EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Cats and coffee – a marriage made in heaven, at least that’s the hope for two friends and business partners bringing a Cat Café to the area this summer.
River Kitty Cat Café will be opening in Downtown Evansville in a few months but Annette Gries and Nancy Drake, who are opening the business, are looking for the community’s support in this upcoming venture in the way of a Kickstarter campaign.
“This whole thing is all about the cats,” Gries said of the café. “That’s the only reason we are doing this. We are creating one more way to be a good steward to the community and the Vanderburgh Humane Society.”
River Kitty – which will be at 226 Main St., right next to Zuki Japanese Hibachi Grill & Sushi Lounge – will feature two rooms separated by floor to ceiling glass. The first room will be a café featuring French drip and pour over coffees and teas as well as croissants, cookies, biscotti and savory pastries.
Whenever possible River Kitty will be sourcing their items from local businesses. Cisse’s Bread Bakery and Just Rennie’s Catering are providing the baked goods and the coffee and teas will be from Harvest Cafe Coffee and Tea out of Indianapolis is providing the coffee and tea.
The second part of River Kitty is the RK Lounge. There will be seating for human occupants but the room is really being designed for the cats — lots of vertical features, cubbies for the kitties to lay in and lots of things for cats to play with, Drake said. And the litter boxes, a concern raised by some, will be in the basement of the building with the cats having ready access through a kitty door. There will be constant ventilation in the RK Lounge.
There is a $5 fee for each hour in the Lounge. The cats – all adoption-ready through Vanderburgh Humane Society – will not be permitted in the café area of River Kitty adhering to Health Department rules. The cats at the café will have all been spayed or neutered, be up to date on their shots and microchipped. All of the proceeds from the adoption go to the Humane Society and the process can be started at the café.
Visitors to the cat café can come in just to snuggle kitties or they can come for coffee and watch the cats from afar. But Drake and Gries said they know the draw for the café is really the cats.
Gries said there are a number of reasons to visit River Kitty to interact with the cats. They are entertaining and petting and snuggling a cat could be a welcomed stress reliever. She said it is also a great way for cat lovers who maybe can’t have a cat of their own to get a chance to interact with them or a way to introduce a potential future cat owner to what cats are really like.
“Cats transcend stress,” Gries said. “When I’m with my cat I’m present in the moment. It is an incredible way to relax.”
Beyond the cute, snuggly factor, the duo’s main goal is to make a real impact on the community by increasing the cat adoption rate.
“In society today there is a huge acknowledgment of the importance of our fur babies in our lives, and it is our responsibilities as humans to do our best to help all of them,” Drake said.
Both she and Gries have long been supporters of VHS and spoke with Kendall Paul, VHS executive director, about the project before going forward. VHS is a partner and is excited about the café and the potential impact it will have on their adoptions, Gries said.
Other cat cafes have made a huge impact on adoption and euthanasia rates in other communities. In San Diego, 230 cats were adopted in the cat café’s first two years of business. In St. Louis after just being open for 10 weeks 15 cats were adopted. A cat café in Oakland, California, lowered the community’s euthanasia rate by 42 percent in two years, Gries said.
River Kitty will be the third café of its kind to open in Indiana.
The café is also looking into some unique opportunities of things they can do in the RK Longue. Things like yoga classes, story time, trivia night, singles night and painting classes are all being discussed. A gift shop, featuring cat-themed (and a few dog-themed) items will be featured in the café portion of River Kitty.
Gries and Drake said the buzz in the community about the café is exciting but that they need to community to show their support financially too. They are rolling out their Kickstarter campaign in the coming days. Drake said the two believe in the mission so much they’ve put up the first $20,000 but need the community to kick in too.
Kickstarter perks go from a thank you postcard at the $10 investment level to a list of incentives including top of the list prominent name recognition, gourmet prepared dinner for 20, special time with the kitties and gifts for guests at the $5,000 investment level.
Editor’s note: Nancy Drake is a freelance contributor to the Courier & Press.
Source: Evansville Courier and Press, http://bit.ly/2kRQXAF
Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, http://www.courierpress.com