Although cat cafes are still a relatively new business genre in the United States, these lively shops stand as an exceptionally creative way to both enhance and support a local community. In addition to offering popular beverages and baked goods, cat cafes often partner with nearby rescues to socialize sheltered cats and kittens and to overall streamline the adoption process. And with the growing success of cat cafes in the KC metro area, the Northland finally received one of its own in 2020.
Last fall, Sugar Kittens Cafe and Cattery opened its doors in Liberty, MO – just a few miles southwest of William Jewell College – off of Route 291. Inside, a vibrant purple-and-blue lounge is always populated with spunky fur babies waiting to find their forever home. While the cafe’s selling point is definitely the cats, Sugar Kittens double as a coffee shop that serves baked goods, bubble tea, ice cream and specialty frappes among other items. Lining the entrance wall, the cafe also sells supplies, toys and merchandise for anyone looking to spoil their pet.
Now nearing their one-year anniversary, Sugar Kittens has found homes for nearly 400 cats and kittens who would have otherwise been on the streets or stuck in shelters. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the cafe aims to adopt out as many cats and kittens as possible, which they source from local rescues such as Kitty Cat Connections or the community.
For $14.14, an individual can spend 50 minutes in the cat lounge, which is located in a separate area from their supplies shop and cafe counter. One to two employees are always present in the lounge to generally supervise the visits, answer any questions and facilitate the adoption process.
Sugar Kittens holds their felines into foster care until they are healthy enough for adoption; by the time a cat or kitten is moved to the cat lounge, they are microchipped, vaccinated and spayed or neutered. Absent of the occasional sale, cats can be adopted for $100 and kittens for $150. However, due to the need for socialization, the cafe requires customers to adopt a second cat or kitten if they do not already have another pet at home. Additionally, certain cats or kittens are bonded together and the cafe requests that those pairs be adopted together.
Overall, the cat lounge can be described as upbeat and fun, yet relaxing and comfortable. Natural lighting illuminates the room, adding to the vibrant feel of the blue and purple walls, juxtaposed to the soft cushions, plush seating and sleepy cats. While there may be other people present in the lounge – up to 10 people can be scheduled at a time – there is enough space and seating to give peace of mind to even the most introverted individual. And despite the number of cats and kittens running amok, the entire room is kept immaculate; many lounge-goers opt to sit – and even lay – on the carpet to play with the kittens.
As for the main attraction, there is no shortage of friendly felines at Sugar Kittens. By doubling as a cat cafe and adoption facility, the cats are less chaotically socialized to humans compared to shelters and, subsequently, much more of their true personalities come out around a potential new forever family. For example, immediately upon arrival, one exceptionally amiable black cat named Cricket crawled into features editor Sam Bahler’s arms and slept for nearly her entire visit.
The menu is not something to overlook either. Offering popular items like bubble tea and frappes in an impressive array of flavors, the cafe counter is worth visiting itself. The menu may not appeal to everyone since it focuses on an overtly sweet theme – hence the name, Sugar Kittens. But for everyone else looking for a sizable dose of sugar and caffeine, the customizability of the drinks leaves no one disappointed.
As a whole, Sugar Kittens Cafe and Cattery gives a rare type of satisfaction that many look for in small businesses. Customers can indulge in a genuinely enjoyable experience while knowing that every dollar spent – whether at the cafe, supplies shop or by adopting a new friend – is directly benefiting their community. For cat lovers, families and stressed-out college students alike, Sugar Kittens is the perfect place to visit – be it as a one-time event, weekly recurrence or anything in between.