Cat Cafe set to open in Indiana | company

A new coffee shop aims to give Indiana cat lovers and coffee lovers a place to sip coffee, play with cats, and potentially adopt their next pet.

Indiana residents Alex and Brittney Valeski plan to open Dexter’s Cat Café on the west end of Philadelphia Street in late spring or early summer. The shop would function like a typical coffee shop, but guests would also get the opportunity to play with and adopt cats and kittens.

The front part of the space would function as a normal cafe, according to Alex Valeski, where guests can sit and order coffee, tea and pastries. The space would include a “special cat room” where customers can pay an entry fee to spend time with about 20 cats and kittens.

“Anyone who wants to come visit with cats will be let into the special cat room for a set amount of time,” Alex Valeski said. “So every guest gets a personal experience with the cats.”

The cafe would have free wifi for customers who want to work online or meet friends. But one of the cafe’s main goals is to create a place where people can find cats and kittens they want to adopt.

“The Cat Room is perfect for anyone who either wants to spend time with cats or is looking to adopt them,” said Brittney. “One of our main goals is to offer people looking for adoption a quiet yet fun way to meet cats and kittens. … The idea behind the cafe is to allow people to visit cats in a more relaxed environment than a typical shelter visit.”

The coffee shop would serve Commonplace Coffee drinks as well as a selection of teas and bottled drinks. Additionally, the Valeskis are looking to partner with a local bakery to sell pastries.

“We really want Dexter’s to focus on visiting cats and possibly letting them adopt them,” Alex Valeski said, “but we would love for our customers to be pleasantly surprised by the quality of our coffee and baked goods. We put a lot of work into creating a simple but impressive menu.”

The cafe also works with Four Footed Friends, an Indiana animal shelter, to provide the cats.

“We were fortunate to work with Four Footed Friends on this endeavor,” said Brittney Valeski. “They will provide us with cats and kittens, which will also free up more space at the shelter so they can help more animals in need.”

The opening hours of the café are provisionally set to Sunday and Wednesday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. However, Alex said those times may change.

The main cafe area would be open to the public for food and beverages during regular business hours. The cat room would be accessible via appointments or walk-in visits. There is a small fee to enter the cat room to help the Valeskis cover the cost of caring for the cats. The Valeskis also plan to rent out the space for small events like birthday parties, showers, and meetings.

The Valeskis got the idea to open Dexter’s Cat Café after raising four sick kittens last summer, according to Brittney.

“During and after the pandemic, many spaying and neutering programs were halted, resulting in a sharp increase in feral kitten births,” she said. “When we found and raised four very sick kittens this summer, we spontaneously said, ‘We should just open a cat cafe.’ That became a reality when we realized how difficult it was finding homes for cats and kittens as our local shelter system was overcrowded. This is how we help them get them off the streets and into loving homes.”

As for the cafe’s namesake, the Valeskis dedicated the business to their 12-year-old shih-tzu-beagle mix Dexter, who “loves” cats and was adopted from a shelter.

“He really loves cats more than any other dog I’ve ever seen,” said Brittney, “and we wanted to honor him since he was also adopted from a shelter. It’s his legacy.”