“Time spent with cats is never wasted.” – Sigmund Freud
“What exactly is a ‘cat café’?” One might ask.
Typically, a cat café comes with two components – a coffee shop in one area, and a cat sanctuary in another. Customers pay in the café area and, if they wish, they can bring in their beverage or food into the cat area, and play with the cats.
Could there be a more purrrfect combination?
It might be surprising to note that Regina has not one, but two cat cafés that opened within months of each other last year. I had the pleasure of visiting both of these this past weekend, each with its own clowder of cuddly, curious, comical, cute cats.
Excalipurr Cat Café on 2156 Albert Street, opened their doors in December of 2017 and has since has found homes for almost a whopping fifty cats with Regina Cat Rescue. Excalipurr boasts a very brightly lit and cozy cat room, complete with blankets, warm chairs, and sparkly lights, where six or seven lazy cats bask in the attention and loving admiration of worshippers … erm …. customers. Usually, there are ten or so cats in the play area, but it’s proving to be so popular that they are adopting out more cats faster than they can replace.
Excalipurr charges $3 for 45 minutes and offers a walk-in special where you can spend 90 minutes with the cats for only $5, as per availability. It is suggested that you book an appointment before going, especially on the weekends, as there is a limit for how many people can be in the cat room. Even cats need their quiet time!
Across the city is VegaBoo Cat Haven, at 3211 Eastgate Drive, which boasts an all vegan-friendly menu, including power bowls, daily specials, smoothies, mylkshakes (a dairy-free milkshake alternative), coffee, fresh doughnuts and much more.
They have had equal success with adoptions as Excalipurr, with the cats at VegaBoo coming from the Regina Humane Society. These cats have an endless supply of toys, window perches, couches, cozy chairs, and humans to play with, and certainly seem to be enjoying a haven of their own.
It is magical to know these cats have found food, water, a warm place to sleep, and loads of cuddles and pets every day as they wait for the moment they get to go home with their special human. Many of these cats have had difficult journeys getting to this point and all of them are ready to find their “furrever home”.
General admission for VegaBoo is $5 per person.
Both cafés ask that, as difficult as it might be, not to pick up the cats. While some kitties love the never-ending wave of affection, some are timid and prefer not to be handled or picked up. With hundreds of patrons coming in each day, it can be exhausting for the cats, and sometimes they just want to sleep and not be picked up and smooched. Can you blame them?
Both cafés also organize birthday parties, with Vegaboo offering custom, in-house created “cat cakes”. These cakes use a photograph of your favourite cat and decorate the cake to look just like them.
Vegaboo also operates a program that brings in senior citizens from local retirement homes so that they can spend time with the cats. Studies show that the spontaneity of animals can help senior citizens live longer, happier lives and that the inclusion of these kinds of events are beneficial to both people and animals alike.
Due to the popularity of both cafés, they require people to book appointments ahead of time, which can simply be done by phone or on their website or Facebook page. Weekends are the busiest times to visit, but mornings and earlier in the week is best in order to maximize the amount of time you can spend with the cats. If you don’t book an appointment, they might be able to squeeze you in, but it isn’t uncommon to be turned away at the door.
With Valentines Day behind us and several more weeks of winter ahead, now is the perfect time to snuggle up with a cup of something hot and enjoy the company of a cat, or two, or three, or four … and who knows … you might just come home with one.