by Emily Parma
Web Content Manager
The Blue Cat Cafe has been satisfying the needs of ‘crazy cat people’’ since October 17, 2015, and my dream of being able to go was finally fulfilled on December 5.
Finding the cafe was tricky at first, not being familiar with that part of Austin, but once we were in the neighborhood, it was easy to spot with its giant alien-like cats painted on the building.
When my family and I entered the building, after taking a photo opportunity of course, we entered into a small entry room with a long line, cat products, and two tablets where everyone had to sign a waiver. Cat at your own risk; basically, if you were to get cat scratch fever, or fur in your food, the cafe would not be liable.
After signing the waiver, we each paid an entry fee of $3. Now you might be irritated with the fact that there is a fee, but think of it this way… not everyone who goes to the cafe will buy something, and the cats have to be provided for somehow. The cats in the cafe are provided by the Humane Society, but not funded by them, so a small $3 fee by all who enter goes a long way for cat food. At the time that we went (1 p.m. on a Saturday), the cafe was at maximum capacity, so we waited about a half hour before we were led to a table.
We were seated at a shared table where a small group of humans were seated, and a cat lying beside them. It was instant happiness for cat lovers everywhere. There were 17 cats inside, and all roaming around free. Some cats sat on tables, some peered above us on the cat tree that went from floor to ceiling, and some slept in people’s laps. On every booth there were pillows and soft seat covers for the cats’ desires. What made this place unique was not just the fact that cats were roaming everywhere, but that people were, too. Unlike every other restaurant, people were talking to strangers about cats, walking around following cats, and cuddling the furry friends while sipping on coffee or eating chips and salsa. One of the cats who decided to join my family wanted to eat our food, which was weird considering there were cat food stations everywhere, but you know, cats do their own thing.
As for the health concerns of having cats and food in the same place, it is completely legal. In the entry way there is a little food closet if you will, where the cooks put the food on the entry side, and when your buzzer goes off at your table, you go the the door and get the food with your corresponding number. My family and I ordered chips and salsa, cider, tea and a peppermint mocha. All of it was good, and prices reasonable, we just had to keep that one persistent cat away.
Now, back to the cats. My favorite cat was the pretty three-legged one who slept next to me. I tried to pick her up and cuddle her, but this one was more hands-off, and that’s okay. I liked watching her be able to move around and play on her own. She seemed so stubborn, sort of reminded me of myself. I looked around and saw other people seeming to find animals like them, too. There was the lady by herself in a corner reading, with a cat sleeping beside her. There was the family in the middle, laughing together, using a fishing pole to play with a cat. Then there was the couple on the other side of the cafe, talking to a cat on the table between them. Most of the cats are eligable for adoption, but some cats are residential to the cafe. The most fun part of this experience was observing.
The entire cafe is like a giant cat house, with shelves all around the building for sleeping and playing. There is even a band stand that really is just another place for cats to hide. There are chairs, toys, and feeding stations around the cafe for the cats’ enjoyment, but we all know we enjoy them, too.
My experience at the Blue Cat Cafe was very pleasing, and I would definitely go back. On our way out, we used lint rollers that were placed on several tables around. Being finals week as well, it was therapeutic. Maybe it was the cup of coffee, or maybe it was the furry friends I had made, but I left the cafe on an emotional high.