For many people, there are fewer things nicer than curling up with a warm drink and snuggling with an adorable cat. The owners of a new café opening in Bremerton agree.
A new cat café called Ziggy’s Cat Lounge opens this Saturday.
A cat café, for those not in the know, is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: The café is divided into two parts: The café side, which offers a variety of drinks (including coffee, cocoa and even beer), and the cat lounge side, which features fluffy felines ready to be adopted.
The café teamed up with the Humane Society of Mason County to foster nearly a dozen adoptable kitties, said Shannon Gabel, who owns the café with her husband, Shane.
The first cat café opened in Taiwan in 1998; the concept expanded to Japan in the early 2000s and it’s now a worldwide phenomenon. The Gabels got their first look at a cat café in action when they visited one in Seattle.
“It was packed,” Shannon recalled, adding that it was heartening to see that so many people wanted to be there. The couple hung out with the cats for 45 minutes to an hour, and they were struck by how happy everyone there was to be playing with their new feline friends, she recalled.
Other than just being a fun place to interact with cats, Ziggy’s gives potential pet parents a chance to evaluate adoptees up close.
“We want to let their personalities shine through,” Shannon said. “It makes sense for them to be able to be out and play with each other, and us, instead of just being in a cage and being timid about that. Cats aren’t the same in their cages compared to being able to roam around and interact with you.”
New pet parents are in great demand currently, she added.
“There’s so many people that have a cat, but it’s not fixed and the cat gets out or escapes one night, and then that cat has babies,” she said. “If we can at least adopt them, then you know they’re fixed already, so you know you’re not going to have that kind of mishap if they do end up escaping one time.”
Shannon grew up with animals, so it’s not surprising that she gravitated toward a business venture that features them so prominently. Their family always had cats and dogs growing up, she said.
“I always seemed to bring the cats home,” she said. “My dad, of course, was the guy that says ‘no, you’re not bringing that cat home.’” But bring them home she would, and he would begrudgingly accept it, she said. Shannon got her cat Ziggy, the café’s namesake, when she was living in Texas. “I had him forever. He was just a lovable big guy,” she said, adding that he sadly passed away a couple years ago.
Shannon said she and Shane are happy to alleviate some of the strain on local animal shelters, which can easily become overwhelmed.
“They have too many cats and not enough people to adopt, so being able to have a lot of them here is great,” she said. “Hopefully we can get more eyes on them and get them adopted.”
Ziggy’s Cat Lounge
Grand opening: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Aug. 19. The lounge is located at 3627 Wheaton Way, Ste. F, Bremerton.