The Orlando area has its very own cat café, the Orlando Cat Café! It is the only cat café in all of the state of Florida as of the writing of this blog. Cats and coffee, along with a dash of caring, can you get any better than that?
I contacted the founder of the Orlando Cat Café, Sandra Cagan, to get more details on how the whole thing started. Read on to learn the story of this charming café.
What is a Cat Café?
First off, you may be wondering what a cat café is.
A cat café is the fusion of a coffee bar and a place where you can go to get your kitty fix. In addition, in the case of the Orlando Cat Café, the cats that you see there are all available for adoption. This is a wonderful way to find a perfect cat to adopt.
What is the Orlando Cat Cafe?
“The Orlando Cat Café is a collaborative project between The Animal League, Axum Coffee, and Cagan Management Group,” says Cagan. “It is a cozy coffeehouse with comfortable furniture, premium coffee, delicious sandwiches, and pastries where you can enjoy the company of cats and kittens all of which are available for adoption. This concept comes from Japan where it is very popular. Like all good things, it spread throughout Europe before eventually coming to the United States. The Orlando Cat Café is the first and only Cat Café in the state of Florida!”
I just love the idea that these cats in need are getting help and a chance at adoption.
According to the ASPCA, 1.4 million cats are euthanized each year. Forty-one percent of cats that enter shelters are euthanized. It is a staggering number and a very sad statistic. A place like the Orlando Cat Café can do a lot to help cats in need. They give cats a chance at adoption and help to save them from euthanasia.
“We are really blessed to have such good partners in this venture,” says Cagan. “Axum Coffee not only provides delicious coffee, sandwiches, and food, but they are extremely philanthropic in their own right. They were the perfect match and we could not have done this without them. The Animal League has also been nothing short of fantastic. It is a pleasure dealing with such a professional organization that also wants to do good in the world.”
How the Orlando Cat Café Got Its Start
Cagan tells the story or the start of the idea for the Orlando Cat Café:
“On December 31, 2014, NBC Nightly News did a story on a Cat Café that opened in New York City. The story stayed with me for several days and a few days into the New Year I sent an email to Lake County Commissioner Sean Parks outlining my idea to start a Cat Café. I started my email with the words “you’re going to think I am crazy…” Commissioner Parks responded within the hour and thought it was a great idea and helped get the ball (of yarn) rolling by introducing me to Doreen Barker, Executive Director and Jessica Whitehouse, Director of Development for the Animal League (formerly the Southlake Animal League). 2015 was an important year for me as I was turning 50 (gasp!) and looking for a way to “give back” to the community. I can’t do anything about the situation in Syria or Darfur or stop global warming, but with my lifelong love of cats and my 20+ years in property management, helping homeless cats was something that I could do.”
About Cat Adoption
I asked Cagan what the most important things someone should consider when choosing a cat to adopt. She mentioned that it is vital to remember that, when adopting, you are making a commitment for the life of the cat.
“Kittens are very cute, but kittens eventually become cats and as cats become older there are sometimes medical issues that arise,” says Cagan. She continues, “Pets are a wonderful addition to a family but a long and sometimes costly commitment.”
Adopting a cat (or any other pet, for that matter), is not something that should be done on impulse. It is a serious decision and the proper amount of time and thought must go into making it. That is the beauty of a place like the Orlando Cat Café. You are able to interact with different cats several times, as often as you wish. This will allow you to have the time to think through the decision. In that way, you can make sure it is the right decision for you.
Another plus of the Orlando Cat Café is that all of the cats and kittens are spayed/neutered, microchipped and up to date on all vaccinations.
Since the Café opened on September 8th, 2016, 47 cats have been adopted! Two of the cats even traveled out of state – one to New York and one to Minnesota.
For those kitties, life has forever been changed for the better! “Every time I see that one of our cats has found their “forever” home, it makes me want to cry (tears of joy),” says Cagan. “I have had the pleasure of seeing many families find their perfect cat or in some cases, the cat chooses the perfect family and it is really a joy to behold. I have had cats for 37 of my 51 years on the planet and so I know firsthand how much joy a cat brings a family. It is a privilege to play a tiny role in that process.”
The adoption process at the Orlando Cat Café
The Animal League handles the adoptions at the Orlando Cat Café. I love their mantra for adopting out cats: “Our adoptions are NOT first come, but FIRST BEST MATCH.” The goal is to create the perfect match by pairing the cat’s personality and needs with the adopter’s needs and lifestyle. Doing so goes a long way to ensuring a strong bond between the cat and its new family, thus fostering a wonderful, lifetime relationship.
The safety and well-being of the cats are of primary concern at the Orlando Cat Café. Therefore, there is an application process and reference check, among other things. You can read more about the adoption process here: http://orlandocatcafe.com/adopt-a-cat/
Volunteer Opportunities at the Orlando Cat Café
“We are always looking for volunteers,” says Cagan. “Simply go to www.theanimalleague.org and click on “Help” on the top of the page, and then Volunteer and then check the box for Cat Café.”
What is your favorite thing about the Orlando Cat Café?
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