Tampa’s new café: Cats and Caffeine

Holly Zeller, Reporter

  Starting in Japan in 1990, Cat Cafes blew up as a global enterprise spreading around the world. Making its way into the U.S. in 2014 with KitTea in San Francisco. Cat Cafes quickly grew around the country, finally landing in Florida in 2020 when Orlando became the first hot spot with the“Orlando Cat Cafe.” With a far drive Tampa cat lovers were disappointed until now!

   Opening in South Tampa, Cats & Caffeine became the first Tampa Cat Cafe opening its doors recently on Aug. 5, 2022. Like any Cat Cafe, as said by the owners their mission is to“provide a unique experience for the guests that come visit as well as the rescued kittens that temporarily live in our cafe until they are adopted.”

   Partnering with Cat Lovers Inc. (who have been rescuing kitties around the Tampa Bay area since 2005), they help provide the cats and kittens a safe, healthy environment to hopefully find, as they say, their “Forever Families.’ ‘ They describe the adoption process as “Cat Lovers Inc. takes in the kittens and gets them spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped. Once the kittens are 3 months old they live in the cafe until they are adopted. We tend to have around 20 cats at once, so it depends on our adoption rates how quickly we’ll get new kitties in.” 

   When adopting cats and kittens, most people might feel the process to be long and complicated but Cats & Caffeine makes it very easy, as most visitors might not suspect. If customers fall in love with one of their many cats or kitties they can fill out their adoption forms during the visit. They will schedule an interview to see if they are a good match, and with all the shots and meds up to shape, the people of Tampa can take their new best friend home in under a month! 

   The environment of the cafe is pink, pink, pink! The walls are a baby pink and the floors are decorated with white fluffy rugs, pillows, and a cloud modular-like couch over a nice greening wall. This place without a doubt creates a warm welcome to people coming in for the first time. With a small space for people to play with the cats, they only let limited people at a time with for everyone to space out; they simply ask to move around once in a while so everyone can meet each cat in the room. 

   The first 15 minutes can be overwhelming at first but once everyone settles down it is easy for them to meet their favorite cat in the room. If they notice some people cannot enjoy a cat of their own, the employees will help you get comfortable or even bring a cat for them to hold and play with. The hour can go quickly but the environment can make people want to come back every week. The booking is sweet and simple just like the coffee and treats with about $22 a person an hour. For the cafe they offer coffee (hot and cold) and wrapped treats like cake pops and cookies.

   Overall, the owners Brieanna Rekow & Lindsey Marzo say “There’s no end goal. We’re forever getting new ideas on how we can benefit the rescue cats of Tampa Bay and hopefully expand to other cities.” For this the people of Tampa should go running to Cats & Caffeine for a lovable fluffy time and maybe even get a fur friend for their home.