OUR STORY

Leila with her beloved Otto.  Danielle Lirette Photography, November 2018.

Leila with her beloved Otto. Danielle Lirette Photography, November 2018.

Denver Cat Company was founded in December 2014 by a totally sane cat lady, Leila Qari. Leila, a former attorney, was captivated by the concept of cat cafés, popular in Japan and Europe, and decided to try and open the first such establishment in the United States. Oakland’s Cat Town beat us to the punch, but we are proud of being at the forefront of this burgeoning trend in America.

Being one of the first, we had the freedom to define what a cat café should look like. We are still one of the only cat cafés in the country that does not charge by the hour. Our focus is on customer experience, and we want YOU to determine what your experience should be, and how long it should last. For a flat fee of $8—still one of the lowest in the country because we love to keep the café accessible—customers can come hang out for 20 minutes or 5 hours, whatever they desire. Customers are also allowed to interact fully with all our cats, with no restrictions on picking up cats (common in other cat cafés), and kids of all ages are welcome so long as they follow our rules for children. We are also fortunate that the local health department allows us to serve a few snack and drink items without creating separate spaces for the café side and the cat lounge. The result is a charming space where you are greeted by a kitty (or five) on entry.

We are an old-school owner-operated small business—Leila used her own funds to open the café, painted every wall, and hand-picked and designed the furnishings and decor. Her book-hoarding tendencies resulted in a small library in the back portion of the cafe, adding another dimension of unique character to the space and providing patrons with reading material while they relax with the kitties. Leila also hires and trains our friendly staff and still picks up shifts every week in order to stay connected with the business and the community. Even the weekly task of changing vast amounts of litter has not been delegated to staff!

Denver Cat Company is one of the many small businesses around Denver started by an immigrant and is proudly staffed entirely by cat ladies, all of whom were at one point loyal customers of the café.

Image credit: Danielle Lirette Photography

Image credit: Danielle Lirette Photography

Leila’s vision was that of a cozy coffee house with mellow music, books, and comfy chairs, an environment where students, remote workers, families, couples, and friends could all feel at home . . . with the addition of friendly cats to make everything feel even cozier. We focused first on creating that comfortable “living room” feel, and then we added cat-friendly furnishings to make the space hospitable to our rescues—a haven for both cats and animal-lovers.

Our stellar reviews—with an average rating of 4.5 and above on all platforms—tell us that our model is working!

The cat wheel on our cafe window seat is occasionally used by the kitties, to the delight of passersby.  Image credit: Danielle Lirette Photography

The cat wheel on our cafe window seat is occasionally used by the kitties, to the delight of passersby. Image credit: Danielle Lirette Photography

Our fabulous location on historic Tennyson Street (near the Highlands in Denver) means you can make a day of shopping at local boutiques and gift shops, brunching with friends, and petting some kitties.  Image credit: Danielle Lirette Photography

Our fabulous location on historic Tennyson Street (near the Highlands in Denver) means you can make a day of shopping at local boutiques and gift shops, brunching with friends, and petting some kitties. Image credit: Danielle Lirette Photography

A happy kitten.  Image Credit: Spoticus Photography

A happy kitten. Image Credit: Spoticus Photography

Image credit: Danielle Lirette Photography

Image credit: Danielle Lirette Photography

Our customers love our cozy atmosphere and note how comfortable and happy our kitties are. We love being able to provide a cage-free environment for our rescues who get a lot of playtime and love while they are waiting to find their forever homes. The cat café allows customers to truly get to know a cat’s personality before adoption, something we are uniquely equipped to facilitate. You can follow us on Facebook to read happy adoption stories as they happen! (Read more about our cat-fostering philosophy and rescue partners.)

Get your shopping done!  Image credit: Danielle Lirette Photography

Get your shopping done! Image credit: Danielle Lirette Photography

A quiet Thursday morning at the cat cafe.  Image credit: Danielle Lirette Photography

A quiet Thursday morning at the cat cafe. Image credit: Danielle Lirette Photography

A customer interacts with a cat.  Image Credit: Spoticus Photography

A customer interacts with a cat. Image Credit: Spoticus Photography