The cat lovers of SF were more than a little excited about the announcement last week of plans for KitTea, San Francisco's very first cat cafe, and now it's official: we're in a cat cafe boom. Now, the East Bay is getting its own shot, with a second cat cafe, Cat Town Cafe, headed to Oakland. As the East Bay Express reports, Cat Town Cafe is the brainchild of Ann Dunn, the president of the Oakland cat rescue organization of the same name, and recording engineer/"Cat Man of West Oakland" Adam Myatt, and is intended to help rescue kitties find a home. Unlike KitTea, which will be a for-profit enterprise that adopts a permanent "staff" of rescue cats from shelters, Cat Town will be specifically designed to pair visitors with a potential cat to take home for good, from a rotating crew of people-friendly new admissions. They've even gotten local chain Pet Food Express, a longtime shelter supporter, signed on to pay their rent and cover food costs.
Myatt and Dunn envision dividing their space into two sections: a cat-free cafe with espresso drinks and light bites, and a "cat zone," equipped with hand-washing stations and a cage-free play area that allows humans to interact with the felines. (Drinking and pettting are traditionally intermingled in the original Japanese cat cafes, but American health codes mean KitTea and Cat Town will have to take a different tack.) The cats will be chosen from Oakland Rescue Services for their sociability and adoptability, and Myatt hopes to construct a "playland for cats" in the space featuring replicas of Oakland monuments (including cat beds shaped like the Port of Oakland cranes), with the help of feline behavioralists.
Unlike KitTea, which is still gearing up in terms of finding a location and getting funding, Cat Town Cafe has already dived into an Indiegogo campaign, with the hopes of raising $60K for the project. Donors can get a card good for 12 coffee or tea drinks ($15), or a private soft opening for a group of 8, including snacks, drinks, and kitty snuggles ($300). Myatt and Dunn are searching for a space on a main corridor like Broadway or Telegraph Avenue, though they're looking everywhere from Jack London Square up to 51st Street. Best of all, it's open to everyone: Cat Town visitors will be able to go and play with the cats for free, though they'll be subject to time limits without patronizing the cafe.