Feline Fine: Get Your Cat-feine Fix at Tinker’s Cat Cafe
Cats Tombo and Ripley make a perfect pair. Ripley is agile, shy and carries a sleek look with her dark gray coat, while Tombo is a sociable and “chonky” Flame-Point Siamese with a heart as gold as his fur. Adopted by a couple from Sugarhouse, their family unit would not exist if not for Tinker’s Cat Cafe, Salt Lake City’s first cat cafe and adoption center. Tinker’s was established in November of 2017 by owner Lisa Totzke with the mission to provide a cafe space where visitors can enjoy being around cats while also creating opportunities for cat adoption.
“I love animals. I’ve always been pro-animal and understand the benefits of animal therapy,” Totzke says. “I think it is important for people to give and receive love from animals, and I wanted to provide that in a social setting.” Totzke embarked on her cat cafe journey by participating in community festivals such as the Avenues Street Fair to get a sense of how the community would respond to her idea. After successfully collecting many emails and surveys from potential patrons, Totzke felt ready to fulfill Salt Lake’s cat cafe demands.
All of Tinker’s’ cats are rescued from a no-kill shelter, Salt Lake City Animal Services. “[Cats] come over to Tinker’s ready to be adopted,” Totzke says. “They are vaccinated, microchipped, spayed/neutered and ready to go.” Tinker’s has facilitated 408 adoptions since they opened five years ago. Totzke does everything she can to ensure that each cat goes to a sustainable and safe home. “It is a $40 fee, and if you rent your space, we don’t let any cats go unless we get verbal permission from your landlord,” Totzke says. “We also ask people not to declaw, and if they do plan to declaw the cat we don’t adopt them out.” Totzke also educates potential adopters on the long-term needs of a cat to ensure that they are capable of carrying out the roughly 20-year commitment of cat ownership.
“I think it is important for people to give and receive love from animals, and I wanted to provide that in a social setting.”
Outside of providing cat companionship, Tinker’s’ menu is as varied as it is delightful, whether you’re in the mood for their Cat-Puccino or one of their Pastry Arts pastries. Meanwhile, “Tinker’s Drinks” are also worth consideration for the cat breed references alone. Their espresso collection includes the Siamese (chocolate chai), Calico (chocolate caramel), Sphynx (white chocolate raspberry), Meow (vanilla caramel) and Tortie (peanut butter chocolate).
Totzke describes the Tinker’s Cat Cafe experience to be like Disneyland with cats. “It’s joyful for most people. We get local visitors but also a lot of travelers where the cafe becomes a destination,” she says. The space is separated between the cafe with a full espresso bar and lounge where visitors can hang out with the cats for either an hour ($8) or a half hour ($5). “You get to sit in a nice chair and engage with the cats with toys and brushes if you want,” Totzke says. Tinker’s maintains a number of rules around their cat visitation center—including no flash photography and a ban on picking up the cats (no matter how fluffy they might seem)—in order to make the cafe a safe, comfortable environment for the cats to live in before they find new forever homes.
“It’s joyful for most people. We get local visitors but also a lot of travelers where the cafe becomes a destination.”
As an ode to Totzke’s childhood cat, Tinker, Tinker’s Cat Cafe provides a safe and relaxing place for both the resident cats and visitors alike. Tinker’s Cat Cafe also hosts a cat paint night once a month where you can learn how to create a cat-themed painting under the guidance of an art teacher. You can make reservations to visit the lounge or reserve seats for the cat paint night on Tinker’s’ website at tinkerscatcafe.com.
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