Business

Santa Barbara gets its first cat cafe

Cat Therapy owner Catalina Esteves partnered with local animal shelters for the café, which opens Monday, May 29, 2017 at 1213 State St., Suite L, in Santa Barbara.
Cat Therapy owner Catalina Esteves partnered with local animal shelters for the café, which opens Monday, May 29, 2017 at 1213 State St., Suite L, in Santa Barbara. Noozhawk.com

Santa Barbara is now home to Cat Therapy, a downtown cafe where customers can hang out with cats from local animal shelters.

At Cat Therapy, visitors are able to observe the cats’ different personalities in a more relaxed environment than at a shelter, and they have the opportunity to build a connection with any of the animals, owner Catalina Esteves explained. The cafe’s mission is to help shelters by fostering their felines and marketing them to raise adoption rates.

Esteves, a musician and photographer, moved from Argentina about three and a half years ago. She volunteered at the ResQCats shelter for two years.

“I realized that my favorite thing in the world was to hang out with animals and to feel like I could make a difference,” she told Noozhawk.

Esteves then pursued her dream to open her own business and spent about six months planning for the opening and talking with animal shelters.

Cat Therapy is partnering with the Animal Shelter Assistance Program, or ASAP, the Ventura County Animal Services Shelter and, to a lesser degree, ResQCats, which focuses more on kittens, according to Esteves.

There currently are 11 cats in the cafe, about half from ASAP and the rest from Ventura, Esteves said. The number of cats in the cafe will fluctuate between 10 and 15.

The cafe at 1213 State St., Suite L, officially opens Monday, and will be open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily except for Tuesdays. Reservations are required.

The cafe recommends that reservations be made 24 hours in advance. Rates are $10 for 75-minute sessions during the week and $12 on Saturdays and Sundays. The cafe also is available to be rented for study groups, birthday parties or other occasions. Although the place can accommodate up to 16 people, parties of seven or more are required to make their sessions a private event. Group pricing is $150 for 75-minute sessions during the week and $180 on weekends.

For more information, contact the cafe at 805-560-1996 or hello@cattherapysb.com.

Noozhawk intern Julia Lee can be reached at news@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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