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Have you ever been in a cafe, sipping on a latte and thought to yourself, “this coffee is nice, but where are the cats?”
If so, you will be especially excited to hear that Dayton will soon be home to our very own cat cafe - a “catfe” if you will. Co-owners Sabrina Cox and Karin Gudal-Johnson are hoping to make Dayton’s cat cafe one of the best in the world and thanks to meeting their initial Kickstarter goal, they are ready to take on the challenge. I asked Sabrina a few questions to learn a little more about this unusual cafe and how it will add to our community.
What is a “catfe?”
A Catfe is a comfortable coffee house environment with adoptable rescue cats living on site in a separate but completely accessible environment from the cafe. Cat cafes are important because they allow community members to interact with cats in an expectation-free environment (we understand that not everyone can or should have a pet). We also utilize our cat cafe as a way to educate the community on cat related issues in a way that isn’t abrasive.
What inspired you to start a cat cafe?
Karin and I were inspired to start a cat cafe because we wanted to enjoy one locally and couldn’t convince anyone else to open one (seriously, we tried!). We were both working for a non-profit rescue when we met and wanted to take on a more community-centered and cat-proactive approach to animal welfare. This was the perfect way.
Where will the cats come from?
We're so excited to be working with our rescue partner, the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, who will be providing 12 cats, including 10 adoptable rescue cats and 2 cats who will be staying with us permanently.
Why does Dayton need a place like this?
Dayton is an innovative and community-centric city. An idea like a cat-cafe is perfect for its up-and-coming, urban environment. We will be the smallest city to have a cat cafe so far and we fully believe Dayton can sustain us.
Now you've met your initial Kickstarter campaign goal, what are the stretch goals?
The stretch goals for the Gem City Catfe’s Kickstarter campaign are additional objectives we would like to meet after our initial “all or nothing” goal. With Kickstarter you have to make your initial goal to receive any of your money. We were nervous to make our initial goal too high because then we would walk away empty-handed. Our stretch goals allow us to offer additional amenities to the public like sanitizable furnishings, multiple cat trees and climbing ways, a handicap accessible chair lift to our upstairs event space, and kitty cams. These are all items we would add eventually, but having them already in place once we open will create a much better space for the community and our cats.
What about the coffee and food you’re planning to serve?
All of our offered items, whether they be food, drinks, merchandise, or events will be sourced locally. We aim to be as community-focused as possible because Dayton has so much to offer (why go anywhere else when we have everything we need here?). We will be serving Boston Stoker coffee and our bakery items will be made offsite by licensed cottage baker Rachel Bakes. We will also have French macarons by Redemerrage Patisserie. Of course, we will also have cat themed beverages and many cat-themed bakery items.
Where is the Gem City Catfe located, and when do you expect to open?
We will be located at 1513 E. 5th St. in the lovely Historic District of St. Anne's Hill, just outside of Downtown Dayton, and are hopeful that after we receive all of our needed permits that we will open this summer.
What has excited you most on this journey?
We are absolutely floored by the love and support that Dayton has offered us so far. We never expected to make so many new friends through this process (all of our supporters are considered our friends). Dayton loves cats and we aim to give them a place where they can focus that love.
Every day we are amazed a little more with how many people know who we are on the street and ask us about the cat cafe. It’s something we will never get used to and are so appreciative of. We are excited to open and see our goals and dreams come to fruition and to finally give Dayton their Gem City Catfe.
Also, if we could get Lil ‘Bub or Jackson Galaxy or The Kitten Lady to make a cameo appearance that would be pretty cool, too. Oh, yeah - most importantly to save cats and place them in loving homes.
Keep updated by following Gem City Catfe on Facebook. Help Gem City Catfe reach their stretch goals and be eligible for exclusive pledge awards by donating to their Kickstarter campaign before March 31st!
Girl About Town (Lauren Rinehart) is a blog about a girl living, working, eating, and shopping in Dayton, Ohio.