You like cats. You like coffee. But are you ready for cats and coffee?
Because the Cat Café is ready for you, South Florida.
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Sure, this is an unexpected pairing — but this combination café and adoption center may be right at home on South Beach, where it will be the first of its kind in the city when it opens in mid October near 15th Street and Washington Avenue.
“It’s a family-friendly attraction for tourists and locals,” said owner Celyta Jackson.
You may be wondering how this is going to work.
The 3,000-square-foot café is divided by a floor-to-ceiling double-glass wall. On one side, up to 30 kitties will tumble and play in full cuteness on a playground made to resemble Miami Beach, with climbable palm trees and miniature replicas of South Beach’s iconic life guard stands. Behind them, a mural of South Beach and the water.
On the other side of the glass, you’ll find a full-service café, with coffee from Virgin Isles coffee roasters, sweet treats from Little River’s Cindy Lou Cookies, South Miami’s Honeybee Doughnuts, plus a range of drinks from nitro cold brews to herbal tea.
Between them, a series of double doors keeps kittens and fur on one side, coffee and pastries on the other. Never the twain shall meet, Jackson said.
It’s either the world’s cutest coffee shop or the most laid-back adoption center.
“You can get your kitty fix and be cheerful,” Jackson said.
Jackson got the idea when she moved to Miami Beach from New York, where she had fostered 52 cats over the years. Here, she ran headlong into Miami’s stray cat population.
“I was astounded by the number of cats I saw on the street,” Jackson said.
More than 100,000 stray cats run rampant in Miami-Dade county, the Human Society of Greater Miami estimates conservatively. Jackson said several volunteer organizations put the number at 150,000 in Miami Beach alone. About 15,000 cats are brought to Miami-Dade County Animal Services every year, while only about 3,000 are adopted.
“It’s a huge problem for us,” said Jossie Aguirre, director of marketing for the Humane Society of Greater Miami. “Within a couple of months, one cat can turn into 30 cats.”
Jackson decided to do something about it. Sobe Cats Spay & Neuter, a volunteer organization which fixes strays and helps kept them fed, will bring adoptable cats and kittens to Cat Café. Customers pay a $15 donation to enter the cat area, where they can play with the cats and adopt them.
“A lot of them make great pets. But there’s no pressure,” Jackson said. “If they’re not adopted, it’s fine. They can stay here and play and be safe.”
Cat Café South Beach
Address: 1423 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
More info: CatCafeSobe.com