Kristina Robinson, owner of The Kitty Catfe, Snohomish County’s first cat cafe, sits on a bench as Asuko, a Siamese cat available for adoption, plays at the newly opened cafe at Firdale Village Shopping Plaza in Edmonds on Thursday. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Get your meow on at Edmonds cat cafe

EDMONDS — For $5, you get a can of pop and a whole lotta catitude.

About 10 cats are there for the petting or playing at The Kitty Catfe.

What’s up with that?

It’s a cat cafe lounge where people pay admission to hang out with cats.

Swing feathery things. Rub furry ears. Watch cats sleep.

It’s entertainment.

The Kitty Catfe opened a week ago at Firdale Village Shopping Plaza.

Furr-dale is more like it. The quaint, two-story suburban plaza is a mecca of pet services. There’s a cat grooming salon, dog wash, doggy day care, pet sitter, canine aquatic therapy center, aquarium store and a diner where dogs sit at tables to eat off plates.

A cat cafe didn’t raise a hiss.

Cat cafes are a global phenomenon where people go to cozy up with those elusive purring paradoxes with piercing eyes and cute little noses. Venues offer coffee, tea or a cocktail and possibly a pastry, music or yoga.

The Kitty Catfe owner Kristina Robinson plans to add lattes and the like when finishing touches are complete and get the nod from the health department.

“We have board games and adult coloring books,” she said. “Lots of cat toys. We’ll have Seahawks games on. Halloween themed events.”

Sorry, you can’t BYO-cat, though you can adopt one. There are three resident cats and seven up for grabs. Kitty Catfe partners with Motley Zoo Animal Rescue in Redmond to provide the cats. All adoptions go through the rescue.

The trend started in Asia, where there are so many cat cafes that some have themes such as black cats, fat cats and three-legged cats. The cafes are popular among young single adults who can’t have pets where they live.

One of Western Washington’s first cat cafes, Seattle Meowtropolitan in Wallingford, opened in December for ages 8 and up and even offers a yoga with cats class.

The Edmonds cat cafe is above a pizza parlor in space that previously housed a burlesque studio. Robinson also owns Precious Paws, a pet day care a few doors down in the Firdale plaza. Her interest in cat cafes started with Katy Perry (who, by the way, has a cat named Kitty Purry).

“I was watching her movie ‘Part of Me’ with my 7-year-old daughter and she goes, ‘Mommy, look where Katy Perry is.’ She was on tour in Tokyo and they went into a cat cafe. I was like, ‘What is that? … Oh, my God, I have to do that,’” Robinson said.

Robinson, 33, mother of three young children, spent more than a year planning the cat cafe and accumulating furnishings. Her husband cashed out his 401(k) from working at a tire store.

“My husband recently left his job to help. It’s a huge risk,” she said. “That’s how all businesses start. You have to have faith and determination they will succeed. If it doesn’t work, we’ll do something else. I used to bartend. There’s always a job for that. He is great with mechanics. You never know if you don’t try.”

The cat cafe has couches, chairs, tables and a TV. It is decorated in punk pink, zebra prints and bling.

“We’re rocker style. Glitz and glam and edgy,” Robinson said. Her nails and lips are hot pink. Bright tattoos spill down her arms and black cat ears top her blond mane.

The Kitty Catfe is open to all ages. So far, it has attracted mainly kids and the curious.

“I was downstairs getting some food and came to check it out,” said Austin Avra of Edmonds. “I like it. It’s interesting.”

A lovey-dovey striped female cat named Wilbur cornered him at the door and tried to work her charm on him for a lasting relationship. Avra said he already had four cats at home.

Robinson hopes to make her cat cafe a place for senior center field trips. Cat jewelry and toys handmade by local artists are for sale.

Some of the cats go to Robinson’s doggy day care at night. And, no, they don’t fight like cats and dogs.

“They all lived together the last couple months before we got open,” she said.

Andrea Brown at 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @reporterbrown.

If you go

The Kitty Catfe, 9697 Firdale Ave., Edmonds; 425-622-4258.

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