As a child, I was obsessed with cats. One of my earliest memories involves me and my sister crawling around on our kitchen floor and meowing at my mother’s ankles. When I was 7, my evangelical Christian upbringing inspired certain anxieties about death and the incorporeal afterlife, and one of my primary concerns was that I wouldn’t be able take my beloved stuffed cats to heaven with me. I even received a battery-operated cat for Christmas one year. Natalie Go-go, as we affectionately christened her, was a fur-covered hemisphere on wheels with flashing eyes and the reflexes of a broken Roomba. She also produced a series of robotic beeping noises which, if you were in some way inebriated, could perhaps be confused as purring. My sister’s allergies dealt a terrific blow to my feline aspirations, but I was undeterred. I petitioned my parents for a sphinx, a hairless, hypoallergenic breed known for its affectionate demeanor and rolls of pink, wrinkled flesh. For some inscrutable reason, my parents just didn’t go for it.
If only cat cafes had been a reality during my youth. These meccas of cat culture offer the opportunity to bask in the company of felines, bond with fellow ailurophiles, and explore the possibilities of adoption. The formula is simple: Take a cozy coffee shop and add cuddling. The result is Java Cats, a cat café that has locations in Grant Park and Marietta, and fulfills all of my childhood dreams.
Discovering your inner feline fanatic is easy. First, make a reservation at the Java Cats website (JavaCatsCafe.com). Walk-ins are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, but they depend upon the day’s reservation schedule, so planning ahead is your best bet. For $10, you can spend an hour sipping your choice of tea or drip coffee and enjoying the antics of a dozen or so felines.
I’ll readily admit that I’ve long since outgrown my cat obsession, and I have no interest in becoming a pet owner. Nevertheless, I found myself utterly charmed by the vibe at Java Cats. I was unexpectedly smitten with Space Cadet, a tuxedo-sporting kitten who went nuts for whatever cat toy that happened to dangle in front of her, and Blanche, a cuddly, grey shorthair curled up in the afternoon sun. The hour offered a much-needed breather in my busy day, and I was surprised by how soothing it felt to simply watch the cats do their thing.
Adopting a Java Cat is ridiculously easy. All of them come from PAWS Atlanta, and 100 percent of the adoption fee goes back to support the shelter. Each cat comes with a microchip and up-to-date shots. Plus, they’re already spayed or neutered. On top of it all, a Java Cats adoption package includes a free bag of cat food and a mini beer growler for their next-door neighbor, My Friend’s Growler Shop. If the idea of adoption triggers your commitment anxiety, have no fear. Java Cats is a no-strings-attached enterprise where you’re free to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of feline friendship without the pressure to commit. Whether you’re seeking a feline roommate or a brief respite from the burdens of human community, Java Cats has the answer.
As my session came to a close, I noticed a gaggle of little girls filing into the shop with cupcakes and gift bags. My heart swelled with joy for the youngsters who were living out the dreams of my youth. I take comfort in knowing that the fulfillment of my unmet childhood needs is just a short drive away.