Kensington’s Kitten Kingdom
Kensington is home to the purr-fect get away for stressed out students looking for a cup of coffee or a cat to cuddle.
The Regal Cat Café, the first of it’s kind in Calgary, opened in June, 2017 in the heart of Kensington.
“[Cats] help to reduce stress, it’s fuzzy therapy,” said Tia Weller, owner of the Regal Cat Café.
Weller, proud owner of four cats, was inspired to open the café after seeing a cat coffee shop in a 2015 episode of the globe-trotting television show, The Amazing Race.
“I thought, that has to be the best job on earth, and the idea kept sticking,” said Weller.
The first cat café opened in Taipei, Taiwan in 1998 and the idea has grown in popularity, quickly spanning across the world from India, to Russia, to Mexico, to New Zealand and now Calgary.
“We’re the first cat café in Calgary and hopefully the best in Canada,” said Weller.
The Regal Cat Café features between 10 and 12 kittens at a time from the Meow Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping orphaned cats find homes.
“Meow were our first choice, they were in immediately,” said Weller.
The coffee shop was designed to serve as another avenue to encourage the easy adoption of cats looking for their “forever home,” while at the same time creating a relaxing atmosphere for stressed out Calgarians.
The Regal Cat Café offers up a uniquely serene study space for students by partitioning off two separate areas.
The cats are kept in a separate room to respect patrons who want to visit the café but may have an allergy to cats.
The separation is also essential in allowing the café to meet Alberta health codes.
The Kitten Kingdom is surrounded by glass, so passer-by’s on the street and guests in the café can watch the felines have some fun.
The cat room is a feline’s dream, with all the boxes, toys and treats for the kittens to enjoy, offering endless hours of play and entertainment for guests.
“Our goal is to make [the cats] comfortable and happy,” said Weller.
The best part of the café is the Kitten Kingdom, where for a fee of $10 guests can unwind with 12 furry friends for 45 minutes.
The felines have proven popular and a reservation for the café is recommended, each hour has 16 seats available, four are available for walk-ins.
The café offers seating for guests where they can watch the cats and enjoy a nice cup of tea or one of the cat themed baked goods, including vegan and gluten free treats.
One of the highlights of the cat coffee shop, outside of the furry stars, are the kitten shaped macaroons that range in flavours from vanilla and chocolate to cotton candy, as well as a selection of tea blends.
“[The best part] is seeing the expression on peoples face. It’s awesome to spend all day with cats,” said Ivy McKinley, a SAIT EMT student who works at the café.
McKinley helped to launch the Regal Cat Café serving as a part time kitten wrangler and a part-time barista.
“It’s good stress relief and it’s close to SAIT. It’s a good environment. It’s welcoming and soothing,” said McKinley.
The Regal Cat Café is open all week from 9A.M. to 9P.M.