November 2, 2015
Posted in: Industry News

Austin's First Cat Cafe Opens

Most of the cats at Blue Cat cafe are up for adoption by the Austin Humane Society.

Most of the cats at Blue Cat cafe are up for adoption by the Austin Humane Society.

Where can you go to have a hot dog, a macchiato, some vegan barbecue and adopt a cat? Why, Blue Cat Cafe, of course. Combining Austin culinary arts and the love of furry felines, Austin’s first cat cafe opened to the public Oct. 17 at 1400 E. Cesar Chavez Street. Kickstarter backers gained early access beginning Oct. 12.

The process
The process of opening Blue Cat Cafe has been headline news in Austin since the launch of its Kickstarter. Cafe owner Rebecca Gray began the campaign in February, looking to raise $60,000 for renting a space, renovations, insurance and the necessary permits.

In addition to the Kickstarter, Gray hosted cat-petting pop-up events and pedicabbed during South By Southwest to fund Blue Cat Cafe. When all was said and done, $62,553 was raised by April and dreams of a place where you can hang out and pet cats while enjoying some local cuisine started to become a reality.

“This concept is like you can come, you pet a cat, you can surf the Internet, and do all the things you do at a cafe with cats,” Gray told Austin Eater. “If you fall in love with a cat and you can take him in, of course. We would love that and we’ll have that process available through the rescue that that cat comes from.”

Gray is also passionate about supporting small and local businesses, so all of the consignment, food and coffee at the Blue Cat Cafe is supplied by Austin-area businesses.

The food
Blue Cat Cafe serves “cat dogs,” sandwiches, Tex-Mex street-style food and coffeehouse fares like brewed coffee, lattes and teas. Local food truck BBQ Revolution parks behind the cafe as well, serving 100 percent vegan barbecue.

If you’re leery about the concept of eating food around cats, the patio is completely cat-free with tables available.

The cats
According to Austin Eater, the feline residents of the Blue Cat Cafe from the Austin Humane Society were brought to the the cafe Oct. 7. They had ample time to adjust to the space, which includes a kitty superhighway along the walls, cat beds and a cat tree, before local cat lovers came to hang out.

The cats at the cafe are identified by three colored collars: cats with blue collars, Gollum and Balthazar, are den mothers and permanently live at the cafe. They aren’t up for adoption. Red-collared cats have been reserved for adoption and are waiting to be taken home, and green-collared cats are available for adoption.

To enter Blue Cat Cafe, there is a $5 fee to hang out as long as you want. This money is used to care for the cats. Owners just ask that patrons don’t harass the cats and only play with them if they want to be played with.

HBO’s “Entourage” star Adrian Grenier has even stopped by and hung out with Sally, one of the cafe’s adoptable cats. So, if you want to adopt a cat with A-List celebrity status, head over to Blue Cat Cafe.