Gem City Catfe: Dayton, OH, USA
Address: 1513 E 5th St, Dayton, OH 45403
Phone: (937) 949-9170
Hours: M-F 7-20:00; Sat 8-21:00; Sun 10-18:00
Entrance Fee: $10/hour
Precious Kitty: Review of Gem City Catfe
I loved visiting Gem City Catfe so much that I felt a twinge of jealousy when I left. I was envious of those lucky Dayton residents who literally have a gem of cat cafe and coffee shop in their hometown.
My trip to Gem City (also, a nickname of Dayton) had been months in the making. I had exchanged emails with Karin, the owner, after she extended a lovely invitation to visit anytime. When AffoGATO (Cleveland) opened in January, I made a plan to visit all four Ohio cat cafes over President’s Day weekend in 2019.
I made my way through St. Anne’s Hill neighborhood admiring the Victorian architecture and artsy vibe. When I entered the shop, a similarly historic structure, I was blown away by the interiors. Beautifully and sensitively restored, the facility is spacious, light and airy- throw in the lounge-music soundtrack and the overall environment is hip and modern, yet comfortable and welcoming.
I can enthusiastically endorse Gem City as one of the most beautiful cat cafes in the world, but this isn’t a case of style over substance. Karin and her team are serious about facilitating rescue and adoption, as well as educating the community about animal welfare issues such as fostering and TNR.
Sabrina warmly greeted me and generously offered a tour and answers to all my questions. Gem City opened on January 2, 2018, supported by a successful kickstarter campaign and since then, a loyal cadre of regulars. A social worker by training, Sabrina is a kind soul that also happens to be a cat lover and foodie- the perfect combination of personality and interests for a cat cafe and coffee bar.
Speaking of coffee, I had one of the best cups I can remember in all of my cat cafe travels- a smooth and spicy Highland Grogg blend courtesy of local coffee roaster Boston Stoker. The drinks menu is expansive, with many tempting hot and cold options including specialty coffees/teas, wine and snacks.
After my tour of the upstairs gallery- another stunning space where they hold community education events like TNR certification- I grabbed my coffee and excitedly entered the cat room.
It’s as gorgeous in the cat room as it is in the cafe- a relaxing (and immaculately clean) place filled with natural textures, large windows and cozy nooks that are perfect for cat-napping. The centerpiece is a replica of the Wright Flyer, the perfect perch for the felines to peer down at the humans.
There are typically between 14 and 18 cats living at Gem City, provided via 501c3 non-profit rescue partner, Gem City Kitties. Their stated mission brings tears to my eyes: Save All The Cats: We're working on creating a more compassionate community for cats in Dayton, OH.
The felines in residence the day I visited were a fun combination of features. Three cats are full-time residents (owing to their people skills that help socialize the more shy fur babies) while the rest are adoptable. They represent a delightful variety of personalities, colors and sizes. My favorites included Meowrville Wright, a playful long-haired tuxedo, Snooblet, a serious ginger, Pepper Jack, a sweet midnight colored boy and Crofty Wan Catnobi, a gray tabby with a piercing stare that laid claim to the Wright Flyer.
My experience at Gem City was one to be savored. From sipping delicious coffee to basking in all the feline gloriousness, I enjoyed every moment until I reluctantly hit the road.
Between their intelligent and passionate commitment to save lives, plus top-notch combination of cats, facility, food/drink and staff, Gem City Catfe is a serious contender for best in the world. Please support their mission and prioritize a visit ASAP!
Date Visited: 2/17/19