The Triangle's first cat coffee shop is coming to Chapel Hill.
Cat Tales Cat Cafe, coming to Franklin Street this fall, aims to make the adoption process easier and more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Kyla Speizer, daughter of one of the co-owners and a senior at East Chapel Hill High School, said the idea came to her mother seemingly out of the blue.
“My mom went for a walk with our dog one day and came home saying that she thought Chapel Hill needed a cat cafe and that she would love to be the one to do it,” Speizer said. “I wholeheartedly supported the idea, of course.”
The mother-and-daughter pair spent years volunteering for their local animal shelter before deciding to take their next steps in helping the local animal population.
“We've been volunteering at Orange County Animal Services for four years now,” she said. “We visited the Crooked Tail Cat Cafe a while back, and we realized that we could help the animals in a way that went beyond just volunteering at the shelter.”
Co-owner and manager Katy Poitras said she was excited about taking initiative to help cats find a healthy, stable home.
"I have been following the progress of Pounce Cat Cafe, which opened a couple years ago,” Poitras said. “They have just been doing unbelievably amazing work adopting out cats, and so I just sat back and watched it happen."
She said she always thought Chapel Hill would be a really good fit for the model.
Cat cafes tend to do well in university communities, she said. She also sees a lot of potential to work with the University’s hospital system.
“It's this area that seems to be full of animal lovers, and there’s always cats in need,” she said.
Poitras spoke about the many emotional benefits, for both humans and animals, of adopting from a cat cafe as opposed to a traditional adoption center.
"It takes the emotional part out of going to adopt a cat out of a shelter,” she said. “It's a lot easier to get to know the cats' true personalities when you're not having to go pull them out of a cage and pick which one you want."
She said the cafe makes it easier.
"The cats are roaming around, they're relaxed, they're happy, they're used to the environment," Poitras said. "You have a better chance of getting a good long-term matchup if you get to know the cats that way."
By working with Goathouse Refuge, a nonprofit no-kill animal sanctuary based out of Pittsboro, Cat Tales will have many cats for clients to interact with and hopefully adopt.
"They choose the original cats that they think will do really well based on their personalities, and then they bring them in, and we give them time to settle in,” Poitras said. “As these cats are getting adopted, they are bringing us more cats, so we always have fresh cats."
Poitras said she hopes to open the cafe in October.
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