By Adriana Dos Santos and Gabrille Torna
If you’re looking for a cup of coffee and a new fur baby, look no further—The Cat’s Meow Café has you covered.
The café was created by Elizabeth Gallardo in partnership with Miami-Dade Animal Services to reduce the number of homeless cats.
It officially opened on March 7—the grand opening was delayed until June 27 because of the coronavirus pandemic—and features an open space concept outfitted with cat trees, colorful rugs, cat mazes, tunnels and plush seating areas.
The gift shop sells face masks, T-shirts, coffee mugs and stickers with the café’s logo. And its snack bar includes gluten-free vegan cookies from Courtney’s Cookies and beverages like Panther Cold Brew, Rise Nitro Coffee, Radiate Kombucha, tea and sodas.
“In my opinion, cats are the best pets and are too often misunderstood,” Gallardo said. “I want to break that stigma, starting with our local community. I hope to inspire and create groups of individuals who take their love for cats and turn it into advocacy.”
Gallard started planning for The Cat’s Meow Café two years after graduating with an associate’s degree in marketing management-entrepreneurship from Miami Dade College in 2015.
The shop’s Instagram page is full of heartwarming stories. One is about a seven-year-old blonde cat, Papo, described as a “chunk of love.” He was recently adopted after being abandoned by his old family. His new parents camped outside the store for 3 ½ hours for the opportunity to take him home.
Another features special-need siblings, Lily (who is blind) and Leo (who has an ocular condition). They were adopted last week.
According to Gallardo, more than 75 cats have found new homes thanks to the café.
“The Cat’s Meow Café [is] a cat café with the purpose of providing a rich environment for adoptable cats looking for a forever home,” Gallardo said. “We are really excited to continue our mission in being able to provide an experience that helps foster positive relationships between humans and cats.”
There is a $35 adoption fee for each cat. It goes directly to Miami-Dade Animal Services and they have a two-for-one deal to encourage adopting siblings.
Potential adoptees include three-month old kittens, nine-year-old cats and some with special needs. The Cat’s Meow Café houses between 10 to 15 cats at a time. They are all spayed and neutered, microchipped, and receive age-appropriate tests and vaccinations.
“Animal Services is always looking for innovative partnerships,” said Flora Beal, a public information officer at Miami-Dade Animal Services. “[They] help us create new adoption venues where our shelter pets can find their new forever families.”
The Cat’s Meow Café is open Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. All visits are an hour long and cost $17 per person. They also offer private packages for families starting at $93.00 that allow you to have the cat lounge to yourself.
Safety measures at the café include the mandatory use of masks, floor markings to social distance and hand sanitation stations. A maximum of eight people are allowed into the cat lounge at a time (so online reservations are advised).
“Miami has over 300,000 homeless cats and it’s up to us to make a difference,” Gallardo said.
To schedule a visit to The Cat’s Meow Café, 7541 Biscayne Blvd., click here.