Felines will soon grace the sunny window of a Clintonville-area storefront at 3041 Indianola Ave. The city’s first cat cafe, Eat Purr Love, is set to open later this summer.
A concept popular in many countries is making its way to the U.S., and now, Columbus thanks to Chrissy Kuras. She first read an article about cat cafes on Facebook about a year ago and immediately wanted to visit one.
“I was actually surprised there wasn’t one in Ohio already, or even close,” Kuras says. To fill that gap, “I decided to put all my passions and talents to use.”
Kuras has long been an animal lover. She started working in vet clinics a few years out of high school, and eventually, “One of our clients ran a rescue organization and asked if I would foster a litter of kittens, which I did, and haven’t stopped fostering cats and kittens since then,” she says.
That was nearly two decades ago.
Over the years, Kuras has worked with many rescue groups, both in and outside of Ohio, tackling every position from board member, to marketer, to adoption counselor.
Eat Purr Love is providing Kuras yet another way to show her love for felines. For the cat lover, to the renter who can’t have a pet, to the animal-lover with a house already full of four-legged friends, Kuras encourages guests to enjoy an hour of play at the cafe.
Guests will enter into the cafe space – an area where cats are not allowed to prevent some sly exits – where they can purchase coffee from a local roaster and goodies from Pattycake Bakery. Treats in hand, guests will head into the cat-friendly area with tables, couches, chairs and rugs optimal for some feline-human interaction.
About eight to 10 adult cats will call Eat Purr Love home full-time until they are adopted by cafe-goers. The cafe is not a space to bring personal pets, as Kuras says, “Your cat gets to stay home while you get to come and hang out with other cats,” but instead an opportunity for some loving felines to find new homes.
Eat Purr Love is working with the Capital Area Humane Society to supply its furry friends.
“I have been there on many occasions, and have always been impressed with their facility, and their organization, medical department, and all of the different programs that they provide for the community,” Kuras says of the reason why she chose the organization.
The cats will be spayed or neutered, up on vaccines, vet-check, micro-chipped and temperament tested. Eat Purr Love will limit the number of cats and humans that share the space to ensure a positive interaction for all. The cafe will take reservations – up to 16 in an hour – with guests paying $10 to play.
In addition to regular cafe hours, Eat Purr Love will offer a host of special events like yogats (yoga + cats), purrs and palettes (cats + painting) and movie nights with kids.
Kuras is also developing partnership opportunities with organizations like A Purrfect Start in Grove City and the Cat Welfare Association and Pets Without Parents, both in Clintonville. These groups can use the cafe free of charge for volunteer recruitment and various events and trainings.
“We’d also like to help them spread the word about the cats that they have for adoption at their facility or in their foster homes,” she says.
A process over a year in the making, Eat Purr Love has faced some interesting hurdles to realizing a cat cafe.
Being a totally new concept to Columbus, how to zone the property was a stumper.
“The only way they could classify the business is by defining it as an animal shelter,” Kuras says. “Not all retail is zoned for such a business, including this one.”
Eat Purr Love had to work with both the Clintonville Area Commission, which gave the cafe a unanimous go-ahead vote, and the City of Columbus on zoning.
“The City of Columbus was also definitely very supportive and extremely helpful,” Kuras says.
Eat Purr Love is setting up shop in Clintonville largely because the interest the community has expressed. When Kuras started the social media page for the concept about a year ago, “I realized really quickly Clintonville was definitely the most supportive,” she says.
Many hours scouring neighborhoods and making calls eventually heeded to the Indianola Avenue location. Large windows for a feline street view, space for a human-free zone for the cats to unwind, and more importantly a cat-friendly landlord made it the ideal location.
Look for Eat Purr Love to open in July. For more information, visit eatpurrlovecatcafe.com.