Norfolk’s first cat cafe is one paw closer to spring opening

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Catnip Cat Cafe, coming to 2200 Colonial Avenue in Ghent this spring. (Courtesy of Catnip Cat Cafe)
Catnip Cat Cafe, coming to 2200 Colonial Avenue in Ghent this spring. (Courtesy of Catnip Cat Cafe)

NORFOLK – After months of searching, Norfolk’s first cat cafe has found a home in Ghent.

Opening this spring at 2200 Colonial Ave., Catnip Cat Cafe will mix business and pleasure by allowing visitors to a nip of coffee while cats – all of which will be adoptable – roam the room.

Freeda Steele, the cafe’s owner, said the surge in similar cafes across the country is no surprise. Customers can visit the cafe and interact with up to a dozen cats, and if they meet one they really like, they can take it home.

Steele said the environment of a cat cafe is ideal for customers and kittens alike.

It’s a no-brainer,” Steele said. “I personally believe it’s the future of animal adoptions.”

By letting the cats wander freely, visitors will be able to get a better sense of each cat’s unique personality, allowing for a better match for hopeful adopters. Steele said guests can bring a book along and relax in the purr-fect setting or partake in planned activities including yoga, crafts or paint and movie nights.

All of the cafe’s resident kittens will come from local shelters. Steele said she hopes to adopt out as many as 100 each year.

Whatever the case, Steele said each experience will be “cat-centric.”

“There’s definitely going to be lots of toys for cats and climbing furniture, things that they can play on,” Steele said.

Visitors will pay an admission to enter the cafe, but Steele expects that many curious customers will be frequent visitors. She said she plans to have monthly, yearly and student passes for the biggest feline fans.

Catnip Cat Cafe is on track to open this spring. Visit the website for more information.