Bev Freed, owner of the Charming Cat Cafe, hopes to change that before the end of the year. She recently signed a lease with Vista Ridge Mall in Lewisville to open what would be North Texas' first permanent cat cafe. She's targeting an open date the first week of December.
[UPDATE Dec. 3 at 11:30 a.m.: The Charming Cat Cafe opens Dec. 5.]
Freed first hatched the idea to open a cat cafe in late 2014, when she saw them being popularized in Europe. Though she works as a SharePoint administrator during the day, she also owns and operates Kitty Save, a feline welfare organization that specializes in adoption.
The cats in the cafe will be from Kitty Save and all will be adoptable. The cafe concept, she believes, can solve several problems in the adoption process at other stores.
"You're taking a fairly quiet animal, transporting it in a car, shutting it into a cage on a table in the middle of a busy floor where dogs are barking, there's lots of strange smells, strange activity," Freed says, adding cats' personalities often "collapse" in these environments.
Instead, the Charming Cat Cafe will house 20-28 cats in a 3,000-square-foot space that's divided up into several themed rooms, including a Victorian parlor, a tropical paradise and an enchanted forest with cat trees built to look like actual trees. But there's one catch.
Unlike other cat cafes, this one will not serve food or beverages.
Freed says her store's proximity to food court played a role in her decision not to invest a coffee machine or pastries, and that patrons are welcome to bring in food and drink.
So if there's nothing to purchase, how do you get in?
Freed says there will be a cover charge — $5 for 30 minutes and $10 for an hour of play with the cats — and she's working with other vendors in the mall to offer coupons for snacks and beverages, such as discounted coffee, for patrons on their way out.
The Charming Cat Cafe previously ran an unsuccessful crowd-funding campaign to help with startup costs. Freed, an owner of three fur babies, also hit setbacks trying to find a fitting location for the cat cafe, but regardless decided to move forward with the idea.
"People always say I'm the person to make things happen, so that's what I'm going to do," she says.
The Charming Cafe Cafe will be located inside Vista Ridge Mall, 2401 S. Stemmons Freeway, in suite 1306, by Macy's.