This Is How Cat Cafés Get Their Cats

Who doesn’t love cuddling up to an adorable feline friend at a cat café? Some cafés even give you the option to adopt the cats that live there. This has made you curious about something. Where do cat cafés get their cats?

Many cat cafés will host cats from animal shelters, animal rescue facilities, or animal welfare organizations. Before allowing the cats to engage with customers, the cat café owner or staff will ensure the cat is current on its shots and is otherwise healthy.

If you have more questions about the health and lifestyles of cats at cat cafés, this post has all the answers. Keep reading, as we have lots of great information to come!

Where Do the Cats at Cat Cafés Come From?

Some cat cafés specialize in a species or two of cats, but many more have cats that run the gamut from big ones to small ones, hairless ones, hairy ones, loud ones, and quiet ones. Here are the usual origins of these cat companions. 

Animal Shelters

In the United States, as many as 5,000 animal shelters exist throughout the country. Also known as pounds, many animal shelters are independently-operated. 

Pets of all kinds are surrendered to animal shelters or found homeless and dropped off here, but cats and dogs are among the most popular.

If a person loses a pet and that pet gets taken to a shelter, they can usually recover their pet. However, most of the animals in shelters are abandoned and thus will have no one coming to get them. 

Those who are looking for a new pet can check a shelter and adopt a cat or dog (or even both) that they like. 

Shelters only have so many kennels, though. When they run out of space, unfortunately, the animals that have been in the shelter for a while are often euthanized, which means they’re humanely put to death.

Some shelters are no-kill, but these are usually larger facilities. They’ll have a better adoption track record too, so no animals stay in the shelter for too long.

When a cat café owner adopts cats from an animal shelter, they’re very often saving that cat from being euthanized.

Animal Rescue Facilities

If not from an animal shelter, then a cat café might source its felines from animal rescue facilities or organizations. 

Animal rescue groups understand the grisly fate that many shelter animals face. Thus, these organizations strive to save animals.

It’s not only abandoned or neglected pets that animal rescue facilities will take in, but strays, abused pets, and unwanted animals. The goal of an animal rescue facility is to find the perfect home for these animals, which could just be a pet café. 

The members of the animal rescue group will often work with their fostered pets very carefully, even living with them. In the care of the animal rescue group member, a cat or dog will learn better behavior.

If the animal has medical issues, then the animal rescue group member will often pay out of their own pocket (or using the organization’s money) to nurse the animal back to health. 

The animal will also be cared for, being fed a balanced and nutritious diet each day, receiving playtime, exercising, and undergoing training. 

Most animal rescue group members are volunteers who are very passionate about animals. If they deem your cat café a suitable place for a feline, then you can adopt a cat or several through these organizations.

Animal Welfare Organizations

From World Animal Protection to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), Best Friends Animal Society, Animal Welfare Institution, the Humane Society of the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), these are all examples of animal welfare organizations.

Animal welfare organizations and animal rescue organizations may have overlapping interests, but these two groups are not the same. An animal welfare organization focuses primarily on the humane and fair treatment of animals.

An animal welfare organization might seek to take action against companies that are being cruel to animals and spread public awareness about animal welfare. They will rescue and adopt pets that have been found to be living in cruel conditions. 

These organizations also work with other similar organizations to get pets adopted into safe, loving furrever homes. This is yet a third viable option for obtaining the kitties for your cat café!

How Many Cats Does a Cat Café Have on Average?

When we talk about adopting cats from an animal welfare organization, a local animal shelter, or an animal rescue organization, exactly how many cats does a cat café need?

That very much depends on the size of the cat café. If the café is a little hole in the wall, then the cat café may showcase two or maybe three cats max. 

After all, as we’ve written about in the past, cat cafés are subject to the same health inspection checks that any other café or restaurant is. If the cat café was overcrowded with felines, that would mean the café would probably struggle to keep the place clean of cat hair and feces. 

A cat café like that would be shut down in a hurry. 

Even if the cat café somehow survived its inspection, once the word came out about the overcrowding, animal welfare organizations like the ones mentioned above would crack down on the cat café until it downsized or closed its doors.

Larger cat cafés might have anywhere from 10 to 15 or even 20 felines. The larger the café, the more room there is for more cats. However, you may recall from reading our blog that cat cafés do not use the whole building for cats.

Instead, about half the café will be for the kitties to roam and play with customers. The other half is for eating and drinking. Cats will not be permitted into this part of the café for health and safety reasons. 

Thus, even a large café has only half the square footage and may have to reduce its number of cats.

Are the Cats at Cat Cafés Healthy?

As sweet and loveable as cats are, they can also be disease carriers. 

Many diseases and conditions that cats can develop are spreadable to humankind, everything from cat scratch disease to giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis, rabies, toxoplasmosis, and roundworms. 

That’s why, even when adopting cats from a reputable cat rescue organization or animal shelter, any cat café owner worth their salt should take all the cats they’ve adopted to a local veterinarian. 

There, the cat café owner will get each cat checked out individually. If the cat is behind on its shots, then the cat should receive its proper vaccinations before it’s allowed to mingle with other felines and especially paying customers. 

This is why even if a larger cat café is just getting started, you may only see the café feature several felines at once. The greater the number of cats the café has under its care, the higher the vet bills.

Once the cat café brings in a regular, reliable income, the staff can afford to adopt more cats. The higher vaccination and care bills won’t be as financially damaging.

Can You Bring Your Own Cat to a Cat Café?

Perhaps you have a cat café in your neighborhood. You stop in there pretty regularly and have gotten to know several of the cats quite well. 

You think your own feline friend back home would like the companionship of some of the cats at the café. Are you permitted to bring your own cat to a cat café?

The answer is most definitely not.

Cat cafés can be chaotic places. The cats that live there now are used to the constant flow of customers, the nonstop whirr of the coffee machines, and the lulling sound of conversation that only dies out at closing time. 

However, these cats had to adjust. 

It’s not only that your cat would have to get used to those noises too upon entering the cat café, but also the presence of all those people and cats. It would likely to be too much for your cat to handle, even if they’re relatively sociable.

Your cat freaking out notwithstanding, cat cafés have plenty of other great reasons to not allow outside animals in.

What if your cat isn’t vaccinated? They could bite or scratch one of the customers or even another feline and cause injury and possible illness or disease. Plus, if your cat got hurt, you might then turn around and sue the cat café. 

A cat café could also face a potential lawsuit if your cat got lost because they panicked when on the grounds of the cat café. 

Overall, it’s much better to just leave your own cat at home.

What Happens to the Cats at Cat Cafés?

When a cat is adopted by a cat café, they’re being spared a life at a shelter. More so, they avoid the terrible fate that is being euthanized.

A cat that you can visit and play with at a cat café lives there full-time. The fate of that cat will be one of two things. Either the feline will live out its days at the cat café or it will be available for adoption by customers of the café. 

Some café staff gets attached to certain felines, which can happen if you spend enough time with them day in and day out. In many more instances though, the staff at a cat café is eager to get their feline friends placed into a furrever home.  


Cat café staff will obtain felines through animal rescue organizations, animal shelters, or animal welfare organizations. Most cat cafés have around 10 cats on average, but it can be more or fewer if the café has the space to accommodate the cats.

The cats that live in a cat café are vaccinated and healthy. Many are ready to be adopted by great people like you!

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