The cats are finally out of the bag so to speak as Papa’s Cat Café in Columbia officially opened its doors on July 31.
It took owners Ryan and MacKenzie Kennedy less than a year to open central Missouri’s first cat café, beginning the process just last November. After announcing their plans online, they soon realized there was a lot of interest in the business with 248 donations to their Kickstarter campaign.
“We actually, in our family, have a cat from Boone County Animal Care and we love cats,” said Stephanie Roberts, who lives in Jefferson City and was one of the cafe’s biggest Kickstarter donors. “And there is a need for more availability to be able to see the cats. You can’t go to a shelter and see them in a kennel, they’re not showing their personality, so that’s pretty much why I wanted to be a part of it.”
The Kennedys were also delighted to see Columbia’s small business community reach out to them with support.
“One of the things I really want to emphasize is Columbia’s small business community has really just swooped in and said, ‘Let’s do this together.’” MacKenzie explained. “Even people who aren’t necessarily related to our business are giving us lots of advise and that’s why I think Columbia’s small businesses are just so successful.”
The café currently works with Yellow Dog Book Shop to help make the space a literary destination that matches the cafe’s Ernest Hemingway theme; Fretboard Coffee, who have dedicated multiple hours to training the Kennedys and baristas on how to properly brew their coffee beverages; and Lizzi and Rocco’s Natural Pet Food Market, who provide them with high quality food and litter that benefits the cats and eliminates any bad aromas in the play room.
A majority of the café’s cats are adoptable through their partnership with Boone County Animals Care.
“BCAC always works under the philosophy of what you’re really doing is filling out a survey because they want to make sure that the cat goes to a home that’s going to fit, and they also want to make sure that you get the right cat for you,” Ryan said. “If multiple people fill out a submission for the same cat, it’s not a first come, first serve; they’ll really make sure that out of the pool they’re picking the right person.”
They also have three permanent resident cats: Frankie, a 4-year-old female who will love to sit on your lap, Corde, a playful 1-year-old female, and Pedro, an 8-month-old male poly-dactyl (seven-toed) cat that can also be referred to as a Hemingway cat.
Guests can purchase time in the cat play room with discounts for kids and a free coffee for online reservations. Originally planning to have 12 cats in the playroom, the caf. was approved to increase their numbers and will have 15 to 20 cats in the playroom at all times. You can also enjoy some adult beverages with the furry felines by taking part in the cafe’s BYOB for a small corkage fee.
Papa’s Cat Café is open from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and hosts book club events every month for adults and children. To find more information about the café and their cats you can visit papascatcafe.com and find updates on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/papascatcafe.