Georgia’s first adoptable cat café, Java Cats, Grant Park, the Atlanta location, is closing. According to their Instagram account, expenses due to Covid and “inflated rent” may make it impossible to stay in the city. Fortunately, their Marietta location will remain open.
Sadly, after the pandemic hit, the café struggled to stay afloat.
“The challenges of the pandemic were/are beyond what I could put into words,” founder Haydn Hilton said on Instagram. “We’ve accomplished SO 👏 MUCH 👏 GOOD 👏 for animals, our community, and humans alike, and it’s all I could have hoped for. There will certainly be a missing piece for our community in Atlanta, but we have things in the works, so stay tuned,” she continued.
Georgia’s First Cat Café Forced to Close
Since 2018, Java Cats Caté in Grant Park has helped homeless cats and people, partnering with PAWS Atlanta, a no-kill shelter in Decatur. It was one of the first cat cafés in the state.
When guests arrive, they can mingle with the cats, leading to hundreds of cats’ adoptions. According to founder Haydn Hilton, the atmosphere has been “magical” as cats interact as much or little as they want.
Part of the magic is helping older rescue cats to learn to trust people, which leads to finding homes.
“We want to be respectful of the cats’ space and don’t want them to get overwhelmed,” Hilton explained. “There is a cat haven room where humans aren’t allowed if they want a break. It’s a magical foster space.”
While helping kitties, the rescuers profoundly impacted peoples’ lives.
For example, Java Cat Café helped the homeless, including Harold Smith, who recently passed away. Smith loved the café, and they were helping him find permanent housing. His family traveled to see the café for a memorial. Smith’s brother Decaress traveled from Queens, New York, to see the people that helped and loved Harold.
“💔 French Toast and Maple Syrup were two kittens Harold loved, and Decaress is pictured here with them, months older now, minutes before leaving to go to their forever home yesterday.❤️ After spending a whole day at the cafe, watching hundreds of people pouring in that love this place (people coming to say their emotional goodbyes), and seeing the impact this little cat cafe has had and how it’s connected people in the most purest of ways…in his words, ‘a place like this should never be forced to close.'”
Older Shelter Cats Found Homes
Although they have to close this location, they have been highly successful in finding cats’ homes.
“We’ve had so many adoptions lately that it’s been hard to stay in stock with cats,” Hilton said as recently as January.
Below, see Hilton and her sometimes dance partner Wintersnow:
“Wintersnow came to Java Cats January of last year. Over the course of the last 10 months, he became one of my favorite cats to ever come through the lounge. I didn’t choose him, but he picked me, and we had an undeniable bond.”
Final Push to Find the Café Cats Homes
Unfortunately, the closing means the cats will have a harder time finding homes. Until March 6, the cats from PAWSAtlanta had a short window to find homes in the Cat Café.
“Our greatest hope and wish is that we will have zero cats to return to the shelter come Monday the 7th. Please spread the word, and if you’ve been thinking about adopting, now is the time,❤️” they stated on Instagram.
Following their post, people called “all day long” about the cats. Hundreds of people touched by the rescuers’ efforts came to say “emotional goodbyes,” and many people adopted cats.
In one case, the oldest café cat chose his human family:
“Stanley, our oldest kitty and the gentlest of souls, fell in love with a toddler and followed him around everywhere. It was an easy choice for the family since Stanley clearly chose them, and he’s getting picked up this afternoon,” they wrote.
For more information, follow Java Cats on Instagram and Facebook. They still plan to rescue cats and “have events to bring the community together,” according to Facebook.
“We are fully booked for both weekends, but if you are looking to adopt please call us and we will make it happen. We will be opening extra days this next week, our LAST WEEK to get as many potential adopters in as possible.”