UPDATE: Southpaw Cat Cafe has been permanently closed
The owner of The Southpaw Cat Cafe has a background that may be surprising. He primarily worked in justice services and child and youth work. For 5 years, he worked as an educational assistant, helping children with autism and other behavioral issues adapt to the classroom setting. Meanwhile, he also worked as a table games dealer at a nearby casino. Although he loved animals his whole life, his experience was neither in business nor coffee, so opening a cat cafe was a huge change. Luckily, he loves to challenge himself, so the Southpaw Cat Cafe has been a great experience for him.
About the cafe:
The idea for the cafe started when the owner and a friend visited the Siberian Cat Cafe in Chelsea, Quebec. The concept seemed amazing. The owner had always wanted to run his own business, but had zero experience. Without any idea where to start, he returned to Kingston and did a little market research to see if it a cat cafe was viable. Luckily, the response was overwhelming, so he began taking the necessary steps to make his cafe a reality. A year later, the Southpaw Cat Cafe was in full swing!
The Southpaw Cat Cafe is unique because of its high level of customer service and the sense of community it has cultivated. People love the brand and the cafe makes a point of interacting with its customers online. Cafe regulars (and sometimes casuals) go out of their way to drop off food and litter donations to help out with costs. The turnover of cats isn't quite as high at Southpaw as it is at other cafes, but this slower pace has helped foster bonds between customers and cats. Some of the cats even have their own cult followings!
How to visit:
Typically, visitors come in and immediately see through the window into the cat area. Then, they approach the counter, order a coffee and a meal or a dessert, and head inside. There's a set of two doors going into the cat room to prevent cats from escaping. Customers are asked to let one door close before opening the next. Once through those doors, visitors are welcome to find a seat and go meet the cats!
There are countless cat toys as well as places for the cats to climb to and hide in. There's even a huge 4 foot high wheel for cats to run on, a community bookshelf and reading corner, a television in the corner to show movies or play ambient music, and then a separate, ventilated room that gives the cats a safe area to get away from people and also serves as a place for their food and litter.
Weekends are Southpaw's busiest times, but drop-ins can be accommodated most days of the week without any wait times! The cafe is open from 8am to 8ppm Monday-Friday, and 10am to 7pm on Saturday and Sunday.
How you can help:
The best way to help is to come visit the cafe. Follow Southpaw Cat Cafe on Facebook. If anyone wishes to to donate to the cafe's partners at the rescue, they can visit Kingston Animal Rescue's website. They're a registered charity and every penny helps!
In 5 years, the hope is for the cafe to facilitate hundreds of adoptions. The owner also hopes to have a larger space by then, a livestream feed, and more activity in the community with fundraisers, catering for offsite events and festivals, more workshops, clinics for microchipping, and more. The future is bright for Southpaw Cat Cafe!