A cat at Java Cats Cafe sits on customer-designated furniture. Courtesy of Tanushree Khanna

A cat at Java Cats Cafe sits on customer-designated furniture. Courtesy of Tanushree Khanna

With a coffee shop on one side and a cat-visiting lounge on the other, Java Cats Cafe allows the local Atlanta cat lover to get both their caffeine fix and their cat fix at the same time.

The cafe opened March 27 of this year and has been local cat lovers’ new heaven ever since. The creators of Atlanta’s  first cat cafe stuck a hipster, cat-themed coffee house and a cat-visiting lounge side by side, with windows dividing the two relatively small spaces. Each day they serve specialty coffees and display a rotation of adoptable cats, 18 of which have been adopted since its opening.

I prepared to have my heart filled and my mind soothed as I walked into Java Cats on Friday morning. Online reservations are required to visit the cat lounge, where the action is “fur real,” but no reservations are needed for the cafe area. A $10 reservation fee, which is a little pricey, includes one hour in the cat lounge and a tea or a drip coffee with free refills. You can get a specialty coffee drink with your reservation for an additional $2.

When my reservation time rolled around, I, along with two friends and eight strangers, entered the cat area and began the true cat cafe experience. With about 12 cats in the space — at least one-third of them sleeping — the cat to human ratio was a bit underwhelming. One-on-one cat time was short-lived, but when it did occur the excitement in the cat’s eyes and the softness of their fur made the whole experience worthwhile. The cats are all rescued and up for adoption, so they’re mostly fully grown. If you’re planning on posting an Instagram of a tiny kitten next to your cappuccino cup, then this is not the cafe for you.

Regardless of the lack of kittens, being in a room with any number of cats is an exciting experience for a cat lover. After walking around the space, I settled on a bench and let the cats come to me, which some actually did.  While you’re free to come and go in the cat lounge  during your hour-long reservation, almost everyone stayed in the lounge the entire time.

For those who are not a fan of those furry friends, the general seating in the cafe is comfy and open. The coffee shop vibe was nice, but it was clear that many guests, like me, were not there for the beverages. The cafe seemed to stay relatively empty except during transitional periods between cat lounge reservations.

The shop is squeezed between Tin Lizzy’s and My Friend’s Growler Shop on the stretch of Memorial Drive across from Oakland Cemetery. It’s a cute space, with kitschy, vintage cat decor throughout the room. But aside from the live animals on the other side of the glass, it doesn’t bring anything too special to the average cafe scene. There is a small speciality coffee menu and an unimpressive display of pre-made snacks and sandwiches.

I enjoyed the coffee served, after adding ample amounts of cream and sugar. I also picked up a confetti cookie, for the mildly steep price of $3.15. The white chocolate sugar cookie, decked out in sprinkles was a flashback to childhood in the best way possible: sweet, artificial and colorful. Beverages are allowed in the cat lounge but food is not permitted.

Although Java Cats Cafe is on the more expensive end and the trip holds no guarantees of private cat time, it’s a fun niche cafe. I had a “paw-sitive” experience at this strange, magical place, but I won’t go back very often. That being said, if you are mesmerized by cats and enjoy exploring local coffee shops, it’s worth the trip.

3.5/5 Stars