Video Courtesy The Azure Knight Productions LLC.
Of the nearly 150 million cats in the country, about half are feral and each year almost 9 million dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters, according to the Solano Feral Cat Group. A recently opened Tempe cafe aims to rescue these cats, replacing their seemingly grim future with proper care and a loving home.
Bountiful toys, imaginative cat play structures and the soft clatter of cavorting kitties characterize this sunny feline sanctuary called La Gattara Cat Cafe & Wine Bar, the brainchild of longtime cat aficionado Melissa Pruitt.
The Valley’s first cat cafe allows guests to interact with and adopt its furry residents while enjoying coffee beverages or wine.
It also hosts weekly events where guests interact with cats while doing yoga or painting, and is home to a quirky gift shop filled with unexpected cat-themed goodies.
For some, visiting the cafe is simply an amusing activity, but La Gattara’s mission is more urgent.
Through an entertaining and interactive experience, Pruitt and her team hope to advocate for all cats and educate new and existing cat guardians, according to the cafe’s mission statement.
In line with these goals, all of the cafe’s cats come from Lost Our Home Pet Rescue, a Tempe-based non profit, no kill pet rescue.
Rescue cats, as compared to the intentionally produced cats from breeders, are often picked up from the streets or abandoned by owners. This distinction is important as some animal rights groups, including PETA, have raised concerns about the ethics of breeding.
“There is no such thing as a ‘responsible’ breeder, because for every puppy or kitten who is produced by any breeder, an animal awaiting adoption at an animal shelter loses his or her chance at finding a home—and will be euthanized,” according to PETA’s website. “Breeders kill shelter animals’ chance to have a life.”
La Gattara is raising awareness about the reality of cats at risk of euthanasia, inspiring Valley residents to open their homes to felines in need and touching the hearts of delighted guests as they experience the bewitching antics of its kittens.