The Feeline Good Cat Cafe in downtown Gainesville reached its 200th adoption Jan. 23, seven months after its grand opening.
Francesca Hall, the cafe’s 23-year-old founder and owner, said the cat cafe works as a foster home for adoptable cats, and she recently increased the number of cats the cafe takes in at a time from 10 to 12.
Hall signed the lease to the cafe early last year, and it officially opened on June 21.
“Those who do come in are very sweet and supportive,” Hall said.
The cafe works alongside the Humane Society of North Central Florida, said Margot DeConna, the 36-year-old director of advancement for the Humane Society.
The organization provides the cats to the cafe and is responsible for the cats’ medical care.
“I think it’s been really helpful to have this relationship with the cat cafe because it’s another avenue for adult cats, and even teenage kittens — older kittens — to be seen regularly and to find adoptable homes,” DeConna said.
Rachel Selby, a 20-year-old early childhood education sophomore from Santa Fe College, adopted her tabby cat, Nali, from the cafe in June — five days after the cafe had opened. She returned on Nov. 26 to study at the cafe and left with another cat, a light orange shorthair named Fuji.
“It was a complete accident,” she said. “I saw Fuji, and I was like ‘I need this one.’ He was the smallest one there.”
Selby has three cats, and she said they all get along. She calls Nali the big sister who watches Fuji and her first cat, Togi, play together.
Adam Mamais, a 39-year-old UF assistant neurology professor, has visited the cafe twice. After his first visit to the cafe, his perspective on cats shifted.
“I had a dog back in Greece, and I started volunteering at the Humane Society with dogs, but I want to go and volunteer with cats now,” he said. “They’re also super fun and nice. They’re much more friendly and curious than I thought.”
Judy Best, the 67-year-old foster coordinator for the Humane Society, said adoptions happen quickly at the cat cafe. She added that the shelter only has room for 100 to 150 total animals.
“Because we have places like the cat cafe, and we’re able to adopt out animals at high volume, we can take in more animals than can sit in the shelter,” she said. “We save thousands of animals that would not be with us.”
Best helps nurture sick cats until they are well enough to go to the cat cafe to be adopted. She said the cat cafe found homes for 200 of the 2,500 animals that were adopted from the Humane Society last year.
“It’s always rewarding to see a family holding a kitten that you didn’t think was going to live at one point, and here it is, going to start the rest of its life,” she said.
Hall said she added an age limit of 12 years old to go into the cat room, but she hopes to have a designated time for kids to visit in the future.
“I don’t want to exclude them, but I also want to ensure the safety of them and the cats and the parents,” she said. “I want to make sure it’s safe for everybody.”
Jasper Wittig is an Alligator Contributing Writer.