Kitty Cantina is Spokane’s first and only cat café. Its long-awaited opening took place on June 8th, 2020, having been delayed a few months due to the Covid-19 statewide shutdown. Their original opening date was set in April, but they were only able to operate their drive-thru coffee window until Phase 2 of Washington’s reopening plan went into effect. Despite their delayed opening, Kitty Cantina has proven wildly successful, with their Kitty Lounge reservations booked out solid a month in advance. Fortunately, there are walk-in appointments available every Tuesday and Wednesday from 12pm – 4pm.
The Cantina is divided into 2 rooms, the café that serves food and coffee, and the Kitty Lounge where cats roam free and customers can spend time with them. From the café, visitors can enjoy coffee, cookies, wine or sandwiches and still watch the cats play through floor-to-ceiling glass windows. It’s a modern, bright and inviting space that is uplifting to humans and felines alike.
Kitty Cantina’s Story
Owners Tori and Justyn Cozza have wanted to start a business together for ages but they couldn’t decide on the exact path to choose. When visiting friends in Portland, they came across Purringtons, a Portland-based cat café, and they knew exactly what business they’d be opening in Spokane. Being life-long cat fanatics certainly helped seal the deal, as Justyn, Tori and their daughter are bonafide “cat nerds”. At any given time, they have several cats at home and often foster kittens as needed. So, it was a huge bonus for the Cozzas to be able to include their daughter in the process of opening a business. “She actually thinks her job is petting the kitties, so they don’t feel lonely. It’s adorable.”
Both Tori and Justyn were interested in coffee and the food industry, so the café element has been an additional perk. They offer top-notch coffee from Doma Coffee Roasters out of Post Falls, Idaho and have fun with puns like their Meow-cha and cat-pucino. Lilac City Bakery provides some of the cutest cat cookies you’ll find around town, and sandwich melts are available for those in search of lunch. Not to mention wine, beer and other alcoholic beverages are available — and $1 off during Happy Hour (4pm – 6pm).
While the Covid-19 shutdown made opening a business uniquely challenging, one of the best things to come out of the shutdown is an increase in pet adoptions. “Folks are home with the free time to take on the responsibility of bringing in a new family member.” It is a win-win situation for both humans and pets alike during lockdown, as pets are notorious for helping their humans manage stress levels and their bond can boost endorphins. When looking to adopt your first pet, Justyn and Tori encourage patience. “Take your time and wait for the perfect match. ‘Window shopping’ reduces the chance of a successful prolonged relationship. When it’s right, you’ll know.”
Spokane Kitty Cantina has facilitated over 100 adoptions within the first 2 months of opening — quite an impressive number of kitties with new homes. When asked about what makes the Cantina uniquely successful, Justyn and Tori state “There are several factors at play here. First, there are no cages at the café, so when guests are mingling with the kitties, they are experiencing their true personalities. Another reason is surely hype. We’ve been building this up for so long and now it’s finally a reality we have so many animal lovers making reservations to come snuggle. More interactions mean more adoptions. The final reason is likely Covid-19, as people are spending more time at home so bringing home a new family member is much more realistic.” They partner with local animal rescue organization SpokAnimal and 100% of the adoption fees go to this non-profit organization.
The Disadvantaged Kitty program has recently begun at Kitty Cantina in an effort to help boost adoption rates for special needs cats. 100% of the adoption fee is covered, but the vetting process can be selective. This is in order to cater to the specific needs of the cat. “Yes, a portion of our merchandise sales does go toward the shelter adoption fee, but the emphasis is on rallying the community to share the story of these particular cats. It’s amazing to see the community come together and make a celebrity out of a special-needs-kitty.” It is indeed heartwarming to witness so much support for the cats who need it the most.
Visiting Kitty Cantina
Nearly everything in the modern, geometrically designed kitty lounge is designed for feline comfort and functionality. The hexagons tie in with the geometric patterns of their logo, but also serve as a vertical jungle gym for the cats. This particularly benefits the older cats wanting a little reprieve from the kittens who can’t quite reach that high. Everything was built with durability in mind and easy-to-clean surfaces. All linen is removable and easy to wash — important factors to consider in order to keep the cats happy and healthy, and I’m sure the humans appreciate it as well.
While reservations are in demand, Justyn and Tori recommend that you check back frequently on the website as cancellations do happen. Also, new bookings open up daily as they only accept reservations 30 days in advance. So if you want to make a special trip to see the kitties, there are options. The cost is $8 for an entire 50 minutes of Kitty Lounge access, a bargain if you ask me. Plus, that comes with a $2 drink credit for the café. Walk-ins on Tuesday and Wednesday are in 20-minute increments of Kitty Lounge time and are only $4. Kitty Cantina offers plenty of chances to spend some time with the cats, grab some quality coffee and maybe to find your next family member.