Earlier this month, Tinker’s Cat Cafe opened in Salt Lake City. The cafe offers a full espresso bar, local baked goods and a cat room.
“People can bring those goodies into what we call our Cat Lounge,” said Lisa Boone, the owner of Tinker's. “It’s a comfy environment for people to hang out in and just pet cats, play with cats, cozy up with cats, have a good time.”
Boone said cat cafes began in Japan in the 90s, but just started popping up in the United States a few years ago.
All the cats at Tinker’s come from the Salt Lake County Animal Shelter and are adoptable.
“We haven’t even been open a month and as of today, we hit adoption number 10,” Boone said. “It has surpassed my projection. I thought, 'Oh, I’d been happy with about five a month,' but we had double that.”
Boone said helping the cats at Tinker’s find permanent homes is the main purpose of the cafe. She says taking them from the shelter environment to the cafe aids that process.
“These cats, some of them are in cages in a back room area,” Boone said. “And so when they come into this cozy home environment they start to open up more.”
Beyond helping cats, Boone said there are animal-therapy benefits for people who visit the cafe.
“Cats don’t like loud things or fast movements and so people tend to go into the room and sit down and get comfortable and just kind of stop in their day and enjoy and relax,” Boone said.
For the wellbeing of the cats, the number of visitors in the cat lounge at one time is capped at 16. Reservations can be made online.