I’m a cat lady. Not a crazy one (I don’t think, but some may beg to differ…), but I love those furry little jerks, so I was really excited when I heard that Kingston was getting a cat cafe last fall. I live downtown and Southpaw Cat Cafe is located in the west end, in the plaza at the corner of Taylor-Kidd and Bayridge. Despite the distance, I have made an effort to visit the cafe a few times over the last couple of months to say hello to the little guys and gals who live there.Inspired by a visit to a similar cafe in Ottawa, owner Scott Fardella (yes, that Fardella) opened Southpaw in November 2016. The cafe, in partnership with Kingston Animal Rescue, temporarily fosters cats of all ages who are available for adoption. In its short 9 month existence, the cafe has found furever homes for over 30 cats.The first time I visited, I enjoyed a cup of tea along with about 5 other customers and took a seat with the hopes of a furry visitor. There is a set of rules that goes along with visiting the cafe, such as no children under 10 allowed in the cat room; a purchase is required to visit the room; no waking or picking up the cats etc. (see the full list of rules here). I did manage to get the attention of a sweet tabby, much like my own little guy, and eventually a snoozing black and white furball decided to get up and say hello.
On another visit I made friends with the lovely Ice Cream, a sweet little white kitty who is quite shy but very affectionate and still in need of a home (hint, hint). The cats who live there change over time and range in personality from very shy to extremely playful. The cat room is equipped with cat toys, tons of beds and boxes for napping and shelving that allows the cats to climb up to high spaces and hang out in feline-sized hammocks. The room is also decked out with cat related art and photos with descriptions of the kitties currently taking up residence.The menu at Southpaw features an array of wraps and sandwiches (including vegetarian and vegan options), coffees and teas, as well as baked goods from a Kingston staple, Fardella’s Bakery, and other sweet treats. On my most recent visit, I enjoyed the Tequila-Lime Chicken Wrap (sliced chicken breast marinated in tequila, tomato-corn salsa on mixed greens, topped with dijon-mayo, $7 plus tax). The sandwich, made in a panini press, came by itself on a nondescript white plate. The flavours were tasty and the tomato-corn salsa was a nice touch. The heated vegetables made the wrap a bit runny though, leaving juice on the plate that eventually made the tortilla a touch soggy, but overall, it wasn’t a bad sandwich. For $7 however, I’m not sure if I’ll go back for lunch. The sweets, on the other hand, look amazing and I’m anxious to go back on cheat day for a taste.Overall, I have had very good experiences at Southpaw and I’m thrilled to know that it has been so successful in getting these little sweeties adopted. If you’re an animal lover, be sure to stop in for a coffee or a bite, and give these little floofs some much needed love and attention. Be sure to take the time to go over the rules so you know what to expect, and keep in mind, the rules are there for a reason. The cats are the top priority for the folks at Southpaw, and well they should be. For those with children under 10, fear not, there are opportunities to bring your little ones on Family Days. The cafe also offers other special events such as Mew-vies with the cats on Mondays and Tuesdays at 6pm; cat yoga classes and, more recently, screenings of Game of Thrones. Be sure to check their events calendar for full listings. Check out Kingstonist’s Flickr for more photos of my visits to Southpaw Cat Cafe.