[Photos: Patricia Chang]
Over the weekend, Oakland's Cat Town Cafe gently pawed open the doors of America's first cat cafe, beating San Francisco's own feline-friendly lounge KitTea and New York's temporary Purina-sponsored pop-up to the milk bowl in the process.
Eater took a look around the playful new space during the grand opening on Saturday. Due to stateside health codes, the cafe is actually split into two areas: the cafe with coffee by Oakland's own Bicycle Coffee. and the all-important Cat Zone, which features various Oakland landmarks rendered as cat-sized play spaces in front of a backdrop of colorful cat-centric murals. (Get your claws out for the scratch-able cardboard BART train.)
In the Cat Zone, adoptable felines are free to roam while they either cuddle up with or just completely ignore the human clientele. Human visitors can linger for up to an hour and walk-ins are welcome, but a $10 donation to Cat Town will reserve your feline playtime while also supporting the group's rescue efforts.
In addition to providing caffeine and playtime to catless East Bay residents, the cafe collaboration between Oakland Animal Services, Cat Town founder Ann Dunn and "the Cat Man of West Oakland" Adam Myatt expands existing shelter space and gives the resident felines a relatively free range environment until they find a permanent home.
For now, the coffee shop hours are Wednesday-Sunday from 8am-7pm, with the Cat Zone open from 10am-7pm.
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