A Cat Café Is Opening on South Beach: Cat Sherpas Wanted

First Pitbull announced he was opening a restaurant on South Beach. Now cats are in on the game.

The Cat Café South Beach, located on Washington Avenue, will offer freshly roasted coffee, doughnuts, and cold brew on tap — all with a side of kittens.

The 2,900-square-foot space is set to open in October and will serve Honeybee Doughnuts and Cindy Lou's Cookies, according to the South Florida Business Journal.

In addition, the Cat Café will offer specialty teas, nitro brew, and gluten-free and vegetarian options. But let's face it — you're going for the cats.

Owner Celyta Jackson says the café will house about 30 superfriendly cats and kittens in all shapes, sizes, and colors. All will be vetted and adoptable and will also receive calming kitty acupuncture treatments by the resident vet.

The cats will reside in "Purradise," an area partitioned off from the café by a double glass wall. Says Jackson: "The space is divided down the middle, and the cats are completely separated from the food-service area." To visit the cats, patrons must enter a double-door system.

Once inside Purradise, guests can play with the cats and, if they fall in love with a particular feline, take one home. "The cats are free-roaming, so their personalities will shine," Jackson says. The adoption process is friendly and easy. "We have nice conversations with people. We want to make adoption a heartwarming experience."

Jackson, who hails from New York, says Miami Beach is the "purrfect" place for a cat café. The city, she says, has a stray cat population of about 150,000, and the city supports ongoing cat-trapping, spaying/neutering, and feeding programs. What's needed, however, is a place for people to get to know the cats before taking them home.

Jackson says she moved to Miami Beach four years ago and found a community of cats living in her condo building. After watching her foster kittens, friends suggested she open a cat café. "I started hammering away at the idea two years ago. It turned into a business plan, and now we're weeks away from opening."

The Cat Café will also offer feline-related lectures and classes such as learning what your cat is thinking and educating humans in the joys of stretching like a cat. Jackson is also looking for cat-friendly volunteers to fill positions such as music curator, cat photographer, and even cat sherpa, whose job description includes "cuddling with newbie" kitties.

The café is ready to open, and the cats are waiting at a facility in North Beach pending the final permitting, which is expected to be approved in the next few weeks. When it opens, the Cat Café will be a family-friendly place for two species to get to know each other over coffee, Jackson says. "It's a beautiful, giant foster home for beach cats that also has a very swell café."

The Cat Café South Beach. 1423 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; Opening October 2018.