El Gato CoffeeHouse: Houston, TX
Phone: +1 832-968-3006
Hours: T-F 15-18:00, Sa/Su 10-18/17, Closed M
Entrance Fee: $10/adults, $9/students, $7/kids
GatoMania: Review of El Gato Coffee House Cat Cafe
It wasn't my usual cat cafe visit.
To be fair, it was an unusual day. First, we visited with a friend from Germany, yet another convert into our crazy-for-cats lifestyle. Second, it was my birthday, which always helps infuse every activity with a festive air.
But mostly, it was because El Gato is a truly stand-out cat cafe- a gorgeous space filled with friendly cats and caring people.
El Gato Coffeehouse is located in the historic Houston Heights neighborhood. As we pulled into the parking lot, I was surprised to see a food truck next to the cat cafe, but delighted to learn it sold a variety of coffee and tea drinks, as well as baked goods available to all even if you don't intend to enter the cat room. Later, I learned the food truck is less about the hip food movement and more to address the city regulations that require food and drink be completely separate from the kitties.
After ordering our beverages, we stepped inside the colorful and beautifully renovated Victorian 'cat cottage'. It's a bright and modern space that feels completely inviting.
The staff are equally lovely and welcoming. After checking in, we were led into the cat lounge by Angela, a friendly cat staffer who introduced me to Sweetie, who is not just sweet, but sassy and rocks a very unique look.
Then, I met Renee, the owner who gave me the scoop on El Gato. They opened in April, 2017 and had just started to gain loyal customers and steady traffic when Hurricane Harvey hit in August. Houston became a virtual ghost town and El Gato's business suffered greatly.
After making some short term adjustments, like reducing opening hours, things have bounced back stronger than ever. She and her team have successfully facilitated an amazing 114 adoptions in just one years time, via their nationally known rescue partner, Friends for Life.
Renee is not just a kind-hearted cat lover, but a smart business owner, dedicated not only to rescuing kitties, but providing patrons a quality experience. I was excited to hear she is experimenting with lots of activities, trying a variety of events like cat yoga, movie night and book club to keep customers returning for fun beyond cats alone.
Not that you would need anything more. El Gato's cats (between 14 and 19 in residence) are a delightful combination of shy, social and playful. In addition to Sweetie, some of my favorites included Inky, a large black floofer, Jean Baptise, a tuxedo and Addison the calico. Renee shared their stories with me as we moved around the room, stopping for each kitty.
Between conversation and fawning over felines, the hour went by very quickly. We bid our farewells and promised to stay in touch.
Big thanks to Renee and the entire El Gato team for creating an unusually paw-some experience for humans and kitties alike!
Date Visited: 3/15/18