With fall officially here, the Meowtropolitan Cat Café is a popular place to relax and enjoy the rain. Located in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle, the café is a partnership between Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC), located in Kent, and two private owners. Officially opened in December 2015, the café has been an instant success. Some weekends are even booked full with reservations, which are needed to visit and enter the ‘Cat Lounge.’
Cats are fostered from the RASKC Pet Adoption Center, and hang out in a separate area, behind a glass wall. Visitors can relax in the café area, or make a 50 minute reservation for $10, which includes a beverage, and spend time with the cats in the lounge area.
Definitely an interesting venture, the space holds about 20 cats, all selected for their healthy, social personalities. Since January, over 50 cats have been adopted by community members, highlighting how the project has been successful for the business owners, as well as RASKC. Six cats have even become permanent café residents, providing consistent play time for visitors. Overall, the partnership has been a great idea.
“Having this big, colony room gives cats the free space to roam,” said Nickie Ford, Animal Services Coordinator with RASKC. “It reduces each cat’s stress level, which means less medical care.”
“We’re spending less money and keeping animals healthy and happy so they get adopted.”
The project has become a win-win, an illustration of best-run government at work. It serves as a creative example of King County’s innovation and community partnerships, while also bringing adoptable animals right to potential owners. Even the cafe staff enjoy the opportunity to work in such a non-traditional environment.
“I actually work to support six of our offsite facilities, which includes the café and the Kirkland Petco facility,” said Nickie. “So I support volunteer leads and help with animal care and administrative items while they do the day-to-day stuff.”
“It’s a positive image for King County. It can change an animal’s life and make an impact on customers and staff.”
Ensuring every cat is ‘healthy and happy’ is part of an ongoing process. Nickie and other RASKC staff work to understand each animal’s needs and prepare them for loving, forever homes.
“For us, a lot of the work is continuous improvement, and how can we make the animals’ lives better,” said Nickie. “We get to the root of the problem, in health or behavior, and address them.”
“This makes such a positive difference on the cats’ outward behavior.”
Taking the time to get to know each animal has indeed paid off. The cats are friendly and comfortable around people. So much so, that the café has actually started holding ‘Yoga with Cats’ sessions every Tuesday. Customers can pay $20 for an hour-long yoga session and a cup of tea, surrounded by curious cats.
At the main RASKC facility, staff are just as dedicated to the well-being of each animal, even going so fat as to create a cat patio area, or ‘catio,’ which was recently featured on Univision’s 9 part RASKC series.
Nickie sums up how taking the time to connect with every animal is what has made adoption rates rise and inventive partnerships, like the Meowtropolitan Cat Café, possible.
“This environment makes them more adoptable because you get to see their personality, but the best part of this place is it just makes it feel like home for the cats.”
The Meowtropolitan Cat Café is located in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle. The cat lounge is open for reservations Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Visit their website for more information.
To find out more about the amazing ways RASKC is changing animal care and adoption here in King County, visit their blog, Tails from RASKC.