Coffee-drinkers and cat-lovers in Milwaukee can get the best of both worlds early this summer when Sip & Purr, the city's first cat cafe, opens on Milwaukee's East Side.
Like an ordinary coffee shop, the cafe, located at 2021 E. Ivanhoe Place, will serve coffee from Nelsonville-based Ruby Coffee Roasters, along with wine and a selection of snack foods and sweets.
However, when finding a place to sit, patrons can choose between two areas-- the cafe or the "cat lounge," a contained room where adoptable cats from Lakeland Animal Shelter, located in Delavan, will roam freely. The cats will be fully vetted, medically treated and ready for same-day adoption.
“There’s a lot of untapped potential to get these cats adopted into loving homes, and that’s exactly what we’re setting out to do,” Katy McHugh, CEO and founder said. “Providing the adoptable cats with a stress-free, cage-less living area from the get-go really helps their personalities shine through, ultimately resulting in more adoptions."
Patrons won't have to worry about finding a cat hair in their coffee-- the cafe is completely feline-free and upholds the City of Milwaukee's health code standards for food and beverage establishments.
The cat cafe concept is a worldwide trend that originated in Taiwan and has since grown throughout Europe and the United States. McHugh said she was inspired to open Sip & Purr when she and her family visited a cat cafe in Amsterdam.
After researching and planning her business, McHugh obtained a loan from the Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) to start Sip & Purr. She announced its opening in August and later signed a lease for the cafe on the corner of East Ivanhoe Place and North Ave.-- conveniently located nearby Black Cat Alley, Milwaukee's outdoor mural gallery located at 2122 N. Prospect Ave.
"It's a kitty match made in heaven," McHugh said during a Facebook Live video to announce its location this morning. "This is the perfect space for Milwaukee's first cat cafe. There's no way I could have done this without the support of the Milwaukee community."