A first-of-its-kind space, the Cat Cafe Maui, opens at the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center. Described as “a fun and inviting space for cats and humans,” Cat Cafe Maui patrons can relax, play, sip, and shop with rescue cats–and adopt one if they find a special connection.
The business, located on the second floor near the elevators, had a soft opening this week, and will hold an official grand opening on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022.
Specifically designed to socialize and train rescue kittens, Cat Cafe Maui provides a home for cats to get ready for adoption, and visitors to find their forever kittens.
Cat Cafe Maui founder and Maui Cat Rescue executive director, Moriah Diamond said the concept started in Japan. According to Diamond, there are at least four businesses dedicated to the idea on Oʻahu; however, this is a first for Maui.
Visits are by reservation only, but if someone doesn’t have a reservation when they come in, they can scan a QR code on site and book an appointment online for any available spots.
Availability is at the top of every hour from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last time slot being at 4 p.m. Cost is $20 per person (plus fees) for 50 minutes, and includes a complimentary premium coffee or herbal tea and a designed time with the cats after signing a waiver. Kamaʻāina rates are also available.
“A lot of people on Maui can’t have cats because of the rental situation, but we love cats, and so this is a place that people can come and hang out with the cats without having to make the commitment of owning a cat, having to care for the cat, having to worry about whether or not their landlord is going to let them have a cat,” said Erin McCargar, Treasurer and volunteer coordinator for the nonprofit Maui Cat Rescue.
“Also those of us who love cats, even if we have cats, we just want to spend time with other cats. So it gives us a nice, clean, comfortable, cool space to just hang out with the cats and enjoy them, and meet other people who like to hang out with cats too,” she said. “So it’s just a nice way to spend an afternoon sometimes.”
Cat related merchandise is available for sale in a boutique located at the front entrance. There’s also refreshments available for guests who book a session.
“There’s been lots of situations, like in the last couple of weeks where I’ve been stressed, or I’ve been upset or whatever, and I just come here and I sit and I hang out with the cats, and it’s just so calming and fun and nice, and you can’t not smile with these little munchkins running around,” said McCargar.
“It’s also a great opportunity for kids to learn how to handle cats, how to be with pets, how to play with them, and how to care for an animal,” she said.
There’s also more than 50 volunteers who conduct deep cleans every morning and evening, and spot cleans throughout the day. Those interested in volunteering are invited to sign up here.
The other aspect is connecting cats to people and facilitating adoptions. Cat Cafe Maui allows potential adopters to get to know the cats’ personalities first.
All of the cats are available for adoption through a partnership with the Maui Humane Society. Maui Humane Society will receive all donation-based adoption fees from the café to offset their support of kitty supplies, adoption administration, and veterinary care.
Cats range in age from four months old to five years, and are vaccinated (as age appropriate), spayed or neutered, microchipped, and come with all the same guarantees that the Humane Society offers if you adopt a cat. If they end up being sick in the first two weeks of adoption, they can be taken back to the Humane Society, and they pay for their veterinary care.
“The hope is this gets more cats connected with more people, and available for adoption, and then that could help us to clear the shelter so that the shelter can take on more cats and help both the cat community and the community in general with fewer cats running around without homes,” said McCargar.
With over 3.4 million cats entering animal shelters nationwide, only 3.1 million cats are adopted each year, according to recent data. At the Maui Humane Society, for every one dog there are two cats that come through its doors. In their 2022 fiscal year, Maui Humane Society accepted nearly 5,000 animals, 65% of which were cats.
“We’re ecstatic to have a lifesaving, on-island partnership with Cat Cafe Maui,” said Katie Shannon, Maui Humane Society’s Director of Marketing in the business’ grand opening press release. “Their unique adoption opportunity creates more space in our shelter, ultimately increasing our life-saving capabilities. All adoptable cats at Cat Café Maui come from Maui Humane Society, so by adopting from Cat Cafe Maui, you’re saving Maui’s cats in need.
“The opening of Cat Cafe Maui marks the first experiential concept of this kind at Queen Ka‘ahumanu and we love the idea of combining retail and café space with animal therapy, education, and potentially helping our community’s cat overpopulation,” said QKC General Manager Kauwela Bisquera in the opening announcement.
“The reception so far has been great. I don’t know what’s more fun–watching the cats, or watching the people watch the cats,” said McCargar.
Once it gets settled, Cat Cafe Maui will also host events like Kitty Yoga, Movie Nights, educational events, story time, art classes, and eventually birthday party packages.
“We love helping animals and making people smile,” said Cat Cafe Maui founder and Maui Cat Rescue executive director, Moriah Diamond. “We are also equally committed to using this space as a means to bring awareness about cats on the island and educate our community about responsible pet ownership.”