Cat café offers hands-on adoption right meow

Cat café offers hands-on adoption right meow

Cat café offers hands-on adoption right meow
February 04
03:01 2016

Samantha Sullivan | Staff Writer

@SamElizabethan

Almost half of the cats and kittens that enter more than 13,500 animal shelters in the United States each year are euthanized because they haven’t been adopted, according to the ASPCA.

Because of this, one business in Lewisville is revolutionizing the pet adoption process.

The Charming Cat Café, which opened in December at Vista Ridge Mall, is the first permanent cat café in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and the second in Texas. The adoptable felines residing in the building come from Kitty Save, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating homeless cats and kittens.

The cats are allowed on the furniture and tables and The Charming Cat Cafe. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

The cats are allowed on the furniture and tables and The Charming Cat Cafe. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

“Patrons come from all over the area—from Celina, Rowlett and Forney—and a lot of UNT students come before finals,” operating manager Ardith Timmons said.

Café customers pay $10 for an hour of time with the felines, but the establishment doesn’t serve food or drinks. Instead, customers are invited to bring their own treats and refreshments.

Patrons must wash their hands before they interact with the cats and again before they leave, protecting both animals and visitors. Once they sign in and pay, customers spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour playing or relaxing in a living room filled with cats, their toys and assorted cat merchandise.

Beverly Freed, founder of Kitty Save and owner of the Charming Cat Corner, has almost 15 years of experience working with organizations and cat adoptions, but she didn’t realize how difficult opening the café would be. Freed met with city officials to pitch the idea for consideration and things took off from there.

A cat stretches near the fake fireplace in the Victorian room at The Charming Cat Cafe in Lewisville. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

A cat stretches near the fake fireplace in the Victorian room at The Charming Cat Cafe in Lewisville. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

“The mall welcomed it as an opportunity to explore another type of business that they hoped would attract attention but still stay within their guidelines,” Freed said. “So we worked very closely with them to establish measures that would meet their needs and their hopes for the business too.”

Since last December, 55 cats have been adopted from the Charming Cat Corner.

“It’s a twofold business,” Freed said. “All revenue goes toward the space and resources, and Kitty Save has a venue to display its cats.”

Freed and Timmons said there are a few upsides to adopting cats in a café setting rather than at a traditional shelter. Not only are the cats visibly happier, but the public also has the chance to interact with them in a natural setting—not locked in a row of cages.

There are pots of chewing grass for the cats all around the cafe. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

There are pots of chewing grass for the cats all around the cafe. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

“It went from zero to two adoptions per week, to one cat a day being adopted,” Fried said.

While expansion to Denton isn’t out of the question, it will depend on how well the new location performs in the next year.

Further demand for cat cafés in D-FW will soon be answered with the Muffinmeow Café and Cat Lounge. It will be located in Richardson, close to the University of Texas at Dallas.

“As long as the public continues to visit and cats continue to find homes, and the mall still welcomes us, we’ll stay there,” Freed said. “People are understanding that cats are just as friendly as dogs.”

Featured Image: A cat sits on the mantle of the fireplace in the Victorian room at the Charming Cat Cafe. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

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