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The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Cat café pounces on downtown location


Photo illustration by Lara Dietrich.

San Marcos business owners and locals voted to allow a new trend in dining to set up shop downtown despite opposition. The Cattery Lounge and Snackery will be opening its doors this June if owners can raise the remaining funds needed.
Commissioners of the San Marcos Planning and Zoning Commission voted 6-3 on May 9, to allow The Cattery Lounge to house its feline friends on LBJ Drive, next to Stellar Café. The store will operate as a nonprofit organization selling prepackaged snacks and drinks.
Similar fronts have been successful in Japan, New York and most recently in Austin with the opening of Blue Cat Café.
The San Marcos cat concept differs from others as it does not offer a full menu, but intends to draw in visitors to study, snack and lounge with cats to adopt potential pets.
Kirsten Peek, marketing director for the Cattery Lounge, said she heard of other cat cafes opening in North America and thought it would be great to help PAWS promote adoption as well as provide the San Marcos community with a relaxing space to socialize with cats.
“We chose to open downtown partially because of the walkability,” Peek said. “Texas State students can reach us by foot, as well as San Marcos residents who live downtown, and there is an active animal rescue community in San Marcos. There are college students who miss their family pets.”
The Cattery Lounge expects to attract a large following, according to Peek, and has prepared a system to keep crowds small to protect the cats while still pleasing patrons. The system will operate like a restaurant-style waiting list—guests will arrive, sign in and wait to be called.
If patrons choose to adopt a cat, the process will be administered through PAWS, an animal rescue organization focused in central Texas.
Sonni Standefer, PAWS representative, said adoption fees for the felines will usually range from $100-$130, depending on the cat’s age.
Adopters can expect their new friends to be up to date with vaccines and either neutered or spayed, according to Standefer.
The Cattery Lounge is offering packages for customers to raise money towards its opening through its website. The packages range from $10-$2,001 and can include passes into the lounge, investor recognition and invitations to special events.
Other San Marcos downtown businesses met the Cattery Lounge and Snackery with opposition to the building’s structure and waste concerns.
Michaela Kelton, Stellar Café co-owner, stated she was concerned with issues involving building maintenance and location.
“My opposition has been in regards to the location, the building’s current condition and the problems that we have experienced in it,” Kelton stated. “I have never been opposed to the Cattery Lounge as a non-profit or their opening in San Marcos.”
Opposition from other businesses included the issue of cat litter and its disposal.
During the commissioners’ meeting, Janaa Chrystal, San Marcos Hair Company owner, said the location of the dumpster assigned to The Cattery would cause odor problems for customers sitting on her outdoor patio.
The commissioners voted to approve the warrant for The Cattery, however, amendments were added to the warrant to address the concerns of businesses. One amendment includes a rule any bags used for cat litter be at least 3 millimeters in thickness.
The commissioners said they would only approve the warrant for a year and would vote again after it expired.
With a recently-approved warrant to operate, Peek said she is excited for the launch of the store and looks forward to what the organization will bring to the community of San Marcos.
“We feel like we can provide a really cool space for all members of the community to come together in a unique way,” Peek said. “We will work with local artists to promote and sell their work, provide resources and education about responsible pet ownership to the community, facilitate adoptions and more.”

A May 31, 2017, article by Ana De Loza, Cat café pounces on downtown location, incorrectly quoted Kirsten Peek. This article has since been updated. The University Star apologizes for the errors.

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