Imagine pulling out your laptop to bank online, or take an exam, while having 20 cats purr around your legs. Fuzzy felines jump, snuggle or play with you while you enjoy a fresh ground cappuccino. This is what you can find at Papa’s Cat Cafe, which opened in July 2018.

There is one destination in Columbia that calls for a visit. This place alone is worth the trip. Imagine pulling out your laptop to bank online, or take an exam, while having 20 cats purr around your legs. Fuzzy felines jump, snuggle or play with you while you enjoy a fresh ground cappuccino. This is what you can find at Papa’s Cat Cafe, which opened in July 2018.

The name “Papa’s” comes from owner Ryan Kennedy who’s daughter refers to him as Papa, but mostly from his favorite “Papa” and writer Ernest Hemingway. The theme can be found throughout the cafe. There is a replica of Hemingway’s typewriter, decor reminiscent of his famous Florida home, and items on the menu with nods to the famous author.

How did the cat theme come about with a coffeehouse? Ryan’s wife, co-owner MacKenzie Everett-Kennedy explains how the cats tie in. “Hemingway was into the polydactyl cat” she said.. For those of you that don’t know,it is a genetic condition that results in six toes,in cats are usually the front paws. Hemingway was given one as a gift from a sea captain. His home and museum is now the residence of 40-50 polydactyl cats, descending from the very first one.

Speaking of a lot of cats, Papa’s Cat Cafe is home to around 20 currently. Where do they come from? The Kennedys have a partnership with Boone County Animal Care, the county’s animal shelter. They are already up to almost 100 adoptions. A book of available cats and their bios sit on the bar. You can buy time in the cat room for 30 minutes to one hour.

You can keep separate from the cat room and simply view them with visitors at play while you enjoy your coffee.. There is a double hepa filter insuring protection from allergens.

Getting to watch those who do choose to purchase cat playtime is fun enough. The fresh ground Nutella latte and raisin biscuit on the side would be worth the visit without the entertainment.

Meanwhile in the cat room, the attendant is trying to clean the climbing tree, and kept getting interrupted by “Roller” a one year old tiger striped gray tabby who decided to come to claim it. He next investigated us watching through the window. He doesn’t seem to mind being on display. The animals are so loved, they aren’t climbing up you as you try to work online, as shelter animals sometimes do. Roller refused to leave his claimed perch as the attendant was forced to finish cleaning with him sitting atop it as the king he is. Daniela prances around as the queen of the cafe. She is a short hair black lap cat who loves to be petted. She also curiously watches us through the picture window.

There are floor tables with cushions to accommodate closeness to the feline experience. You are basically getting invited into a cat paradise, where you get to take your coffee and be the lucky guest.

Chatting with Kennedy over a cup of her creative concoctions , she tells of the cafe’s origin. “My husband and I are teachers at Hickman High School. I teach World Civilization, we like to travel so I can apply what I see in other countries to my teaching. We visited Asia, and came across cat cafes in several countries, Korea, Japan, and others. Most cities had at least one. They are very big over there. So yeah, we felt Columbia was the perfect place to bring a cat cafe to Missouri. It’s quirky, and Columbia likes quirky.” Kennedy greets every customer with “Are you wanting some cat time today?” Most all answer, “Yes, a lot please.”

Papa’s hosts regular special events, such as yoga, wine tastings, and sleepovers, all of course, including cats. Book cat time online, and receive a free drink. They can be found online at www.papascatcafe.com

Open Tuesday through Saturday 10am-7pm.

14 S. 2nd Street

Columbia, MO 65203