Tucked in Hayes Valley on the corner of Gough Street and Polk Street sits a cat lover’s paradise. KitTea Cat Cafe is a sanctuary for both humans and cats alike. Started by Courtney Hatt (coincidentally rhymes with cat) three years ago, KitTea was the first of its kind in the U.S.
People from near and far come to KitTea for various reasons: People come looking for a fun afternoon activity, to adopt a cat or just to de-stress. KitTea offers a place to relax — hence, the green tea and zen decor in the cat lounge, cafe and gift shop. Hatt explains that having pets in the city is difficult, so creating a space for a cat sanctuary in San Francisco has allowed cat lovers to feed their love for these irresistible felines.
Because of a traumatic experience with cats when I was in kindergarten when I was bitten by a cat, I’ve been very cautious around them ever since. So, why the hell would I go to a place like KitTea? To surprise my cat-loving best friend for her 21st birthday — that’s why.
Going into this experience, I was a little nervous. I knew I was in good hands with my trusted cat expert, aka best friend, but the image of my kindergarten cat incidence was all I could think about in my head. As a week has passed since I visited KitTea, I’m happy to say that I’m alive and feline good. And most importantly, I’ve developed a newfound admiration for these animals.
KitTea Cat Cafe is home to 16-22 insanely cute cats, some of which are adoptable! Rescuing cats from kill shelters from all over the Bay Area, KitTea provides cats with a second chance at finding a new home. All of the cats used to be up for adoption, but Hatt soon realized that the cats had created their own cat hierarchy. Because many cats were leaving and entering the facility, the cat hierarchy became unstable, stressing out some of the cats. After establishing a set of purrmanent residents at KitTea, newer cats have an easier transition because of the increased stability. #CatPolitics #TheMoreYouKnow
On any given day, you can purrchase tickets to visit these cuddly kitties for an hour. I’m talking about an entire room just full of cats, people — this place is the real deal. If you don’t want to play with the cats and would prefer to admire them from afar, you can head into the cafe to enjoy a snack or cup of tea and observe them from the window. (But honestly, where’s the fun in that!?) Besides regular visiting hours, KitTea also holds special events throughout the week. Here’s a little glimpse of what KitTea has to offer!
Pro-tip: Be sure to reserve your spot in any of KitTea’s classes or time slots for regular visiting hours in advance! Nothing is worse than showing up and realizing that you can’t cuddle with the kitties. #SadTimes
I was lucky enough to partake in KitTea’s cat yoga class. Let’s just say that as a non-cat person, I had a fabulous time. As an hour-long yoga session with cats, this class is not for the faint of heart. With so many cats roaming around, it was super difficult to pay attention to the yoga because all you wanted to do was pet every cat that walked past your mat. Cat yoga is offered every Wednesday from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and comes with unlimited green tea. Come on by for some zen vibes and lots of kitty cuddles!
If yoga isn’t your vibe, maybe a fondue dinner is more your jam. Offered on Friday nights, you have the chance to enjoy a yummy dinner followed by endless love from these furry felines.
Different films are shown every Thursday night at KitTea for its Mewvie Night. Imagine cuddling with cats while enjoying films such as “Amélie” or “Love Actually”! Be sure to check out what films KitTea will be showing online so you can make reservations!
With an option to BYOG (bring your own game) or choose any of the board games offered at the cafe, you have a plentiful two hours to hang out in this cool space!
Cartoons from the ’80s and ’90s, pajamas, cereal and cats? Count me in! Offering the ultimate Saturday morning activity, KitTea’s Caturday Morning Cartoons is a way to start your day right — with cats. With a cereal bar stocked with your favorite sugary cereals and a room full of cats, you’ll honestly never want to leave.
Channel your inner green thumb with this fun and educational plant class where you can learn how to arrange your own plant and even take it home with you.
After attending these events, don’t forget to check out the insanely cute gift shop at KitTea! It’s literally a cat lover’s dream come true. I’m talking cat-themed goodies such as prints, stickers, jewelry, socks and more. You can literally shop until you drop. Not to mention the insane number of cat puns there are everywhere at KitTea (something I can appreciate, myself).
As a dog person, I’ve gotta say these cats are pretty darn cute. So am I a cat person now? Not really, but I can say with confidence that I surely enjoyed myself at KitTea. If you’re ever in the city and are looking for some cat love (or looking to pro-cat-stinate on your homework), be sure to head on over to KitTea for some cat cuddles or to check out any of its super rad events. Go ahead and book your tickets — the time is meow!
Allison Fong writes the weekly blog column on places and activities to try in and around Berkeley. Contact her at [email protected]l.org.