Cats, Cookies and Coffee, oh my: Cat Cafe comes to Champaign Public Library

By Carolina Garibay

Picture this: you’re sipping a fresh, warm cup of coffee, enjoying some delicious cookies and playing with a bunch of adorable cats. You’re living your best life. Luckily, this dream can be a reality thanks to the Champaign Public Library, who will host a Cat Café on Oct. 7.

This unique, interactive event is free and open to all ages. It will be a two-part event, consisting of a café setup and an area where visitors can play with cats. The library will provide simple food like coffee and cookies. There will also be an area where visitors can participate in creating crafts.

Emily Hoch, program and events coordinator at the Champaign Public Library, was with a group of friends when she thought of the idea to have a Cat Café at the library. “We just thought, what goes better together than cats and books?” Hoch said.

Cat Cafés originated in Taiwan and have quickly spread around the world, but the Champaign Public Library has never hosted one until now. “It’s a really great way to team up with local organizations, promote them, help with animal welfare in that way and have a really fun event at the library,” Hoch said.

Supporting animal welfare is where Catsnap comes in. Catsnap is an organization with a neuter and adoption program, which looks to better the lives of the animals in the Champaign area.

“We try to help with the stray and feral cat population, but we also will help with some of the shelters that are a little bit more overstressed and underfunded in other parts of Illinois,” Catsnap board member Deb Balsbaugh said.

Visitors can expect to see a wide variety of cats, ranging from adult cats to kittens, from six months to a year old. “We’re collecting some kittens hopefully,” said Balsbaugh. “It’s kind of the end of kitten season, but we’re getting there.”

Each visitor will get about 10 minutes to play with the cats and every cat at the Café will be available for adoption from Catsnap. Adoptions won’t be happening onsite, but interested visitors can receive more information at the event.

The library has hosted animal-centered events before, but nothing quite like Cat Café. “We do have a lot of animals that come into the library, but a lot of it is more of a show and tell. This is more about animal welfare and adopting animals,” said  Hoch.

“Even if you aren’t there for the cats, you still have something that you can experience and take home that’s focused on animal welfare.”