Just over a month ago, the Denver Cat Cafe arrived on Tennyson Street, offering the city's first cat cafe, and only the third in the country. Friends of felines have been flocking to the charming spot to spend time with the cats, sip on coffee and tea, or just get some work done.
From the start, cats have been brought in from Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue and are up for adoption, which has resulted in 13 kitties finding new homes. "We have settled into a pattern with new cats coming in on Sunday evenings, giving them Monday—our closed day—to adjust to the environment," says owner Sana Hamelin. "We have had great luck so far with cats integrating well into the cafe."
According to Hamelin, the overall reception to the cafe has been positive. "I had no idea what to expect in the way of daily visitors, and the interest has definitely exceeded my expectations," says Hamelin.
Though she initially resisted the idea of charging an entry fee, which is customary in most cat cafes around the world, Hamelin has decided to charge a $5 per person cover on Saturdays and Sundays, starting this week. However, there's no time limit and weekdays are still free.
"I thought that was a decent compromise between the two positions, and we'll see how it goes," Hamelin says. "Most people were very supportive and understanding, some even saying they were glad I was doing it. The business model is still evolving and I'm experimenting as I go. I expect there will be more changes as we continue to discover customer preferences."
Hamelin's next goals include opening up the space for more meet-up groups, offering guided meditation classes, and continuation of "Arts and Cats" group painting classes, in partnership with Teller Street Gallery. For $25, participants are provided with canvas and paint, and led by an instructor through an often-cat-themed work of art.
The brief menu of baked goods from Martine's Muffins, other packaged snacks, tea, cold bottled beverages, and drip coffee from Pueblo-based Solar Roast isn't likely to change, however Hamelin hopes to offer beer and wine at a potential second location in Boulder.
"It's in the earliest stages of planning right now, and we are looking for partners in the Boulder community," says Hamelin. "We plan on Boulder Cat Company offering beer and wine, and potentially also being a full-service coffee shop."