Find your feline fix at Papa’s Cat Café

Papa’s Cat Café caters to many different crowds of people who, in the end, just want to spend some time with cats.

Columbia’s first cat cafe is here. Whether you’re a cat lover, a coffee connoisseur, or a true book worm, Papa’s Cat Café is your next destination. Papa’s Cat Café is located just minutes from downtown Columbia, attracting both native Columbians and students alike. The cafe has a substantial variety of coffee and pastry offerings from Fretboard Coffee, a local coffee shop in Columbia. Time in the cat room can be booked for half an hour or by the hour. Hour long reservations for the cat room at just $10 also include a complimentary cup of coffee. Customers can also watch the cats through a large window with bar seating from the cafe while they enjoy their coffee. Yellow Dog Bookshop, another local downtown business, supplies books for customers to read in the cafe.

Papa’s Cat Café partners with Boone County Animal Care to provide anywhere from 12 to 20 friendly cats that can also be adopted from the cafe. The cafe also has two resident cats that are not available for adoption. BCAC is a local non-profit dedicated to finding perfect homes for cats and kittens. BCAC also focuses on education as well as spaying/neutering to limit the overpopulation of cats in the community.

The cafe is inspired by the widely popular cat cafes in Seoul, South Korea. Ryan Kennedy, founder, visited Seoul in 2016 and was struck by the idea to open a cat cafe in Columbia. Kennedy and his wife, MacKenzie Everett-Kennedy, launched a Kickstarter in December of 2017 with a goal of $15,000. The Kickstarter raised $15,865 in 13 months. The Kennedy family used the funds to find a location that would allow them to have a large amount of cats as well as to create the necessary construction to house both a cat playroom and a cafe. The cat room is separated by a double door from the cafe and the two areas also have separate HVAC units.

The playroom is perfect for both the cats and customers. It’s a spacious area with many options for the cats to sleep, scratch, play and, of course, interact with humans. You can enjoy your coffee in the playroom after a waiver is signed. Papa’s only allows up to 20 guests into the cat room at one time, so they prefer a reservation in advance.

Papa’s Cat Café got its namesake from Kennedy’s daughter, who calls him Papa. It was also inspired by Kennedy’s favorite author, Ernest Hemingway, who was nicknamed Papa by his fishing friends. The author was also a cat lover and owned a six-toed, or polydactyl, cat. The decor and some of the pastry items are inspired by Hemingway and his love for cats and Spain.

Papa’s Cat Café is located at 14 S. 2nd St. and is open Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The cafe is closed on Sundays and Mondays for cat recuperation time.

Edited by Siena DeBolt |

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