BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) – Alabama’s first cat cafe is now open in the Avondale neighborhood.
Gatos and Beans Cafe opened on 3rd Court South in July. The coffee shop has a room dedicated to cuddly cats and kittens that are available for adoption. The animals come from the Kitty Kat Haven and Rescue animal shelter in Hoover.
Customers can pay $10 for a drink and one hour to spend with the cats or enjoy watching the cats through a window while enjoying a beverage. Owner Kelli Steward said the cafe is off to a very busy start.
“We’ve had a lot of walk-ins, reservations on the weekends have been booked,” Steward said. “So I’m telling everyone to please go online and make your reservations for Saturday and Sunday because otherwise, you won’t get in.”
Cat cafes originated in Asia with one of the first ones opening in Taiwan in 1998. There are now many in different countries around the world. In the United States alone, there are at least 70.
So far, customer feedback at Gatos and Beans has been great.
“Everybody is so nice. And everybody that has been in there has had a fantastic time,” Steward said. “They come out, and they’re either excited or they’re just smiling, and they’re like this was just so fun, and stuff like that. So we’re getting a lot of really good feedback.”
Adoption fees for the cats benefit Kitty Kat Haven and Rescue. Steward is already planning for a bright future which includes a cat patio.
“Right now all of our tips are going towards that,” she said. “They’re going into saving accounts so we can build a ‘catio’ out off the back so that in the nicer weather we can sit outside with the cats. It will be a deck with a screened-in porch.”
Gatos and Beans, located at 4344 3rd Court South, is open every Thursday to Friday. Customers should not bring their own cats. To learn more about the cafe or to make reservations for the cat room, click here.