Cat Cafe Celebrates Successful First Year

San Diego's first and only Cat Cafe is wrapping up its first year in business by celebrating more than 100 cat adoptions.

"We're really stoked about that, it's about double what we expected," said cafe founder Tony Wang.

The cafe works with the San Diego Human Society to help clear its shelters. The Humane Society is at full capacity each year, with 30,000 animals.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for our friendly cats to get some extra socialization while they wait to get home," said the Humane Society's Stacy Archabault.

The Cat Cafe is also kicking off new programs, like cat yoga, to attract even more cat lovers. Wang says a Comic Con event was a huge success. On a recent weeknight, the cafe hosted its first Cats on Mats yoga class.

Wang brought the idea to San Diego from Taiwan and Japan, where cat cafes are extremely popular. He said San Diego's cafe gets a good mix of tourists and locals. Some people stop by on their work breaks.

One woman named Kat Lee (yes, that's her real first name) takes the trolley all the way from Chula Vista several times a week to visit the cat playpen.

"I just fall in love with every cat that comes here and just like playing with them." Lee said.

"I admire what he's doing here," cafe volunteer and self proclaimed feline fanatic Marcy Leftridge said about the cafe's founder.

Among the dozens of adoptions are some that Wang considers especially surprising. Tourists from Nebraska, Pennsylvania and the Bay Area have fallen in love with cats and taken them home.

Another success story? A cat named Primrose came to the cafe after being abused. The cat was aggressive and did not like people's hands. The cafe worked with Primrose over the course of several months, and then successfully adopted the cat out to a family.

"A scared aggressive cat turned into a loving kitty," said Wang.

Wang said one regular customer doesn't even like cats, but stops by every day for coffee. The cafe sources its coffee from Cafe Virtuoso in Barrio Logan and West Coast Coffee Roasters in Chula Vista.

If you buy a drink, that's your admission ticket to the cat playpen. If you don't want to purchase anything, the admission fee for the playpen is $5.

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