The arrival of Sacramento’s cat cafe has taken longer than expected. But the hopeful grand opening promises wine, coffee and cats all under one roof.
Capital Cat Cafe, which was expected to open this winter, is now planning an October opening. Co-owner Emalee Ousley submitted a conditional use permit to the city’s planning division last week, checking off a major step in the process for opening her business, which she founded with her mom Laura Ousley.
“We know it’s been taking a little longer than people have expected — it’s taking longer than we expected,” Emalee Ousley said. “We just want people to hang on and have faith in us that we’re going to get this going.”
Where will Sacramento’s cat cafe open?
The mother and daughter duo partnered on the venture after spending years in customer service. They wanted to try something new and introduce this idea to their hometown.
“During the pandemic, we wanted a change of pace, and this is something we’ve been dreaming about and talking about for the last 15 years,” 26-year-oldEmalee Ousley said.
In November, the Ousleys secured a lease for a building at 701 16th St.
The quiet, residential spot is an attraction,Emalee Ousley said, looking forward to opening in the developing area of midtown. She hopes people take advantage of the quiet, residential spot.
“My goal is to be someone’s first stop on their night,” she said. “You come and have a glass of wine and pet some cats and then you go out to dinner down the street on I street.”
Drinks in the cat room
Customers are welcome to play with meandering cats that are up for adoption in the cat room while sipping on the beverage of their choice. Coffee, beer and wine will be served at the establishment, which customers are also welcome to bring with them into the cat room.
The cafe intends to partner with local farms and bakeries to develop a small plates menu, including salads, pastries and even charcuterie boards for customers to snack on.
And like many other cat cafes (yes, there are several), Capital Cat Cafe will serve as an offsite foster facility for local shelters in the area. All cats in the room will be adoptable.
“Our goal is to increase the number of adoptions every year in the county as well as give people a nice, relaxing place to hang out,” Emalee Ousely, also a former barista, said.
Laura Ousley, who specializes in family therapy and said she witnesses firsthand the therapeutic nature of animals, hopes the space will be beneficial for college students who are homesick and may not have access to animals.
A rise in feline dining
Cat cafes have been popular over the last few years, with several establishments opening their doors across the country. In most cases, these cafes also partner with local shelters.
“Rescues still have cats in cages… and we want to be a part of that positive movement to give cats a better place to live while they’re finding their forever homes,” Laura Ousley said.
The first cat cafe in the US opened its doors in 2014 at Cat Town Cafe in Oakland, founded by two local cat lovers. The concept however originated initially in Taiwan, and the first shop, Cat Flower Garden, grew in popularity from tourists, according to reporting from Vice.
“I hope we are able to both develop a nice sense of community where people can come and relax,” Emalee Ousley said, “as well as appeal to some of that tourism that comes into Sacramento and be a nice draw to the area of midtown .”
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This story was originally published March 23, 2022 5:00 AM.