A small non-profit business with a unique concept is opening in St. Elmo on March 9. The Naughty Cat Café at 3742 Tennessee Avenue, the former location of Blockbuster Video, is all about benefiting homeless kittens and cats.
It’s not really a café, said co-owner Heath Hanson, no food will be prepared on site, only pre-packaged baked goods from local vendors such as Mama Crunk’s Pies and Cupcake Kitchen, will be sold.
The visitation fee of $14.20 includes a non-alcoholic drink from a coffee and tea bar.
Beer will be available for purchase. Mr. Hanson said there are 150 such businesses in the country and he found that the most successful ones offered alcoholic beverages. Beer sales are expected to be less than five percent of the revenue and the atmosphere will be family friendly, but he said he would do anything to increase the likelihood that the cats will be adopted. This includes being open six days a week to be available to the community. It will close on Mondays.
The goal is to help cats find a forever home and promote the importance of spay and neuter of animals. The café will operate as a big foster home for cats that come from local animal shelters such as the Humane Educational Society and Pet Placement Center. There will be 15-20 cats there at any given time, all ready to be adopted. Paperwork can be handled at Naughty Cat on behalf of the shelter that the animal comes from and 100 percent of the adoption fees will go to that shelter. The only profit for the owners will be if someone buys a tee-shirt, said Mr. Hanson.
The entrance fee will allow visitors to play games, read and work with the available free Wi-Fi all while having coffee with a cat in your lap. The location will also hold special events such as Yoga with Cats, Date and Game Nights and “Caturday” Morning Cartoons. And the café will be available to rent as a venue for private parties such as birthdays, bachelorette or baby showers.
In addition to benefiting the cats, the Naughty Cat Café is also seen as a benefit for overloaded shelters, people looking to adopt a cat, renters who cannot have pets, and senior citizens.
“We don’t do it for the money,” says the website naughtycatcafe.com, “but we can’t do it without it.” The money from the entrance fees help pay for overhead and supplies. Mr. Hanson told the beer board members that he and his partner Whitney Sickels had mortgaged their farm to raise the money needed to open the café. “I applaud you for putting your money where your heart is,” said Beer Board Member Dan Mayfield.
A consumer beer license was granted unanimously by the City Beer Board with wishes that the venture is successful.
Alimentari Chattanooga, 801 Chestnut St. opened last year and currently has consumer and caterer beer permits. The restaurant only caters events that take place in the new Westside entertainment district. The business will expand into a newly vacant space where a neighbor in the building left. A new beer license was given to the General Manager Javier Ramos that will allow beer sales in the new space that will become a tapas bar.