Cats at Play Cafe Review in Asheville, NC
Local Business Reviews,  Wining & Dining

Cats at Play Café Review: Asheville’s First Cat Cafe

Cat cafes satisfy two of the most basic human needs: coffee and cat cuddles. Originating in Asia, they are now spread worldwide. They are an excellent opportunity to share the love with kitties while having a cozy beverage. They are also purrfect places to bring your computer and work (playful interruptions are guaranteed!).

Hanging out with cats has many health benefits: it’s relaxing, lowers your stress and anxiety, and, according to scientific research, cat owners tend to be at a lower risk of suffering heart disease. It’s a fact: the company of cats makes us happier and healthier!

Cats are mysterious, fascinating creatures and were considered sacred by many ancient cultures around the world. Egypt’s magnificence included the cat-like heads of deities Mafdet, Bastet, and Sekhmet. 

Cats at Play Cafe Asheville NC
All images courtesy of Cats at Play Café

Felines in ancient Egypt were considered protectors – they were even mummified and buried like royalty. In modern times, cats, like dogs and horses, are also becoming another staple of animal therapy. 

Are you like me and cherish cats’ fluffy and independent existence but can’t have one at home right now? Cat cafes will give you a well-deserved weekly happy-cat hour. Are you ready to become a furever family to a cat? Kitties at many cat cafes are often available for adoption as well!

Cats at Play Café is Asheville’s first cat cafe and offers all that and more! This women-owned small business opened in early 2023, and it quickly became very popular. It’s often booked up, so if you are visiting during the weekend, please make reservations. The fee includes 55 minutes of lounging with the cats. 

Kids 10 and older are welcome, and kids over 13 don’t need to go with an adult, making it a perfect plan for tween and teen outings. Does your party have younger kids? Booking the 12 spots per shift will allow you to bring them! The cat cafe is also great for private events, like baby showers or corporate gatherings, because of its welcoming, sweet ambiance.

Besides the cats, you’ll love the boutique, which features an array of cat-themed goodies and accessories, how stylish and cozy the cafe is, and the variety of drinks available, including many local options. 

The cafe is spacious, and it never feels crowded. The max capacity is 12 people, with seven or eight cats. The seating areas are super comfy and invite you to slow down, let the cats approach you, and surrender to their calming, purring sound. 

Must Visit Cafes in Asheville NC Cats at Play Cafe

The music is relaxing, and the atmosphere is super chill. Everything has to do with cats, from the wall art and decor to the towels in the restrooms. There are cat-related books and board games to keep you entertained, too. Of course, the best part is playing and falling in love with the foster kitties waiting for a home!

Cats at Play has been designed with humans and cats in mind, and kitties have all the comfort you can imagine. I love watching them play in the tunnels and structures. There are hairbrushes, toys for them (and for you to play with them), and plenty of places for them to hide when they need privacy.

Downtown Asheville’s Cats at Play Café privileges senior and special needs cats, so be ready to give and receive equally special love. Even if you can’t adopt now, the kitties benefit enormously from these interactions (and you do, too!).  

Cats at Play is a foster location of Brother Wolf Animal Rescue (BWAR) and an active supporter of Best Friends Animal Society, a pioneer of the no-kill movement. By visiting this spot, you also support animal rescue organizations and the well-being of homeless and at-risk animals.

Suppose you fall in love with a cat and are ready to bring them home during your visit! In that case, the process is straightforward: a staff member will walk you through the process, and 100 percent of the adoption fees will go directly to the cafe’s rescue partners. The good news is that the flat fee doesn’t increase or decrease because of the animal’s medical needs.

Also, all the kitties at this cafe are spayed/neutered and microchipped, tested for feline leukemia and FIV, administered age-appropriate vaccines, and dewormed. The only thing they need before they leave is… you!

Cats aside, you’ll also enjoy the menu. It features a small selection of baked goods and many options for local beverages and drinks, including wine, craft beer, coffee, tea, the fantastic elixirs from The MerTails, and Asheville Dispensary’s hemp seltzers. 

They also offer seasonal drinks. My kids and I have recently had the Caramel Apple MEOWMOSA, the Cinnamon Roll Latte, and the Pumpkin Chai from their fall menu. They were super yummy! 

But not only humans can enjoy delicious treats. Do you want to spoil the cats rotten? Get them Churu snacks at the front desk and enjoy the interactive feeding experience. This is also a great way to build relationships with the kitties and gain their affection (a situation that, of course, can change at any time because of… cats!).

Cats at Play hosts events, including movie nights. How do you feel about celebrating Halloween by watching “Coraline” in the company of sweet kitties while eating popcorn and drinking Catawba’s Blackberry Zombie White Ale? It sounds like the purrfect spooky plan, doesn’t it?

Walk-ins are welcome at Asheville’s Cats at Play Café, but reservations are encouraged during weekends or holidays. The best time to visit is when they first open because the kitties will be at their peak energy levels. Visitors are welcome to take photos and record videos without a flash. 

Cats at Play is located in downtown Asheville, close to many wonderful restaurants and shops, which is great, but parking can be challenging. You’ll need to arrive before your reservations to allow time for parking. 

Also, signing the waivers (if you haven’t done it online) and ordering your drinks can take time. You don’t want to be late for your date with the kitties! Please take a look at your parking options here.

I hope you enjoy your visit to the Cats at Play Café as much as I always do! 

Cats at Play Café: 12 Eagle St, Asheville. 

Have you been to Cats at Play Café in Asheville? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!


Born in Argentina, Laura is a journalist who's lived in Asheville for 10 years. She loves all things Asheville, from the vast business scene to the beautiful nonprofits, magical people, and marvelous nature. She loves being involved in projects that are the change she wants to see in the world.

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