The first-ever cat cafe in the United States opened on October 25, 2014 on 28th St. & Broadway in downtown Oakland. As a dedicated cat lady for life, it's a dang miracle it took me until April to check this place out for myself! Cat Town Cafe is a nonprofit organization that works in partnership with Oakland Animal Services to help at-risk cats with socialization, adoption, and everything in between. Their ultimate goal is to get cats out of shelter cages and into loving forever homes.
The "Cat Zone" is full of what every cat dreams of. Cozy hand-built structures with lots of places to hide and snooze, plenty of sunny windowsills, fountain-style watering stations, and tons of human attention. This area is staffed by dedicated volunteers, one of which told me that due to Cat Town's appeal and growing social media presence, it has managed to adopt out more cats in six months than the local shelter had in an entire year. In fact, the survival rate of shelter cats in Oakland has risen to 80% since Cat Town's inception.
As you've probably gathered, my visit fell during nap time! On any given day, there are around 20 totally sweet, healthy, and ready to adopt cats peacefully coexisting in the Cat Zone. Cat Town was dreamt up by Ann Dunn, who acts as Founder and Executive Director, and local cat-hero Adam Myatt (a.k.a. The Cat Man of West Oakland/Hoodcats).
But wait, that's not all. The Cat Town storefront also has a pretty stellar coffee shop/gift shop next door. After you've enjoyed your kitty playtime, they'll whip up just about any fancy coffee drink you can imagine, and also offer some incredible (mostly kitten-themed!) baked goods from local artisans. My favs are the vegan strawberry orange PopTarts and the macarons.
I'd be doing you an disservice if I didn't also mention that if you visit on a Sunday, you'll experience "Sad Cat Sundays," where the baristas will draw hilarious emo-music/cat-pun drawings on your beverage! This place is seriously a cat lover's paradise in every way.