Chuck and Tricia Patton, along with their children, Kayla and Chase, are the “purrprietors” of the new Purrfect Day Café located in Louisville’s eclectic Highlands neighborhood. The café opened on August 8, and it was an instant hit, bringing in cat lovers as well as curiosity seekers to find out just what this unique establishment has to offer. It’s a mix of a café and pub, where you can buy beer, wine, coffee, tea and a variety of snacks — but it’s also a place where you can play with, and even adopt, cats. Though the cat café phenomenon has caught on throughout the country, this is the first of its kind in Louisville.

“This concept is all about bringing fun and community through sharing the love of animals and ultimately finding homes for the cats,” says Tricia Patton.

Says Chuck, “Even if you don’t consider yourself a cat person, come on in and let us convert you!”

The idea to open the cat café was inspired by three “signs,” Chuck says. He had been the owner of a very successful business, Traffic Builders, which he sold three years ago. Chuck was at a crossroads as to what he wanted to do next. Then one day while looking out of his office window, he saw something moving in the grass. It turned out to be an orphaned kitten. He decided to box it up and take it home to Tricia. There was some trepidation about keeping the cat, but they ended up adopting the adorable feline.

Four months later, Chuck and Tricia took a trip to Charleston, SC. They saw a sign outside of an establishment that said, simply, “cats.”

“I peeked in the windows, and all of these people were having drinks and things to eat, and there were all of these cats everywhere,” says Chuck. “I’d never seen anything like this.” He asked a woman who worked there if they could come in, and she said there would be a four-and-a-half hour wait. Chuck couldn’t believe it. The woman explained the concept to the Pattons and told them that Pounce Cat Café worked in partnership with their local Humane Society, and that the cats were being adopted like crazy. There were so many adoptions taking place, the café had to contact other Humane Societies in order to keep up with the demand. Chuck began to formulate in his mind how he could open a place like Pounce.

The café area is set with a few tables and chairs, a bar and a station where you can plug in your laptop or tablet.

A set of stairs leads you up to another seating area where you can view the main cat room as well as a smaller containment area.

“Our objective is to get numbers through here,” says Chuck. “The more people we get coming through here, the more adoptions we have happening.”

The final sign was when Chuck’s son challenged him to read the book A Warrior’s Heart: Becoming a Man of Compassion and Courage by author Eric Greitens, a former Navy SEAL. The book explores Eric’s life journey and how he became a humanitarian warrior. This inspired Chuck to see how he, personally, could do more for his community. These signs all converged at the perfect moment in Chuck’s life, inspiring him to create Purrfect Day Café.

The cat café is designed to look like an industrial loft in the heart of lower Manhattan’s hip SoHo neighborhood. It’s a mixture of wood and metal, encompassing two levels. As you enter, the fully enclosed cat room is to your left, where floor-to-ceiling windows allow you to observe the cats. It’s filled with comfortable plush pillows and chairs, fuzzy rugs, toys and, of course, cats. This is where your cat experience takes place.

The café and the cat areas are completely separate from one another, so if you just want to go in and grab a coffee, sans feline interaction, you can do so.

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The café opened during kitten season, so the cats brought in were between 3 and 5 months old. These kittens had been in foster homes, allowing them a smooth transition into the soothing environment of the café with no issues.

Interacting with the adoptable cats helps you determine which cat would make the best pet for your lifestyle.

“The true stars of the place are the cats,” says Chuck.

The café utilizes two HVAC systems to clear the air of any possible allergens, and there is never any kind of cross-contamination between food and felines. Patrons are allowed to bring drinks into the cat room, but never any food, and once the drinks are in the room, they are not allowed back in the café.

The menu is set up with cute kitty phrases. It starts with Cat-ppetizers, then leads into Paw-stries, Paw-pcorn, Hot Kitt-teas, Paw-fee and Meow-cohol. No items are prepared on site. The café partners with Louisville food businesses, which include Lotsa Pasta, The Popcorn Station and Najla’s of Louisville. If you’re in the mood for a taste of Kitty Litter popcorn (white and dark chocolate with graham cracker dust) or possibly a Siamese scone (a classic cinnamon scone), you’ve come to the right place. Or, wet your whistle with a cold soft drink, a local beer or a glass of wine.

Though the food, drinks and overall atmosphere are truly tasty and inviting, the main objective is to find homes for the cats. Chuck and his team of managers, or “Top Cats,” work in conjunction with the Kentucky Humane Society to ensure that the cats are being properly cared for and that the proper procedures take place during the adoption process. All cats are spayed or neutered, microchipped and given their vaccinations. They also come with one month’s veterinary insurance and a book of coupons good for items at Feeders Supply.

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The café partners with local restaurants and businesses to provide pastries and snacks.

Though the food, drinks and overall atmosphere are truly tasty and inviting, the main objective is to find homes for the cats.

In order to visit the cats, you must make an appointment online and fill out a waiver form. During your visit, you have 50 minutes to pet, snuggle, cuddle and play with the cats. You won’t be the only human in with the cats. Purrfect Day’s “House Cats” — employees who monitor the animals and who can answer any questions about the kitties or the adoption process — are also in the room.

Special events are in the planning stages. One idea is to have “Cat-urday Morning Cartoons.” There would also be an educational component where the staff teaches the children how to care for cats. There’s also talk of holding cat yoga classes.

The café is eager to become a destination for locals and cat lovers looking for a unique outing. “This should match the Highlands,” Chuck explains. “It should be an eclectic base. It should be a place for a girls’ night out, a bachelorette party or maybe a teachers’ outing. It’s a great place for a date night, especially for millennials. They don’t always want dinner and a movie. They want something different.”

“If you can’t have fun working here, you can’t have fun,” says Chuck.

And when it comes to giving Louisvillians a completely new and different experience, Chuck and his family have certainly hit it out of the park with Purrfect Day Café. We think they’re the cat’s pajamas!

Purrfect Day Café is located at 1741 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40205. The café is open Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

If you’d like to book your special time with these purr-fectly adorable kitties, visit purrfectdaycafe.com. The cat room is open to those 10 and older, but those younger than 13 must be accompanied by a guardian, and those younger than 18 must have consent to enter. The cost to enter the room is $10 for a weekday reservation and $12 on weekends. No reservations are required for the café.

All the adorable photography is by Rosemary Cundiff-Brown.

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