Virginia cafe owners want the community to socialize with cats | Associated press

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) – What do cats, coffee and community have in common?

These are all essential parts of a new venture coming to Newport News this summer.

Cups and Claws Café will offer a chance to socialize with adoptable cats while having a cup of coffee and munching on pastries. The owners want the café to be a place where the community can come to read, work, relax, create and play.

“Our vision is more like a community center for cats and adoptable people,” said co-owner Kim Zettel.

The cafe will function as a foster home for approximately 20 cats from local shelters and shelters, providing the cats with regular socialization and the chance to find their forever homes.

“When you walk into shelters or rescues, you might not see (the cat’s) personality shine through,” Zettel said. “A lot of people go to shelters and adopt animals, only to find that’s not the kind of cat they want. It will give potential adopters the chance to see what (the cats) are like in time. real.

Cat decorations line the walls of the Cups and Claws Café on Friday afternoon, July 1, 2022. (Jonathon Gruenke/Daily Press)

She said there was a big problem at Newport News with people dumping cats on the side of the road or sending them back to shelters because the animal wasn’t what they were looking for.

Zettel, a retired teacher, along with her husband and co-owner Philip Zettel, have been raising cats and dogs at local animal shelters for years — they welcomed more than 60 animals in 2021.

The idea for the cafe came from Philip Zettel, a 26-year-old Navy veteran and senior chief petty officer, joking that they should do something about “all those damn cats.”

Visitors will be able to simply stop for coffee or pastries without visiting the cats, who will be housed in a separate room. Entrance to the chat room will require a waiver and fee and includes coffee. Adoption fee money for all cats adopted from the cafe will go to rescues.

The cat visiting room will have seating and several places for the cats to lie down and play. The room is equipped with a cat wall to climb, cat trees and a catwalk suspended from the ceiling. Cats will also have a separate area to eat, use the litter box, and take a break from people when they need it.

In addition to caring for cats, Kim Zettel wants to put the community first by providing activities for people of all ages.

She works to partner with local entities such as the library to offer children the opportunity to come and read to the cats. Zettel also plans to offer painting and yoga classes with the café’s cats.

“Newport News is very underserved with places for the older community,” Zettel said. “You don’t really have a lot of places for the senior community to come and hang out and have fun.”

Kim and Philip Zettel sit with the cat, Louie, inside Cups and Claws Café on Friday afternoon, July 1, 2022. (Jonathon Gruenke/Daily Press)

She hopes the cafe will also attract students, military personnel and their families who might be feeling lonely or looking for a way to relieve stress.

“It’s really helpful for animals — not just for people,” Zettel said. “There is a duality in purpose.”

The cafe, located at 11006 Warwick Blvd, Suite 458, is expected to open in late July or early August, depending on permits.

“It’s not just for cat lovers,” Zettel said. “It’s a place for people who want a unique experience.”

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