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Bentley & Friends: Catnip Cat Cafe

It's the only spot in Hampton Roads where you can sit down in a home-like environment, sip on a beverage, and enjoy the company of adoptable cats.

NORFOLK, Va. — The Catnip Cat Cafe in Norfolk is a one-of-a-kind Hampton Roads experience.

Owner Freeda Steele and her husband opened the cafe in 2017, based on inspiration from a Japanese TV show with a similar concept.

While most cat adoption agencies have their felines in cages, Steele wanted to give these cats the ability to explore, so all of the cats are free-roaming. 

"They are a lot more relaxed and you can see their personalities a lot better than you would see at a shelter where they are forced into cages," Steele said.

 All of the cats at the Catnip Cat Cafe are up for adoption, through several different rescues. 

If you're interested in visiting or adopting, you can book a 30-minute or 60-minute reservation online. 

The cost ranges from $6 to $10 dollars per person, and those funds go towards maintaining the space and resources needed for cats at the cafe. It also includes your drink - but eat ahead of time, because this cafe only feeds cats.

That frees up adoption fees on the cats to go back to their rescue agency.

Credit: Madison Kimbro

"I've always loved cats and I just thought it was a great idea," Steele said. "To me it's like a win-win situation, as far as your helping cats and there's really no downside."

Since opening the Catnip Cat Cafe, Steele and her team have adopted out 455 furry friends. The coronavirus pandemic hasn't stopped them from completing adoptions either. 

At the start of September, there were 16 cats at the cafe waiting to meet loving owners. If you're planning to check it out, just make sure you sanitize and wear your mask.

The cafe is also operating at half-capacity right now, so six visitors are allowed inside the cafe at a time.