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Ohio Life

Eat, Purr, Love

Cats plus coffee equals Columbus’ newest destination for feline fans. 

If sipping a cup of java while petting a friendly feline sounds like your kind of combo, head to Columbus’ Clintonville neighborhood where the Eat Purr Love Cat Cafe has been open since September. Billed as the first of its kind in Ohio, the cafe doubles as a cat adoption center. So, if you fall in love with the cat you’ve befriended, you can take it home. 

Owner Chrissy Kuras has a long career in animal rescue and is passionate about it. She’ll tell you that for every person in the U.S. there are seven cats and dogs needing homes, making June — National Cat Adoption Month — the perfect time to take in one of her tenants. Kuras loves watching the cats interact with her cafe’s guests, who come from all over the state, not just Columbus. 

“They walk in and say things like ‘A place to just hang out with cats? This is the best day of my life,’ ” Kuras says.

She explains that the cat cafe concept originated in Taiwan in 1998. Next, Japan embraced the idea, with 98 cafes opening between 2005 and 2010. In 2014, a three-day, pop-up cat cafe opened in New York City. “Lines went out the door and around the block,” Kuras says. “It proved cat cafes could take hold here.”

The first permanent cat cafe in the U.S. opened in Oakland, California, later in 2014, and others began appearing in the Midwest in the last couple years. In fact, Kitty Brew Cat Cafe in Mason opened in April, and Dayton’s Gem City Catfe is set to open this summer.

Visitors to Eat Purr Love Cat Cafe purchase coffee and baked goods at a counter just inside the entrance, then step through a set of doors to the area where the cats roam freely. Tables and chairs, as well as comfy sofas, are on hand for human guests, but the place is designed with cats in mind — lots of nooks to snuggle in, places to climb and plenty of perches up high, including an elevated “catwalk” to a window where the felines can watch their visitors arriving.

Enticements to attract the cats’ attention are strewn here and there: mouse toys, laser lights, feather wands, kitty treats and even soap bubbles laced with catnip. The cafe’s cats come from the Capital Area Humane Society, so they’ve already been screened as friendly.

About a dozen reside at Eat Purr Love at any one time, with human visitors restricted to the same number — making it wise to reserve your visit in advance. The cafe also closes from 2 to 4 p.m. each afternoon, so the felines can unwind and, yes, take catnaps. 

3041 Indianola Ave., Columbus 43202, 614/852-3521, eatpurrlovecatcafe.com

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