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Like the Customers, Cafe Meow's Cats are Sheltering in Place

The Cafe Meow is temporarily closed but merchandise was still available for pick up since staff needed to be there to tend the cats daily.

Jessica Burge and her business partner Danielle Ramussen had a unique business going for themselves, a coffeeshop on one side serving organic coffees and teas, plus baked good from local bakers, and a petting room for cat lovers on the other side. The Meow Café’s catchy tagline is: “Get Catfinated,” and the picture on their Facebook page depicts a cat staring longingly into the café from his sanctuary, just waiting to be cuddled. Cat lovers could make a reservation and pay $10 an hour to sit in the lounge and pet cats,while eating and drinking the goodies from next door. And while the hope is that some would be adopted, it was not a requirement of hanging out with the cats.

Now due to the coronavirus pandemic there are no more cat yoga classes or painting your own cat classes—or drinking coffee and petting rescue cats.

“At this point we’re just hosting the cats; we’re kennels,” said Burge. “We foster the cats, but the rescues are paused for now.”

We caught Burge at the shop to pick up our online order, “Lazy-Ass Cats: A Coloring Book for Adults” (coloring is therapeutic during stressful times). The coffee shop was closed, but the cats still require tending and staff takes turns tending them. She’s also there for anyone ordering from their cat-related merchandise from their online store—from a safe six-foot distance.

The two friends came up with idea for the café together. “We were in love with cats and volunteered at rescues, but both of us (also) love coffee,” said Burge. They decided to mix the two in a storefront on Hennepin Avenue with the outside doorway separating the two sides of the business.

Their fate is up in the air at this point. “As long as we can make it through, we’ll reopen,"Burge said, adding, “All of our costs are the same and have no money coming in.” 

As of late March, when I talked with her, they had reduced hours for staff, but kept everyone on. As the days increase of closed doors, however, all that may change.

But rest assured, cat lovers, the cats are being well taken care of. 

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