Everyone was feline pawsitive at the opening of the Cat Tales Cat Café on Feb. 14.
The cafe, located on 431 W. Franklin St. in Chapel Hill, is a foster shelter to 12 furry friends who are lounging and waiting for their permanent home. A customer can enjoy the comfort of the kittens or just stop by for coffee, wine or beer.
The cafe has already had two adoptions since the opening.
Katy Poitras and UNC public health professor Ilene Speizer own the business. Poitras said she had been following the process of other cat cafes in the country and saw on the news that shelters were at capacity.
“That was kind of what made me decide, ‘Hey, maybe I’ll be that person and go for it,'” she said. “These businesses do great where there’s a university because not only are we trying to adopt out cats, but we also want people to come in who can’t necessarily have cats and love on them and help socialize them to make them more adoptable.”
The cafe was booked out for its first weekend. Poitras said after she announced on social media that they were taking bookings, their booking site crashed twice from the response.
They are partnered with the Goathouse Refuge, a cat sanctuary in Pittsboro that has found a home for thousands of cats. Cat Tales receives all of its cats from Goathouse and in return, Goathouse gets the entire adoption fee for each cat.
“We are looking forward to filling up our adoption wall with all kinds of kitties going to their new home and just raising awareness of homeless animals,” Poitras said.
Susan Strohlein of Chapel Hill said it was a fun opportunity to have with her son. She said she has two cats and might eventually be looking for another one. For now, she and her son wanted to give the cats some love.
“I think that it being in such a central location is key because I don’t think everybody knows about the far reaching places," she said. "But here, if you’re walking by, then you go and say ‘Oh, let’s have a cup of coffee and play with the cats,’ and that’ll help them get adopted.”
Strohlein said she wants to come back with her other son who loves cats.
Charlie Millard, 14, of Pittsboro said he has a bad concussion and has been out of school for a month. To get him out of the house, his mother thought this would be a great activity.
“It’s a really cool atmosphere in here, and all the cats are really sweet, which I wasn’t really expecting because cats are always different,” he said. “Who doesn’t love drinking coffee and hearing about cats?”
Millard said he is excited about a place he can come play with cats because he can't have one of his own due to his mom's allergies.
Bo Eberle of Carrboro said he is an "aspiring crazy cat guy" who had been walking by the location every day, waiting with anticipation.
“I feel a little guilty, I don’t know how my cat would feel about this,” he said.
Eberle said he must load up on cat time because even though he has one cat, his roommate doesn’t love cats.
Visitors can book time with cats through the Cat Tales website. For one hour, the Cat Tales entry fee is $10 for students and $12 for adults.
“It’s not a place I could come all the time because of the interest fee, but I don’t think it’s unfair,” Eberle said. “I’m going to try to come once a week or something like that — maybe I can develop some relationships with some of these cat friends.”
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