, Salt Lake City
When I visit a cat cafe, I always love the cats, but sometimes I also fall in love with the cats.
It doesn’t happen every time, but it did when I visited Tinker’s Cat Cafe.
First, Tator Tot climbed into my lap, which, when a kitty does that I always feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Then, seconds later, Eeyore ambled over and decided to pet my nose. Pure cat cafe magic.
It’s a tough job* reviewing the world’s cat cafes, but someone’s got to do it.
One month before, my significant other, the unparalleled chocolate milk connoisseur A Foolz Errand, pitched the idea of a weekend in the Salt Lake City area. Tinker’s remained as one of the few western US cat cafes on my list, so we made our plans for a quick getaway to scenic Utah. Comprising of a one-day-three-state road trip, loads of dairy deliciousness and feline fun, it turned out to be a glorious weekend to remember.
Priorities clearly in order, our first stop was Tinker’s.
Located in the Central City area, known for its art galleries, intimate indie music venues and gastropubs, I was loving the vibe of the neighborhood even before we stepped foot in the door.
Things just got better. Lisa, the owner, was the first to greet us on the cafe side. A warm and caring animal lover, she is one of those unbelievably kind people that I have been so fortunate to meet in my cat travels. While the barista fixed my coffee, Lisa and I chatted about all things cat cafe, a topic where I NEVER run out of things to say and Lisa generously obliged me.
Tinker’s is truly a community affair, and I was delighted to hear Salt Lake City was instrumental in this cafe’s opening, providing assistance and small business support. A keen advocate for local consumerism, Lisa is partnered with several neighborhood vendors with delicious pastries courtesy of City Cakes, Pastry Arts and Les Madeleines, with coffee by Rimini.
The kitties are local too, specially selected by Tinker’s shelter partner, Salt Lake County Animal Services. They are doing a stellar job because all of these cats were little love bugs!
Inside the cat lounge, it was a happy scene. Natural light filled the room, an immaculately clean and comfortable space that just feels relaxing. We were the only ones in the room and the cats began to check us out, first, an extended loving moment with Eeyore and later, the aforementioned Tator Tot/Eeyore cuddle session.
I think I was floating on air after that, but did manage to make the acquaintance of Tinker’s four resident cats Sammy, Topal, James Dean and Florida, as well as other adoptees including handsome tabby George Clooney, a stunning black and ginger tortie named Harp, raven long haired Poppy and belly rub loving Ragu.
My visit was incredibly heartwarming, an experience that I’m certain is an everyday occurance at Tinker’s. With a lovely & cheerful environment, kind & caring people and sweet & loving cats, how could one not fall in love?
Prioritize a visit ASAP!
*Let’s be clear, I don’t earn a penny doing this. My quest to visit every cat cafe in the world can best be described as a ‘labor of love’. That I can help advance animal welfare in some small way, while meeting amazing cat people and promoting these hard-working small businesses is rewarding and fills me with gratitude.
The Neighbor’s Cat is the alter ego of Paula LaBine, an itinerant cat lover who writes about cat cafes, rescue/adoption & TNR, and has been featured in Miau Magazine, Katzenworld Blog, The Catnip Times and Taiwan Scene. She is currently on a quest to visit every cat café in the world- 217 in 29 countries so far! Find her at theneighborscat.com or on Instagram/ Facebook/Twitter @catcafeviews.