One Coffee Please and Leave Room For Kittens


Jacqueline Yoshimura

Friends (left) Marianne Traxl, Caroline Reed and (right) Karen Chapman from Sydney, Australia play with Almond Joy, a 2-month-old male kitten.

A new cafe located on Kapahulu Avenue offers more than just coffee, tea and baked goods.

The Hawaii Cat Cafe is Cindy Washburn’s solution to the island’s abandoned and feral cat population.

Washburn partnered with the Oahu Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), the largest no-kill shelter on the island, to open a friendly space that would relieve crowding at the shelter, educate the public, host fun activities, and encourage adoptions.

“These cats are all from the Oahu SPCA and they all have their own back story,” said Taylor Ricca, 23, an employee with the cafe since its official opening in October. “One of our cats Garfield was abandoned by his owner, and because he isn’t used to being outside he couldn’t defend himself and got bullied pretty badly by other cats.”

The cafe provides a mix of abandoned cats and feral cats from the trap and neuter program. All sterilized feral cats are marked as having a tipped-ear, in which a fourth of the tip on the left ear is humanely removed during the spay or neuter process by a licensed veterinarian.

The cafe is separated in two sections, the main coffee bar and the cat lounge. For a fee of $10 for 30 minutes and $15 for an hour, customers can interact with the cats as they enjoy their refreshing beverage. Children under 12 are $5 off.

“Everything is for the cats,” Ricca said. “All of the adoption fees go directly back to the SPCA while the lounge fees go toward their supplies like litter, food, toys, and whatever else is needed.”

Ricca has also adopted her own feline Daphne after partaking in Cats On Mats Yoga, one of the cafe’s Sunday morning yoga sessions. The yoga classes are $30 and open to the public by reservation through the cafe’s website.

“I first met Daphne when I did the yoga class, and I worked with her for a little while,” Ricca said. “The first [yoga] class she just sat on my mat the whole time so that was a good start for sure.”

The idea of a cafe where customers can interact with animals first began in Asian countries. The Hawaii Cat Cafe is the first of its kind in Hawaii and has garnered the attention of locals and tourists alike.

Honolulu resident Lattrecia Norman, 25, was driving by when she saw the sign that enticed her to come in.

“I’ve been seeing [cat cafes] all over Facebook and Instagram,” said Norman. “So I was excited to see that we have one here in Hawaii. I love the space and how you can mingle with them but also watch them do their own thing. I’ll definitely be adopting.”

Marianne Traxl, 35, from Sydney, Australia, was vacationing on the island with friends when they heard about the cafe through Facebook.

“We have one back home,” Traxl said. “We’ve haven’t been to it though and decided it was time so we came to this one here. I think it’s really cool and a great spot to come with friends. The coffee is delicious too.”

The cafe aims to host more events such as private parties, yoga and workshops to educate the public on how to foster cats and why certain procedures like declawing are inhumane.

The Hawaii Cat Cafe serves fresh coffee and baked goods from the Honolulu Coffee Company and is located at 415 Kapahulu Ave. The cafe is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Check out the cafe’s Facebook page and Instagram @hawaiicatcafe for the latest updates, future events and more information on the cats available for adoption.