Friday, December 4, 2015

The cat lounge

Once upon a time we would tiptoe through the Kharkiv cat mafia's alleyway on the way home from work. Portland, though, has a totally different feline scene.

Tea + cats?
Yoga + cats?
Happy Meower with $1 off all Meow-mosas?
Beer and nachos?
Seriously, who could resist those kinds of offers? You had me at "cats" :)

Purrington's Cat Lounge just opened this January and has already helped 118 cat adoptions happen. That's a lot of new homes!

We visited on a Sunday, hoping to get into the lounge without a reservation. I gotta say, it's a little awkward at first: you + a bunch of strangers, all trying to pet the same cats (who are steadfastly ignoring any contact, of course). But I guess that's what the wine is for because pretty soon everything felt more relaxed.

The rules are laid down before you get inside the lounge:
  • sanitize, sanitize, and sanitize your hands
  • don't pick up any cats
  • leave sleeping cats alone
  • no kids under 8
... and then you're released into the lounge. It's a small space with just enough seating for people and all kinds of hideaways for cats.

We didn't see that many cats in the lounge- maybe 5?- so the others must have been hanging out on the other side of the cat door. One cat showed some halfhearted interest in chasing a feather, the Saddest Cat in The World sighed from behind a shelf, and the rest just dozed.

As demure as these cats were acting, I wondered if the potential adopters knew that the spell would end at 10 PM and then let's run around like crazy and start biting some ankles begins. Or maybe that's just Kит?

post-nap Kит, ready to play

Before having a cat, I bought into that whole nature's serial killers thing. Cats were aloof, disloyal, ungrateful.

"Night will come soon and all slippers will be peed in."

Then I met Chairman Meow, a fluffy Persian who lived outside a grocery store in Kharkiv. He stood sentinel over the front door every day. People would drop him little scraps and we'd get him a tin of Whiskas and he'd just soldier on, all winter long.

"Where's my Whiskas, damn it!?"

I really, really, really liked Chairman Meow. He ran with a pack of street cats, all of whom sadly "vanished" as the city cleaned itself up to host Euro2012. Then Кит came along a month later and totally sold me on the idea of cats. I'm still convinced he'd try to take me down if our sizes were reversed, but we can coexist happily as we are now.

Anyways, back to the cat lounge-

It's really cool that a place like this exists to help homeless cats. You could tell those cats were hoping for some love and routine to come into their lives. And it's a good deal for the humans too: $8 an hour is cheaper than almost anything else you can do in this city. If you're looking for free wifi, hot drinks, and lots of cats- this is it ;)

Purrington's Cat Lounge website


  1. A. I need that first pillow.
    B. Cats + wine is SO MUCH BETTER than cats + coffee
    C. I heard they just opened on in Moscow, I'm sad I wasn't still there. Have yet to experience the magic of a cat cafe!

    1. Sounds like you guys now have an extra reason to plan a trip back, Polly ;)
      Or you could come to Portland (and I'll buy the wine)!
      Or there's this: