Have ya heard about cat cafés? They’re the latest fun thing to entertain cats … yeah, like cats need entertaining. But they do, and a cat café is exactly what it sounds like: A café where cats are welcome. It’s a niche within a niche. It’s a place to grab a coffee and cozy up with furry—and adoptable—felines.
Cats are, of course, well-known for snoozing a lot, which makes me wonder if inducing a caffeine coffee buzz in the presence of kitties is the best idea. As it turns out, the environment is beneficial to cats as well as people.
I recently met with Tammy King, founder of nonprofit Mayport Cats, to learn about her café, The Caffeinated Cat. The organization is ‘dedicated to the health, welfare and safety of feral and community cats,’ and if you’ve ever been to Mayport Village, especially around the ferry slip, you get it.
Davi: What inspired you to open a cat café?
Tammy: We needed to find a way to sustain our community cat program.
How exactly does the café work?
The café is mainly a rescue group that sells coffee to help support the needs of the cats. Guests can stop by, purchase a coffee, and unwind with a furry flock of felines. Instead of laptops, you’ll have cats on your lap!
Where are the cats at the café from?
Our cats are “street cats,” so they have no home or owner, and usually have a medical condition. We find them or, under special circumstances, others find them, but this is not a place to drop off unwanted cats.
How many cats currently roam The Caffeinated Cat?
Right now, we have six, but we’re getting more. We just need to make sure the newbies meld with the existing clowder, so we keep harmony in the shop.
Do the cats enjoy the visits?
Like we do, each cat has a unique personality. Some crave lots of affection and like playing with guests, while others are independent and prefer alone time.
There’s a chance that patrons might not know how to engage with a cat. Do you teach people how to safely interact?
Definitely! It’s essential that we educate people on proper cat-handling techniques. This will help the bonding process, as well as ensure safety for both the cat and our guests. We also help advocate for adopting special-needs cats. They have so much love to give but are often overlooked.
How did you decide on the menu?
I wanted to keep it simple since we’re primarily a rescue which sells coffee, but it was fun concocting the beverage names. A regular coffee is called a “Black Cat” and any decaf coffee is deemed “neuter.”
What’s the best part about running The Caffeinated Cat?
Spending the day with cats, advocating for them with the public, and proving that cats adapt well to their disabilities and are just as lovable and adoptable as non-disabled cats.
Any cool café events coming up?
We are planning fun events for cats and folks every month! Tie-Dye for Tabbies happens next month and there’s a Creative Cat Costume event on Halloween!
The Caffeinated Cat is in Jax Beach. They aim to educate and promote relationships with cats, so patrons are encouraged to spend time with the cuddly brood. Who knows? Maybe you’ll visit and leave with a new feline friend in your arms. Adoptable cats have been fixed and vaccinated.