A Cat Lovers Café

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Catoro cat café serves up caffeine and cat cuddles


By: Camille Lemos & Yaunna Sommersby

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Featured photo: Courtesy of Catoro Pets

When I walk into work every morning, I’m greeted by my 25 furry bosses,” says Daniel Wilson, co-owner of Vancouver, BC’s Catoro Cat Café along with partner Annah van Eeghen. “That’s what gives me the energy to keep pushing and advocating for all the cats in the world that don’t have a voice.” Help they have—since the café’s inception in 2019, Catoro has adopted out almost 900 cats.

An average weekend day sees 120 visitors paying $18 each to come visit and hang out with the kitties. Spots are limited and reservations are needed. The admission price directly supports the rescue work, operation, and care of the felines in residence. You can purchase refreshments like milk tea and cat supplies, but the real draw, of course, is the cats.

Photo: Courtesy of Catoro Pets

“I think people come to cat cafés for a couple of reasons,” says Wilson. “First, I think the novelty of the experience is fun and exciting for a lot of people. You don’t often get the chance to interact with that many cats in the same environment. Secondly, I think people value time spent with animals. The sense of connection it provides is incredibly therapeutic, and we have a lot of amazing regular customers who love coming here to spend time with the cats.”

Photo: Yaunna Sommersby

Regular patron-turned-volunteer Daniel Li adopted two of his cats, Minnie and Cinnamon, from Catoro. He began spending time there because of the relaxing environment and access to animal therapy via cats, he says. “Honestly, everything about it makes me happy,” says Li. “The staff there are lovely and you can tell just how much they care about what they do. The environment is comfortable, with peaceful music and cats that actually feel like they’re somewhere they can be themselves. Knowing that you’re able to be a part of this experience of helping cats that have had rougher lives really makes the experience more special.”

Photo: Courtesy of Catoro Pets

Indisputably, Catoro has created an invested community of cat lovers—one that saved them from closure earlier this year. Struggling post-pandemic with rising business and cat care costs and a break-in attempt that caused major damage to their front windows, the Catoro team launched a successful GoFundMe in January and raised $100k in six days. Crisis averted.

Photo: Courtesy of Catoro Pets

Taking stock of their journey thus far, “it’s hard to pick one accomplishment but if I had to narrow it down it would be a few things,” says Wilson. “Having a community that cares so deeply about Catoro that they saved us this year from closing, and helping people and kitties realize that they are deserving of love are definitely high on my list.”

And then there are the cats. 

Photo: Yaunna Sommersby

“The best part of running a cat cafe is definitely watching cats evolve while they are here—they are often scared and anxious and sometimes feral when they come in, but they really blossom into friendly, snuggly, relaxed cats who move on to loving forever homes. Watching people experience the joy of bonding with a cat is really special too.” 

This article originally appeared in the award-winning Modern Cat magazine. Subscribe today!

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