Le Cat Café, the city’s first café dedicated to rescuing cats off the streets, opened its doors in March in Brewerytown.
Kathy Jordan, the shop’s owner, is also the founder of Green Street Rescue, a non-profit dedicated to saving cats and finding them suitable homes.
“One cat in its lifetime can create something like 700,000 kittens because of the way they procreate,” Jordan said. “There’s an estimated to be around 178,000 stray and feral cats in the city of Philadelphia.”
Jordan drew inspiration from a variety of cat cafés around the world, from Japan to the West Coast to Washington, D.C.
“I went to visit them and see how they managed to set it up,” Jordan said. “I went down to D.C. and met the people that ran Crumbs and Whiskers and thought this is what we need to do in Philadelphia.”
Le Cat Café, 2713 W. Girard Ave., operates in a unique way compared to traditional coffee shops and cafes. Because it’s a non-profit, the shop relies solely on donations to keep business afloat. A Keurig is nestled in the corner to get your coffee fix, but the primary focus is the cats themselves.
The store serves more as a space for cats to freely roam and play, and people stop by more for the cats than for the coffee. For now, 12 cats live in the café at a time, and all are ready for adoption after receiving proper veterinary care. Cats can be adopted for $110 for one and $135 for a pair.
So far, 28 cats have found homes thanks to Le Cat Café.
A variety of events and activities have been held during the week, and Jordan is always brainstorming new ideas to further attract customers.
“We are working on starting senior moments, which will be a whole afternoon dedicated to senior citizens,” she said. “We currently do yoga classes – ‘cats on mats’ is on Monday night. The cats are here to participate in the yoga classes and get a big kick out of it. We are working on a ‘purr-lates’ class and do Pilates with cats.”
The venue also can be rented out for private events like bridal showers, birthdays or graduation parties to allow more individual interaction with the cats.
“I think the neighborhood is definitely benefiting from having places like this,” manager Luke Giordano said. “We have a lot of people that come in mesmerized by the cats in the window. I have conversations with them and they talk about how much they love cats. They seem to love having this place here.”
The café acts as an educational space and also participates in first Friday every month. Jordan said the café also supports other local businesses in the area.
“I hope that we grow in awareness,” Jordan said. “The more people that come in, the more cats get adopted. It’s a much better environment for them to be in than in a shelter or on the street.“
–Text, photos, and videos by Samara Grossel.