Friday, January 22, 2016

Hello, Kitties: The Paws That Refreshes

*Warning: Here be cat puns. If you cannot make dreadful, labored, and timeworn puns in an article about a cat cafe, when can you?

There's a new kit in town: it's Seattle's first cat cafe, Seattle Meowtropolitan, and it's located in Wallingford kittycorner to Archie McPhee's.

I met two friends there for coffee on a rainy Thursday afternoon.

Since moving to the suburbs, meeting friends for coffee is a rare event, unlike the reflex reaction automatic default it was in the city, where I couldn't step outside without tripping over the threshold of a coffee shop.

So I would probably have driven for much more than an hour to meet friends for coffee even if the cafe was boasting a playroom full of death adders.

At Seattle Meowtropolitan, ten dollars buys you a tasty coffee drink of your choice and 50 minutes in the cat room, which houses a dozen or more cats at a time.

I ordered a Meowca. I didn't ask for an extra chat, but I'm sure you could. The purristas were very friendly.

(Reservations must be made in advance because the number of humans is limited, and no one under age 8 is allowed in the cat room. However, you can also drop in to have coffee in the shop and just gaze through the window at the cats.)

There is a sign on the door to the cat room explaining the byclaws of the establishment and that you enter it knowing that you will encounter...cats. This would seem self-evident, but remember, this is America, land of litigation. You can't be too careful.

In the cat room, there are felines, nothing more than felines. And loads of cat toys. And wonderful structures for cats to climb, explore, and snooze on.

There are a few tables and benches for both humans and cats. We pussyfooted around the room, careful not to step on tails or toys, and visited kitties of all stripes and no stripes.

The cats come from a local shelter, and most are adoptable (there are a few resident cats). It's a great strategy for showcasing cats' individual qualities--the cats at Seattle Meowtropolitan were content and very much at ease.

If I didn't have two easily outraged cats and a boisterous dog at home, I'd probably have come home with this elderly orange tabby, who was grateful for a neck rub and rolled sideways to get a belly rub. Its back felt like a craggy mountain range beneath its thick fur, and it's nice to know this kitty will enjoy a pleasant retirement lounging on a sheepskin and basking in attention.

Some cats, like this big gray sleeping at head height, were not in the mood to have their naps interrupted, but they didn't get all fussed about it--they just gave you That Look.

The youngest cat, a cute little gray girl with white paws, was exhausted after a hard morning of playing.

An attractively marked calico exhibited an obsession with burrowing into piles of jackets and snuggling among them.

Another young cat preferred to do battle from a high perch.

This orange tabby knew how to sit on command and offer up either his left or right paw when asked. He was also clever enough to do whatever he pleased to get a treat when the treat-provider wasn't the cat-room employee.

The cats have plenty of places to escape from human attention so they don't get overwhelmed. There are boxes...

...and an off-limits "cats only" area in the back.

You can ponder the world according to cats in the bathroom...

...and there are also delectable treats to purchase in the cafe (you don't have to sit on command or raise your right paw to acquire them, though it would be polite if you refrained from jumping on the table to eat them).

We had a purr-fectly lovely time, of course, and it's definitely one of Seattle's most a-mews-ing coffee shops. And I'm not kitten around. I'm sure Abyssnian some friends there again.