There is a new coffee shop in Harrisonburg, that caters to everyone who loves a good cup of coffee, fancy teas, and sweets. Not only that, if you are a cat lover, this is where you want to be! Aptly named The Aristocat Café, half of the shop houses a fancy and upscale viewing room, with everything a cat could only dream of.
Amanda and Brent Atwell, have dreamed about opening a brick and mortar tea room. When they saw a cat café in Quebec 6 years ago, the seed of an idea was planted.
Amanda has been a foster for cats for many years, and ever since seeing the Quebec café, she has been working to the goal of having her own cat cafe.
By having pursued a culinary degree, and owning her own catering business for 8 years, Harrisonburg native, Amanda, came well prepared to finally see her dream come true. The café offers more than 74 premium loose teas, ranging from yerba mate, tisane, rooibos, matcha, and more! It is a tea afficionado’s dream come true! Local Merge coffee is made to order, and there is a changing menu of decadent scones, cookies, muffins, and more. The café’s desserts are made in house and locally sourced.
Jamie Estep, of Jessie’s Fund, a Fulks Run Cat rescue, is one of the volunteers who comes in to care for the cats. Some of the cats she has fostered have found their way to the Aristocat’s Cat Loft, looking for their furever home. The Café is affiliated with the non-profit Humane Society of Shenandoah County, a foster only rescue, that carefully vets, vaccinates, and neuters all the cats who temporarily reside at the café. Director Melisa Miller heads the HSSC.
Many of the cats who come to the café, have had a rough start in life, and are looking for a loving new home. At this writing, there were 10 cats in residence. The facility can house as many as 25.
Behind a glass partition, patrons can sit at tables, or the counter, and watch the cats and their antics. By signing a waiver, and making a reservation, people can enter the viewing room to interact with the cats. Children ages 7-12 must be supervised by an adult, under 7 can visit with a reservation during “Kitty Time” on Saturday mornings. There is a fee for a 60 minute visit with the cats, all monies go to help the HSSC in their rescue efforts.
In the Cat Loft, the cats’ litter boxes are hidden, in a small room attached to the cat room. Cats can access this through a little cat door. They can also escape into that back room, if they are not feeling social that day, or overwhelmed by the visitors. Part of the reason for allowing visitors, is to help with the cats’ socialization.
Some cats are excited to have visitors, their little purring motors in full gear, others may be a bit reluctant at first, and can also escape to the top cubbies and shelves on the walls. The Cat Loft has a very classy and artistic feline climbing wall. A floral mural by Amelia Claire Arts is keeping with the garden theme of the Loft. Beehive shaped hexagon cubbies line the wall, along with a swinging bridge. Faux vines, help the shyer cats blend into the backround up high. The room has scratching posts, a cat sized “hamster “wheel, an endless amount of toys, and a large picture window facing the street, where the cats can people watch, or catch a ray of sun. The Loft is a cat’s dream environment.
Loft visitors put on paper booties, so no cat hair is tracked out into the café. The cat room is kept spotlessly clean, through the efforts of staff and cat loving volunteers.
If the crowds at the soft opening Aristocat Café had during Harrisonburg’s Easter Shop Hop were any indication, this new hot spot will do very well! If you enjoy “fine teas and felines”, this café will become your favorite new spot!
*Find and follow the Aristocat Café on Facebook and Instagram.
*Book a visit with the cats – www.aristocat.cafe/reservations
111 North liberty St, Harrisonburg, VA
*For more information on HSSC www.hsscva.org
*For information on Jessie’s Fund cat rescue in Fulks Run see their Facebook page.
Phone 540-282-1202 Email email@example.com