FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) – At the very least, it’s a hip cafe with great coffee – but at most, it’s a new business with a higher purpose, giving some animals new lives. And because after just a few months more than a hundred cats have found their forever home, the Black Forest Cat Café is in the spotlight this week. Although the popularity of cat cafes has grown across the country, mother-daughter duo Emily and Julie Pressler were the first to bring it to Fort Wayne – their business opened earlier this year off Goldwater Road.
“We’ve been following cat cafes for years and just realized the value they bring to a city when it comes to pet adoption,” Julie told us. The cafe is a partner of Animal Care and Control. The shelter brings several cats to their location. They live in a separate room with all the toys, food, and litter boxes a feline could need. But due to local and regional interest, their stays are usually not too long. “Some will only be there for a day. Some will be here for a month,” Emily added. “It just depends on how long it takes someone to find that connection.”
In four months, the Black Forest Cat Café exceeded 100 adoptions. Walk into their facility and you’ll see their current count – complete with polaroid photos of every cat (and new owner) that has found a loving owner. “It’s pretty much every day at least – and more and more are brought to us the next day,” Emily said. “It’s been pretty crazy along the way, and a lot faster than expected.”
And to put the buzz around this new venue into perspective, when the Presslers announced they were hiring, they were inundated with over 140 applications in just two days. Barista Hannah Bond-Gentie was among the first hired. Since she started working there, Hannah has adopted her second cat. “Two is probably the most we’ll have at the moment, but we would like to have more cats,” she told us. “Every time I see a bunch of other cats come here, I fall in love with them and get upset that I can’t bring another cat home. I would like more cats, but I can’t. have more right now! She’s not a minority. Every employee who works there is clearly passionate about cats – everyone has adopted one at least once – with the exception of Emily. “I look after so many community cats,” she explained. “I’m pretty much complete at home!”
Besides the obvious attraction of the Black Forest Cat Café, the business also sells pastries, coffee and specialty drinks. There are several windows to view into the cat room for those who want to enjoy the felines from afar. “Even if you’re allergic, you can still walk into the cafe and watch all the cats out the window,” Hannah explained. “You can always come in and visit the cats in the cat lounge, or just have a cup of coffee.”
“There’s been a lot of stress in the world lately, and you can just relax and be with animals and hopefully find your forever friend,” Julie concluded. The Black Forest Cat Café is located at 4716 Coldwater Road. Its hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. They are open from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. It costs $10 to spend 55 minutes in the Cat Lounge. More information can be found here.
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