Orlando Cat Cafe celebrates grand opening

Photo by: Alyssa McComb The Orlando Cat Cafe held its grand opening on September 8 at noon in Clermont. The cafe brought together animal adoption service The Animal League and Axum Coffee to create this new unique experience.  Photo by: Alyssa McComb The Orlando Cat Cafe held its grand opening on September 8 at noon in Clermont. The cafe brought together animal adoption service The Animal League and Axum Coffee to create this new unique experience.

Cats and coffee.

Me-ow.

The Orlando Cat Cafe opened yesterday afternoon in Clermont to a crowd of cat and coffee lovers alike.

Located at 532 Cagan Park Ave., the Cat Cafe doubles as a coffee lounge and cat playroom.

“It’s just so cool to come here and be able to play with the cats,” Orlando Cat Cafe’s first customer Matt Eppurson said.

Photo by: Alyssa McComb Matt Eppurson (pictured left) and Shelby Norris (pictured right) cuddle with a furry feline at the grand opening of the Orlando Cat Cafe in Clermont. Eppurson and Norris were the first guests to play with adoptable cats on September 8. Photo by: Alyssa McComb Matt Eppurson (pictured left) and Shelby Norris (pictured right) cuddle with a furry feline at the grand opening of the Orlando Cat Cafe in Clermont. Eppurson and Norris were the first guests to play with adoptable cats on September 8.

As a project to help cats find new owners, founder Sandra Cagan collaborated with pet adoption service The Animal League and Axum Coffee to make the Orlando Cat Cafe a reality.

After 20 months of labor, the one of a kind cafe opened its doors. “A project of this size does not happen without the support of many, many people,” Cagan said during her opening speech outside the cafe.

Photo by: Alyssa McComb Sandra Cagan (pictured left), the creator of Orlando Cat Cafe and Jessica Whitehouse (pictured right), the director of development at The Animal League cut the ceremonial ribbon at the Cat Cafe's grand opening. Photo by: Alyssa McComb Sandra Cagan (pictured left), the creator of Orlando Cat Cafe and Jessica Whitehouse (pictured right), the director of development at The Animal League cut the ceremonial ribbon at the Cat Cafe’s grand opening.

Patrons can enter the Axum Coffee shop, grab a or latte or muffin, check in and potentially adopt a cat from The Animal League in the next room.

Customers do not have to interact with the cats, however. With coffee in hand, they can observe the felines from the viewing window.

The play area is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday; cafe area, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for children.

Photo by: Alyssa McComb Initial onlookers peek through a glass window to get a first look at the adoptable cats. Photo by: Alyssa McComb Initial onlookers peek through a glass window to get a first look at the adoptable cats.

In order to adopt a cat, customers must fill out an application, which can be approved within hours or days, Animal League volunteer Chris Sims said.

“We’re looking for certain things in the application that say you’ll be a good cat owner. For instance, if you have a vet you’re already familiar with,” Sims said.

There is an adoption fee, as well, that goes to different charities, Animal League director of development Jessica Whitehouse said. “Those who adopt cats with a “H” next to their nametag are donating to Have A Heart Foundation, and those who adopt cats with a “N” next to their names are donating to the Sunshine Fund, which helps pay for any animals [held at The Animal League] that have medical issues.”

Whether customers want to play with cats or simply grab a cup of cat-inspired lattes and go, The Orlando Cat Cafe is the cat’s meow.

Photo by: Alyssa McComb Guests can request a cat latte of any flavor in the coffee lounge, while others play with adoptable kittens in the next room over. On September 8, lattes were made by barista Abby Lancaster.  Photo by: Alyssa McComb Guests can request a cat latte of any flavor in the coffee lounge, while others play with adoptable kittens in the next room over. On September 8, lattes were made by barista Abby Lancaster.