“Have a cup, save a life.” Jenni Barrett lives by this motto at Mason’s Kitty Brew Cat Café—the first and only cat café in Southwestern Ohio, which Jenni founded alongside her husband Ken in April 2017. Part coffee shop and part cat adoption site, Kitty Brew has placed more than 1,608 cats in their forever homes as of this publication date—all alongside steaming cups of organic, fair-trade coffee.
“I saw a cat café pitched on Shark Tank and fell in love with the idea,” Jenni says. “I had been doing rescue for a couple of years and it just seemed like a really cool idea.”
Jenni’s rescue journey initially began with a stray tomcat. Then working as a probation officer, Jenni was supervising a program when a stray cat found his way inside, passing between men waiting in line to check in. Jenni saw the positive connection between the men and the cat and was inspired to pursue the relationship between humans and animals further.
Jenni and Ken did extensive research, and Jenni took a 10-week course about business planning to prepare to open the shop.
“After 18 months of being told ‘no’ by landlords, banks and zoning departments, we had everything fall together in Mason,” Jenni says. “I can’t say enough good things about Mason. Not once did I hear the word ‘no,’ and it has been an amazing journey.”
Kitty Brew partners with local shelters Animal Friends Humane Society, The Paws Cause, HART, His Hands Extended Sanctuary, and Clermont Animal CARE Humane Society.
Multiple cats call Kitty Brew home at any given time. Although health regulations require the café area be separate from the Cat Lounge, customers are welcome to take their beverages into the cat room once they have been prepared. Entrance to the lounge is $10; reservations are encouraged, although walk-ins are accepted to capacity.
Potential adopters are required to fill out a three-page application in which Kitty Brew checks addresses, speaks to landlords and calls potential adopters’ veterinarians to make sure their current pets are both vaccinated and spayed or neutered. If that information checks out, the adoption is finalized.
Kitty Brew collects adoption fees (dependent on individual shelters) and forwards the money to them; they don’t keep any portion of the adoption fee themselves.
Drinks include fun feline themes like the Tuxedo, blended coffee with cookies and cream; El Gato Mocha, a spiced cayenne mocha; and Oh, Hello Kitty, a creamy blended drink with strawberry and vanilla bean. Options include offerings for caffeine fiends and non-coffee drinkers alike.
Snacks and sandwiches are also available, including cinnamon rolls, muffins, paninis, and grilled cheeses.
Several themed and seasonal events are also held at the café. Jenni’s favorite of all time was a Game of Thrones season finale party. In addition to a screening of the show, the event featured adoptable cats named after the show’s characters, lots of food, an Iron Throne and, notably, cake pops in the shape of a certain main character’s head.
The café also holds cat yoga once a month. They hold several other yoga events throughout the year, including one specifically geared toward kids. Check Kitty Brew’s Facebook page for frequently added upcoming events.
The café also holds various canned cat food drives throughout the summer for rescue partners.
“The most rewarding part of the business is showing people that by helping animals, you are helping people as well,” Jenni says. “Seeing a cat or kitten that was scheduled for euthanasia get a loving home is a wonderful feeling. This is truly life-saving work.”
Kitty Brew Cat Café is located at 6011 Tylersville Road, Mason, 45040. Can’t wait to make a trip to the café? Tune into Kitty Brew’s 24-hour live cat stream at kittybrew.com.
EMILY BEGLEY-EILERS manages EarthWise Pet/Harper’s Point and previously worked as Associate Editor of Cincinnati CityBeat. She is the pet mom of two rescue dogs, a rescue cat, a sun conure parrot, and two skinny (hairless) guinea pigs.