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Mace and Crown | May 24, 2018

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Local Cat Café Opens in Ghent

David Hollis | Contributing Writer

After much anticipation, the Catnip Cat Café opened this past weekend. A concept originally conceived in Taipei, Taiwan, it’s a place where cat enthusiasts can interact with cats while enjoying hot coffee or tea. The unique café is one of only a few that allows cats to roam freely, and, if one of them catches a customer’s eye, that customer can adopt that cat.

This local, cat café is located a little more than five minutes from Old Dominion University by car. The establishment was quaint and clean, and even smelled great. It was the perfect place to enjoy the company of the feline hosts. There was a variety of art that hung on the walls, naturally of cats. Overall, the atmosphere was comfortable, the cats were friendly and the atmosphere was warm, nice and relaxing.

“I’ve always had cats, I’ve always loved cats,” small business owner, Freeda Steele said, in a recent interview, when asked why she started a cat café. 

When asked about why this is trending, Steele said, “Kind of a win-win for everybody, you know? It helps the cats and helps the shelter and rescue groups you work with.”

When asked how the opening weekend went, Steele said, “It went really well, I mean everybody had a good time. Everybody had nice things to say.”

One of the reasons this type of café is becoming a sought after business could be due to the rising popularity of cats. Due to the internet, many people are becoming exposed to adorable videos of cats or cats becoming memes. As a result, over the past four years, the popularity of cats has risen. Unfortunately, there are many cases where one cannot own a cat or one has trouble finding one to adopt. These cafés allow for resolution of these issues to be solved in one fell swoop.

In fact, this business is known for helping cats be adopted. Over the course of six months, over one hundred cats can usually get adopted out of a cat café, if one is local. These cafés allow for a much more uplifting way to adopt a cat than going to a shelter. Steele’s Catnip Cat Café offers a nice environment to have cats and people come together.  You can see their personalities and play with them.

In the future, the Catnip Cat Café has plans to start hosting events taking place at the cafe to allow for more opportunities for everyone to spend time and socialize with the cats in residence in the cafe. Steele say they hope, “…people come in and maybe do the things that they’re already kind of doing, but do it around cats.” These events could include an arts and crafts night, yoga classes or create your own cat toy.

This new addition to the Ghent area is a wonderful place for homeless cats and will surely bring character to the area, allowing for a cat-friendly atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.