Part café, part cat adoption facilitator, part hands on therapy center, Catfeine Café needs help from all you cat people and small business supporters out there. COVID-19 has put them in a bind and now they have to move from their current location. An expense they were not expecting, and one piled on top of slowed business due to the pandemic.
“2020 has proven to be a difficult year,” wrote owners Curtis and Taura Byrd on their Catfeine Café website, “and now we are facing our biggest challenge yet. Due to the pandemic, our landlord agreed to delay our lease renewal until the first of next year. Unfortunately, that changed this week when we were informed that a renewal was no longer going to be an option as a new tenant offered higher rent and a longer term for our current space. We have been asked to be out by December 15th!”
They have found a new location in St. Charles Square off of Cason Lane, and started a GoFundMe account where they are asking for $10,000 to pay for flooring and paint. However, their costs to move are going to be considerably more. Donations are also being accepted on Venmo.
What is Catfeine Café?
“We act like a foster home for three cat shelters,” said Taura Byrd. “None of them have a facility, they depend on volunteer foster parents.” The three shelters are: Puurrrfect Paws, Rutherford County Cat Rescue, and Middle Tennessee Treasures.
Catfeine Café offers joy for all connected. The interactions with humans helps to socialize cats who have been abandoned or treated poorly by previous owners. The interaction makes the cats more likely to be adopted. And the cat interaction is relaxing and healing for stressed out humans. Customers frequently tell them that their time at the café is “the best hour of my life” or “heaven on earth”.
In just over a year they have had 257 adoptions from the café, and have helped facilitate many more through their rescue partners.
“It’s not just about cat adoptions though,” said Byrd. “It’s about people, too. We provide a joyful place to relax, de-stress and have fun. It’s therapy.”
Stepping into their cat lounge is like stepping into a room filled with love. While cats new to the environment, or those who were treated poorly by previous owners, may hide, most are interested and adventurous, greeting new visitors with curiosity or just plain demanding love and attention, while also pouring it upon their human visitors.
There is also a retail store with cat themed merchandise. Just Love coffee, a variety of other drinks, and packaged snacks are available to enjoy while being entertained by the cats.
“It is the $10 entrance fee to the cat lounge that funds our operation,” said Byrd.
Other Forms of Help
For those who’d like to give Catfeine Café an early Christmas gift, they have an Amazon wish list. Purchase of gift cards, sharing their social media posts, and telling friends and family about their business will also help.
Both of the Byrds are feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment with their current situation and would very much appreciate anything cat lovers and small business supporters could do to help them move and thrive. They have brought so much to so many, from Middle Tennessee State University students going there to homesickness to other small business owners needing a break from the craziness of life.
“We are very grateful for all of the support we have received this year during such trying times,” said Byrd. “Many small businesses aren’t surviving and that is tragic. The support of the community has kept our doors open, so that we can continue to save cats in need.”