Savanna Pena — a lifelong lover of felines — is working to launch This & That with Cats. The idea is to have a space where artists, makers, and other creatives can teach classes, all while adorable adoptable cats make themselves at home.
Pena first visited a cat café in Denver, Colorado, and found her inspiration. But she wanted her concept to be different.
"When I started looking into what it would take to create a cat café, I realized it was going to be difficult to house cats and have a kitchen in the same facility," Pena explains. "So I thought, What can I do instead and still help people at the same time? So the idea of inviting local artists to teach their craft came to mind. I want to help local artists grow their passion and business. Cats already have therapeutic characteristics, and creating art does as well. Why not combine the two?"
Thus far, Pena is working with the Cat Network as a source for adoptable cats. A Kickstarter campaign for the café raised only $3,011 of her $32,000 goal. But Pena is not discouraged; she plans to promote the café in other ways.
"We have created a ten-by-ten-foot tent where we can allow about three kitties to roam around and have one to two people at a time go inside to hang out with the adoptable kitties," she says. "We will also have some kind of local artist creating art. We plan on doing as many local pop-up events as possible and spread the word about what we do."
The idea is to give people a feel for what the café is all about, Pena says. "We will also hold our own events where local artists can come and vend. Our first is on April 22 called Arts & Cats, and we couldn't be more excited."
The event will feature a live painting class, adoptable cats, and a bar. So though you'll have to wait awhile for the cat café, this initial event is your chance to get your cute-kitty fix ASAP.
Arts & Cats
3 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at Ganem Studios, 1420 Alton Rd., Miami Beach. Suggested donation; RVSP at eventbrite.com.