Cats are at the heart of a newly opened cafe in Redmond where guests can come hang out with a host of furry feline friends.
The Whole Cat and Kaboodle in Redmond is the second location that owner Nancy Howard has opened, with the other operating out of Kirkland.
The Whole Cat isn’t just a space to visit cats, get them groomed or buy supplies, it also lets would-be owners adopt.
“Our mission is to place the cat with its last, best owner,” Howard said.
Inside the shop is a room with plenty of couches for both humans and cat alike to spend time and get to know each other.
Several of the nine cats up for adoption were spending a recent morning lounging around the space, waiting for people to visit. More live in a large room adjacent to the cafe room as they adjust to living at The Whole Cat.
While adoption is the goal, cats who are at the shop are never given to anyone other than a new owner and Howard said they try and make the cats feel at home.
It currently costs $10 for a day in the cafe, with all proceeds going toward the costs of the cats.
Many of the cats are middle-aged to older cats. Many of them also were dropped off by previous owners due to behaviors seen as negative.
However, since they arrived, Howard said all the cats have stopped those behaviors.
Acting out is almost always due to needs not being met, she said. If properly cared for in a safe environment, cats quickly adjust and stop acting out.
Store manager Jessica Hagemeier said creating a good environment for cats is essential.
“It’s all about welcoming them into your house,” she said.
All the cats in the room seemed well adjusted as they went about their business, hopping up onto welcoming laps, wandering the room or snagging a catnap.
It’s not only the cats that can learn new behaviors, but the owners too, Howard said.
“Much like dog training, it’s training the human (too),” she said.
Howard said cats need a relatively quiet environment with plenty of places to seek refuge in if they want.
Other services include haircuts and grooming, often with a bent toward being therapeutic.
Howard recalled one stray cat that was brought in with only three legs and severe matting of the fur.
But once they started cutting away the fur, they realized its fourth leg was just caught beneath it.
The story had a happy ending for the cat, who not only got the use of its legs back, but it was taken home by the person who brought it in.
The Whole Cat works with the King County animal shelter, one in Colville in Eastern Washington as well as a feral cat adoption organization.
For cats that, for whatever reason, can’t be adopted out, Howard also runs a feral cat rescue near Bothell in which some 100 cats call home.
Hagemeier said they are looking at expanding their options for the community, including possible movie and singles nights.