For a purrfect, safe and warm weekend activity, look no further than the Affogato Cat Cafe. Enjoy delicious coffee and treats, and then treat yourself by relaxing and playing with some feline friends in the Cat Lounge. Avon Lake native and Affogato co-owner Mandy Miller lived in Washington, D.C., for a time, where she first went to a cat cafe. “When I moved back to Cleveland, I was very sad that there was not [one] here,” she says. That changed two years ago, when she opened Affogato in Tremont. After closing for five months amid COVID-19, the cats are back and ready to play. We talk to Miller about the cafe’s mission, how you can cuddle with a cat or watch those frisky felines from the comforts of your home.
What is your mission at Affogato?
Our core mission is to find homes for shelter cats. In doing so, we try to have a nice space for them to show their personalities rather than sitting in a kennel cage at a shelter. All our cats come from the Cleveland Animal Protective League. We tend to focus on older cats, as they’re seen as less adoptable. In creating that nice space for cats, we also try to create a welcoming space for humans too, so that everyone can feel comfortable and get to know each other in a really homey environment.
What should people expect when they visit?
We currently require people to book appointments ahead online. Once they arrive, we check temperatures, make sure masks are worn correctly and then they can go into the Cat Lounge. You get an hour with the cats to do whatever you please. Some people read books, some people like to cuddle and play with the cats and sometimes people come specifically looking to adopt. If someone falls in love during their visit, they can submit an adoption application online and we’ll follow up with them after their appointment. And, of course, you can grab coffee to-go on your way out.
How can people help support you through the pandemic, either at home or in-person?
The best way that people can help us is just coming to grab a coffee. If people make a Cat Lounge reservation, that’s wonderful. That’s the main way we make money. But, of course, we want people to stay safe. We also have a livestream three times a week where we stream the cats on Twitch, so people can hop on there, watch and donate that way. And, of course, we always accept other donations. We go through a lot of wet cat food, beds and toys. Having so many cats in one space means things get destroyed very quickly.