Updated, 5:58 p.m.
Pittsburgh’s first cat cafe, Colony, opens Thursday.
What do you do at this Strip District cat cafe, you ask? Drink wine. Drink coffee. Pay $8 to visit a loft where you can snuggle cats that are available for adoption.
Yes. This is real.
During the day, you can visit a coffee bar on the first floor, which has a full menu with daily lunch specials, soup and sandwich melts. After 4:30 p.m., candles are lit, and the ambiance shifts to a full-service wine bar with servers.
Photographs of famous people posing with their favorite felines decorate a downstairs wall.
Stairs take you to the glass-enclosed cat loft. You have to sign a waiver and pay $8 per hour to get up there. Colony, 1125 Penn Ave., encourages online reservations, as only ten people are allowed in the loft at a time. It’s open Tuesday through Saturday.
The cat loft is home to 10 adoptable cats from Animal Friends. They are spayed/neutered, microchipped and have all of their shots.
“We think of ourselves as a permanent foster home,” Colony Cafe co-owner Erik Hendrickson said. “They can live here as long as we’re here.”
Animal Friends will continue fostering adoptable cats with the Colony Cafe when others find new homes.
“This is a nice environment to meet and socialize with a cat before adoption,” Erik Hendrickson said.
A cat loft manager (with experience as a veterinary technician) oversees the loft. If customers want food or drinks while they visit with cats, the cat loft manager will serve you with disposable paper plates and cups. Customers can’t bring food or drink from the downstairs cafe up to the loft and vice-versa.
And, no, the cats aren’t actually allowed in the cafe area. But you can see them from below, like here, where cafe co-owner Sue Hendrickson plays with one of the adoptable cats.
“We offer people a nice way to destress during your day. Studies show petting a cat can reduce your heart rate.” Erik Hendrickson said.
The cats even have a special entrance and exit to their litter box area.