In a lower-level business plaza off Snider Road, practically hidden from view, Kitty Brew Cafe allows customers the opportunity to eat and drink alongside cats available for adoption. Owner Jenni Barrett started the business in 2017 after years of volunteering with Animal Friends Humane Society, a rescue partner for the cafe’s cats.
“Hunting for animals to help is addictive,” Jenni says. “At the end of it all, the best feeling is that you know the animal is being taken care of.”
Jenni has a great connection with the cats in her cafe, however briefly they stay.
“It was so hard to say goodbye in the beginning,” Jenni says. “But now, while I still remember all the cats’ names and personalities, when they get adopted, I have tears of joy.”
The success of Kitty Brew Cafe stems from its vision: to help save lives and alleviate space issues at local rescues. Customers can visit the cafe to order food and drinks. They then have the option to visit a separate space called the "Cat Lounge" that houses adoptable cats for a $10 charge (of course, you can visit without the intention of adopting). Proceeds go toward maintaining the facilities, and there is a lot to keep up with: feeding, cleaning, replacing torn-up furniture. There are often medical expenses too. Whenever a cat has an issue, the rescue partner shelter takes that cat back to treat them.
In addition to ensuring the high standards of the cafe are met, Jenni and her staff have taken on the responsibility of making sure the home a kitten or cat goes to is safe.
“We got permission from Animal Friends Humane Society to use their adoption application. They’ve been placing cats for more than 50 years,” Jenni says. “We research if somebody rents or owns the property that they’ll be taking the cat home to—in some cases, we need to see a lease or talk to the landlord to make sure it’s OK they have a cat. We get to know the person pretty well throughout the adoption process and see how they’re connecting with the cat, so there’s a personal aspect to it as well.”
Kitty Brew Cafe has facilitated more than 1,150 adoptions to date. The number of adoptions in 2018 almost doubled the number in 2017. Their goal is to get as many cats adopted as possible without sacrificing anything from the customer’s experience.
Tellen Hedding, a 9-year-old Mason resident, recently adopted her kitten, Quinn, from Kitty Brew Cafe, and the family could not be more excited to bring her home.
“We chose to adopt through Kitty Brew Cafe because we wanted Tellen to choose a cat in need without a feeling of guilt for leaving others in cages,” says Lelle Hedding, Tellen’s mother. “We’ve had a wonderful experience and would recommend it to anyone.”
Kitty Brew Cafe, 6011 Tylersville Road, Mason
Things to consider when preparing your home for a cat:
- If you rent or lease your home, make sure your landlord is aware of your intentions to own a cat and has given you the approval to do so.
- All other pets currently living in the home should be vaccinated and fixed.
- The type of people in the home may influence the type of cat you should get; for example, a cat that is more on the shy side should be considered for families with small children and a confident, outgoing cat for families with many children or a dog.
- Cats do not need walks—they get their exercise in your home, so make sure you have furniture which they are allowed to climb on like cat condos or towers.
- The first ingredient in your cat’s food should be a meat ingredient.
- Adopt from a shelter instead of a store; almost 5 million cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters every year, and animals in pet stores may come from irresponsible breeders.
“It's our goal to get as many cats adopted as possible, without sacrificing anything from the customer’s experience.”