Cat Town is coming to Oaktown! On Oct. 25, the country's first cat café will open at 2869 Broadway, right in the heart of Oakland's Auto Row.
The idea is to get the kitties out of their cages at Oakland's over-burdened and under-funded animal shelter, and into a less intimidating environment.
"The shelter is full of very young adoptable cats that might have to wait two or three months at the back of the shelter before they move up to the front," explains Cat Town's co-founder, Ann Dunn, a former volunteer at the shelter.
"By that time they might be sick from the stress, or they might bite somebody," adds her co-founder, Adam Myatt. "We're getting them out of the shelter and into a place where they can relax, and that makes them much more adoptable."
Cat Town is simultaneously a café and an adoption center, both in the same building. You'll drink catnip tea and eat cat-themed munchies from local sources, including Cat Macaroons from Shades of Sugar, sandwiches from S & M Vegan, and other treats from Oakland's Kitchener Collective.
Then you can mosey over to the adoption center, aka the Cat Zone, and chill out with the kitties. You can also buy dehydrated kitty treats by RAWR, an Oakland-based raw cat food purveyor, for their new feline friends.
The Oakland theme runs throughout the Cat Zone, including cat beds inspired by the Port of Oakland's cargo cranes and cat play structures based on buildings from the downtown Oakland skyline. The café features a gallery of cat-centric art, and cat-focused merchandise will be on sale.
Cat Town is a great deal for the kitties who are still in the city shelter, too. As soon as a cat gets adopted from Cat Town, Ann and Adam go back to the shelter and get another one. Besides, decreasing the shelter population gives the volunteers more time to pay attention to the cats who remain.
While we're on the subject, I think it's time I came out of the closet and confessed: I wasn't always a cat lover. In fact, I used to be a cat hater.
Then I fell in love with a woman named Nancy, who had a black-and-white female feline named K.C. (short for Kitty Cat).
For the first six months, I wouldn't let K.C. into our bedroom. Then one day she decided enough was enough, and she proceeded to seduce me.
It took her less than 24 hours to turn me into a total cat nut. Moral: There's no zealot like a converted sinner.
K.C. and I got so tight, when Nancy and I eventually broke up she offered to give me the cat. But I knew K.C. would be happier where she was, so I declined.
Two weeks after I moved into a new apartment, there was a knock on my door; and there stood four little kids from the elementary school across the street, holding a tiny gray tabby kitten.
"Mister, did you lose this kitty?" They asked.
"No," I said, "but I'll take her."
So came into my life the late, great Eliza Doolittle. We were together for almost 17 years. And though I've had four more cats since her, I still miss her every day.
I miss all the others, too.