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KitTea, SF's First Cat Cafe, Clawing Towards Opening Date

Hayes Valley is about to become a cat oasis.

Patricia Chang

It may not have landed the title of America's or the Bay Area's first cat cafe (that honor went to Oakland's Cat Town Cafe), but Hayes Valley's forthcoming KitTea will still hold the honor of being the very first place in SF where you can both drink warm beverages and frolic with cats. Founders Courtney Hatt and Lisa Tsubouchi have officially commenced construction on their space at Gough and Page, with plans to debut KitTea in mid- to late April, if all goes according to plan. The best part is that all of KitTea's initial residents will likely be kittens, as the cafe's cat behavioral consultant thinks they'll have an easier time getting used to the space and each other. As they're adopted out, adult cats will begin to trickle in as well.

Like Cat Town, KitTea will be designed to get shelter cats adopted into permanent homes, and the cafe is teaming up with Give Me Shelter, a local nonprofit cat rescue organization, to access a pipeline of felines in need of some love. The Petco Foundation has also hopped on board, and will be sponsoring the construction of the cat recreation area (which is separated from the cafe to ensure cleanliness). Once an opening date has been chosen, an online reservation system for potential cat-petters will go up; spaces are limited to allow the cats to have a more relaxing experience. But if the prospect of KitTea already seems like catnip, you can sign up now to become a volunteer and help out with managing adoptions, transferring cats, and fostering future KitTea superstars.