Imagine a place that feels likes home, where you can drink wine and play with cats, all while contributing to a good cause. This is that place. Mount Purrnon Cat Café and Wine Bar plans to be Northern Virginia’s first cat café, combining adoptable cats, history, and wine to create a unique experience for visitors. In late April, founders Kristin Cowan and Adam Patterson have launched a Kickstarter campaign for the café, hoping to raise funds to assist in startup costs.
The café will include a lounge room filled with adoptable cats and a separate bar/café area where visitors can grab café items, snacks, beer, and wine. “Even if people aren’t huge cat fans, they can still visit the cat café and grab a drink,” says Kristin, “but they will probably want to go into the cat room when they see how much fun it is.” Featuring an early U.S. history theme, Mount Purrnon also plans to offer information on the area via books, reference materials, and maps. “We plan to be in the Old Town Alexandria area; it is part of the theme,” says Kristin. The café will also hold special events like cat yoga, trivia, and game night, and will be working with a local shelter to get the cats adopted.
Cat cafés have been a growing trend. Originating in Taiwan in the 1990s, cat cafés became a popular destination for those who want to play with socialized felines. “One of the benefits of cat cafés is that they get cats out of the shelter and help to socialize them,” says Kristin. Of course, perhaps the greatest benefit of cat cafés is that they temporarily house adoptable cats and allow the shelter to save more animals. Cat cafés have shown to reduce euthanasia rates and increase adoption rates. There are also benefits for humans besides the fun experience; research has shown that being around cats may decrease heart problems, decrease risk of stroke, and lower cholesterol. Cats also have been sources of emotional support and stress relief. “Cats and wine may be the perfect de-stressor,” says Kristin.