The Cat Cafes of Tennessee

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Tennessee is a beautiful place, and after my travels across the Volunteer state, I’ve become a huge fan. So much so, that I’m seriously considering moving there in the next few years.

Having four outstanding cat cafes on offer certainly helped influence that decision.

They are very different from one another, but all share a deep passion and commitment to animal welfare and finding forever homes for Tennessee’s forgotten kitties. But they haven’t forgotten their human counterparts, offering a generous helping of southern hospitality served up by some of the nicest people on the planet.

Naughty but Nice:  Review of Naughty Cat Cafe

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I don’t know what it is, but lately all the cat cafes I’ve been visiting have had serious game.

Of course, they are all managed by animal lovers with a passion for rescue, adoption and TNR, but the high standard for the facilities and quality of food and drink has left me seriously impressed.

Take Naughty Cat Cafe. Owned and operated by Whitney and Heath, every detail of this brand new cafe (opened in March, 2019) has been thoughtfully and carefully considered.

From the moment we stepped through the door, everything had a ‘wow’ factor. From the genuinely friendly greeting, to the gorgeously appointed cafe and high quality beverages, to the cat-centric features in the lounge, Naughty Cat stands out as a cat cafe that checks all the boxes.

Whitney and Heath have an amazing backstory. They are both animal lovers with a history of volunteerism- Heath as a fosterer (and ship’s captain!) and Whitney in shelters. When they moved to the Chattanooga area, an injury sidelined their farming aspirations, but they saw an opportunity to put their feline knowledge and experiences to good use by opening a cat cafe.

They have succeeded in creating a wonderful environment for cats and humans alike. Fresh, spacious and full of light, I loved how there were so many different places to find a quiet, comfortable spot and kitty cuddle. Sanitation is A+ and with an average of 29 cats on the premises, that is no small task!

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With so many cats to meet, I had a busy hour working my way through the lounge. Some of my favorites included Nigel, a handsome chunk of ginger, Karen Smith, a petite tabby, Ritsy, a TNR turnaround and silky calico Envy and Blue a blue pointed stunner that looked like a pedigreed cat.

With focus on the felines, I didn’t have time to partake in a coffee until the end. Naughty Cat features local roaster Mad Priest and their own blend, which was fabulous. There are plenty of food and beverage choices to give you enough energy for a monster kitty cuddle session.

As we departed for our ten hour drive back to Kansas City, I found myself in the brightest of spirits. Naughty Cat Cafe elevates the entire cat cafe genre by offering a top notch experience for humans and kitties alike. Make it a priority to visit them soon!

Feel the Music:  Review of Mewsic Kitty Cafe

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A cat cafe is a themed concept, but sometimes these feline emporiums offer an additional theme based upon the city, region or area.

Mewsic Kitty Cafe is amongst the coolest themed cat cafes I’ve had the privilege of visiting.

Nashville’s famed moniker is Music City, owing to its long history in music publishing and as a crossroads for all types of music, not just country but also bluegrass, jazz and gospel. Mewsic Kitty taps into those entertainment roots with a honky tonk vibe- neon, a Johnny Cash mural and musical instruments as decor- all serve to liven your experience. Of course, like any good speakeasy, there are also a few dark corners for you to brood while sharpening your songwriting skills.

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Every detail is perfection- right down to the microphone stand that doubles as the check-in station. I was completely charmed.

We came during a rare slow hour and Jessica, our kind host, offered a personal introduction to all the cats. I love hearing the backstory on the kitties and Jessica obliged by providing all of their names (feline derivations of famed singers and musicians like Cat Benetar, Kitty Pickler, Minnie Ripurrton and Yoko Meowno) and details on their history.

Opened in April, 2018 by Maegan Phan and in partnership with Nashville Cat Rescue, Mewsic Kitty had facilitated 115 adoptions in just one year’s time, a huge accomplishment! There were seventeen cats in residence the day of my visit. Some of my favorites were handsome Russian Blue Castillo, Pete, a slinky ginger with the best poses, and pretty fair lady Grace. They were energetic and full of personality which made for an entertaining and lighthearted hour.

We were so infatuated with the the cats that we failed to fully appreciate the cafe side of things, but everything looked wonderful with coffee by Bongo Java served with a variety of gluten-free and vegan baked goods.

Between the fun environment, great conversation with Jessica and loads of the kitty love, we were on top of the world by the time we departed. If you are in town for the full Nashville experience, I dare say it won’t be complete until you have checked Mewsic Kitty off your list.

