If you prefer your cafe to be crawling with kitties, Murfreesboro’s Georgetown Park Shopping Center now houses the purrrfect place for cat people to sip coffee while visiting with new feline friends.
Taura and Curtis Byrd opened Catfeine Cat Cafe in April 2019, and said the community response has been fantastic over the first couple of months of operations.
“It’s always fun to see how happy people are when they come in,” Taura said. “It’s great therapy.”
Some will first look at the business model with skepticism; “you have to pay to come in and pet cats?” they question.
But almost all who enter will soon have smiles on their faces as they get drawn into the cute kitty world.
Guests first enter the cafe area of the establishment, where a variety of coffee, snacks and cat-themed gear and merch is available. Then, after arranging to purchase a block of time in the main area, through another door visitors will find the cat hangout—a large living room-like place, with lots of comfortable seating, a huge mural along one wall depicting Tennessee and cat imagery, various cat toys, tunnels, perches, climbing trees and beds, and at any given time about a dozen felines roaming around and doing what cats do.
“We try to cap it at 10–12 people,” Taura said. She’ll often have to help patrons schedule another time to visit the cafe, to avoid the room’s human to cat ratio getting off balance.
About five years ago the Byrds learned of the cat cafe idea on Shark Tank, she said.
Taura and Curtis decided to bring the concept to Murfreesboro, or “Meowfreesboro,” as she and her cat friends like to call the town.
Now, fully in operation and having just celebrated its official grand opening, patrons can purchase time for a visit to Catfeine. A half-hour visit with the kitties is $7.
For a facility with many cats running around, it smells quite pleasant in there.
“We had a huge exhaust system put in,” Byrd said.
All of the litter boxes are in a private area in the back, where the cats can access them through a small pet door.
While many guests seem to have a great time playing with all of the Catfeine cats for a brief time and heading home, the mission behind the establishment is to place some of the cats it takes in into permanent homes.
The facility partners with many different shelters and animal rescues in the Middle Tennessee area.
“We are not the rescue,” Byrd stresses. “We act as a temporary foster home.”
Catfeine does provide a warm, comfortable environment where potential future cat owners can interact with adoptables in a home-like setting.
“When we get the cats, they have already been fully vetted,” Byrd said.
And if a patron shows an interest in claiming a cat, the Catfeine crew will connect them with the corresponding rescue where the cat came from. Each rescue has its own application, fees and adoption process. Generally, the adoption fee for a cat is around $85
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“When you get a cat here, they have had all of their vaccinations and all have been spayed and neutered,” Byrd said.
Catfeine has already helped find homes for 22 cats in its first two months of operation, Byrd said, as visitors commented on two little black and white kittens.
“They were pulled from a euthanization list in Tipton County,” she said.
Adding to the fun, Byrd plans for Catfeine to soon host trivia and open-mic nights and other activities. The establishment has already hosted some yoga sessions alongside the cats.
Catfeine Cat Cafe is located at 1602 W. Northfield Blvd. #500. Find more information at catfeine.net.