Cat Town Cafe: Taking cats off the street and into cafes in Oakland

Cat Town Cafe/Courtesy
Cat Town Cafe

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The first ever cat cafe in the United States is projected to open in Oakland in the upcoming months.

Adam Myatt, a local musician known as the “Cat Man of West Oakland” and the creator of Hoodcats,  hopes to have about 12 cats at a time from Cat Town, a cat rescue and foster center for cats that could not survive in Oakland Animal Services’ animal shelter, in Cat Town Cafe. The cats would live in the cafe, and people would be able to play with them for a specified amount of time.

“Our mission is to get the cats adopted,” Myatt said. “The more attention we can get the cats, the better. The cafe is sort of a fun, kitschy way to bring awareness to this problem [of homeless cats].”

When Myatt first moved to West Oakland, his main focus was music, but after a while he began noticing a large number of feral cats near where he lived and recorded. Myatt said the feral cats often go to OAS and are euthanized instead of adopted.

He started Hoodcats, an organization through which he sold calendars made of pictures he took of cats. The more he worked with cats, the more Myatt wanted to get involved with Cat Town, run by Ann Dunn, and its mission to get cats adopted. Eventually, Myatt decided he wanted to do something more.

When Myatt first learned about cat cafes opening up throughout Japan, he and Dunn decided to bring one  to us!

So Cat Town partnered with Pet Food Express, a local Bay Area business that offered to pay Cat Town Cafe’s rent in Oakland. Cat Town Cafe is also raising an estimated $60,000 through crowd funding to open up anywhere from Jack London Square to Rockridge.

Other cat cafes are also hoping to open up soon, such as KitTea Cafe in San Francisco.

Dunn and Myatt’s brainchild does not, however,  just benefit the cats by getting them adopted. According to the Center for Multicultural Human Services, cats provide therapeutic relief to humans and help them relax.

Currently, Cat Town Cafe has about 14 to 15 people committed to volunteering to help with outreach and awareness. But anyone, especially UC Berkeley students, who is interested is welcome to volunteer, Myatt said.

Contact Chloe Tarrasch at [email protected].