A look at two new cat cafes coming to Asheville, NC

Asheville may be known as Dog City USA, but two new businesses are showcasing our city’s fabulous felines. Cat cafés Cats at Play + Cheshire Books & Cat Café are expected to open in town this fall, and Team AVL is as excited as a cat hopped up on catnip. Here’s what we know about Asheville’s first-ever cat cafés.

First things first: what exactly is a cat café? Quite simply, they’re spots where you can enjoy a drink or snack — except you’re surrounded by furry friends which are free to roam, run, play, and nap. Cat cafés originated in the late 1990s in parts of Asia where renters weren’t allowed to own pets, and over the last few decades have “taken over the world.”

Cats at Play Café is taking up residence downtown at 12 Eagle St. The business will offer plenty of feline cuddles for visitors and work with local animal rescue groups (including Brother Wolf Animal Shelter) to serve as a foster home for 12-18 adoptable cats. The café will offer local beverages including coffee, tea, beer + wine — alongside locally made baked goods. It will also feature a boutique space with cat-themed apparel, décor, and art.

Cheshire Books & Cat Café, which has yet to confirm a location, is making things twice as nice with its plans to set up shop in the 828. Hailing itself as an “introvert nirvana,” the 100% women-owned and operated business will feature adoptable cats, craft beverages, and gently used books in an inclusive space. The business is currently crowdfunding to raise capital for its brick and mortar location. Want to help it come to fruition? Make a donation.

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