Feel the Buzz:  Review of Catfeine Cat Cafe

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Just down the road from Nashville, is Murfreesboro. Best known for it’s Civil War history and local university, Middle Tennessee State, a new feature will surely be added to this list- Catfeine Cat Cafe.

A beautifully appointed space that belongs in the pages of an interior design magazine, Catfeine is a gem of a cat cafe brought to life by Taura and Curtis Boyd. Originally from Alabama, these cat-loving professional musicians eventually made the move to Nashville, rescuing many fur babies along the way.

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After watching an episode of Shark Tank, the dream to open a cat cafe was hatched- and after much hard work and planning, finally came to fruition on April 5, 2019. In addition to Taura and Curtis, they have staffed the cafe with such kind and compassionate cat lovers that the whole place feels like the warm and welcoming home of a favorite friend- if said friend’s home was also filled with 15 cuddly cats!

Team Catfeine are definitely tops, but once you enter the cat lounge, it’s impossible not to fall in love with their friendly felines. In partnership with rescue Puurrfect Paws, Catfeine has some of the sweetest kitties around, a testament to their care and socialization they receive at the cafe. My favorites included Nala, a gorgeous girl with ticked fur reminiscent of an Abyssinian, Cheddar, a playful ginger kitten, and his sister, Clover, a darling tortoiseshell.

Clover was feeling a bit shy around the other cats, but made herself right at home in the warm lap of any nearby human companion, snuggling her way into the hearts of all the patrons that day, mine included.

Over the course of the our kitty-love filled hour, we also engaged in some great conversation with Taura, her staff and the other patrons in attendance. It became clear that Taura is the heart and soul of Catfeine, and that the cafe’s kind, compassionate and thoughtful atmosphere mirrors her personality.

By the time we departed, cup of coffee in hand, I was practically buzzing with cheerfulness.

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When considering the beautiful surroundings, outstanding hospitality and great coffee, a visit to Catfeine is surely a can’t-miss highlight of any trip to (or through) Murfreesboro. Prioritize a visit ASAP!

Cat Heroes:  Review of The Catio

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I’ve visited hundreds of cat cafes over the past two years, but learned early on that these weren’t just one-off interactions, but rather, I was becoming part of a community.

Part of joining this cat cafe family meant that I’m on the inside track for discovering new cafes. While chatting with Taura at Catfeine just down the road in Murfreesboro, she mentioned a cat cafe that had just opened in Nashville called The Catio.

*record scratch*

We had just visited Mewsic Kitty, but this was news to me.

The next day, we were at Catio’s front door when they opened.

Anna, the owner greeted us and soon we were deep in cat cafe conversation. When it comes to cat cafe people, Anna is the gold standard for compassion and living your values. After years of fostering and caring for community cats, she decided to combine a love for animal rescue. veganism and her East Nashville neighborhood by opening The Catio.

The cafe is separated into two sides: the bakery and the cat lounge. The bakery is light and spacious with lots of greenery as Anna is also working to include cat safe plants in her gift shop. The bakery case was filled with delicious looking baked goods and I chose a vegan Philly Cheesesteak ‘hot pocket’ to accompany my Panther drip coffee, while my partner ordered a cookie to go with his latte.

Excitedly, we made our way into the cat lounge, a calm and relaxing space with colorful murals and plenty of kitty toys. We spent the next hour communing with eight fabulous felines available for adoption through shelter partner Nashville Cat Rescue. Anna focuses on hard to place cats, and there were all manner of personalities on display that day. They included sweet and playful kitties like Mac, an adorable black ball of floof that wanted to chase strings; intense types like Farquad, a Russian Blue lookalike with a bold stare, and energetic kitties like Tucker, a curious young tabby that jumped into my chair to check out my coffee.

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Then, there were the shy babies, like gentle Camille, a long-haired orange and white recovering from her time on the streets and Jennie, a quiet tabby with gorgeous fur meant to be petted!

There were a steady stream of patrons in the cat lounge and I found the smiles and camaraderie surrounded me like a warm hug. It reminded why I continue to seek out new cat cafes all over the world.

Thanks, Anna, for creating the Catio community and inviting us to be a part of it!

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- 218 in 29 countries so far! Find her at theneighborscat.com or on Instagram/ Facebook/Twitter @catcafeviews.