Catfé society in St. Anne’s Hill

L ast spring I wrote a piece introducing readers to a Dayton first: The Gem City Catfé, which officially opened its doors on January 2nd. This is a place where the 3 Cs intersect: cats, community, and coffee. A year later, I checked in with Karin Gudal, director of the operation, to find out how […]

The whole kitten caboodle at Gem City Catfé


Gem City Catfé owner Karin Gudal.

 

By Paula Johnson

Last spring I wrote a piece introducing readers to a Dayton first: The Gem City Catfé, which officially opened its doors on January 2nd. This is a place where the 3 Cs intersect: cats, community, and coffee. A year later, I checked in with Karin Gudal, director of the operation, to find out how things are going, sample some baked goods, and of course, play with cats. We settled inside the glass-enclosed Cat Lounge, featuring an amazing Wright B Flyer floor-to-ceiling play structure, conceived by Gudal and built by Dayton artists Marina Genetin and Landon Crowell. As I investigated, I was investigated by a phalanx of felines, and had to keep reminding myself I was there to do more than just pet kitties.

Paula Johnson: First, what’s the biggest surprise with running the Catfé? It’s actually a dual business, right? You’ve got the café part and you’ve got the cat part.

Karin Gudal: Exactly! The hardest part is that I didn’t expect how difficult it was to convey to people that they could come here and NOT have to interact with the cats. If you want to just have coffee, that’s fine. Even if you’re wildly allergic there’s no problem. We have separate HVAC systems. The air in the cafe isn’t even the same air that’s in the Cat Lounge. We’re still trying to clear that up.

As to the café part, our lead “Purrista” Shelby used to be a trainer at Boston Stoker, who is our coffee provider. She has an insane amount of coffee knowledge and has been in lots of competitions, so I want people to get that we are serious about our coffee. We have the latest technology and the set up is the same as any of the third wave coffee houses.

And our baked goods are delicious, locally made and mostly gluten-free. The macaroons are from Redémarrage Patisserie. We always have sea salt caramel along with other rotating flavors. Rachel Bakes does our amazing gluten-free cupcakes. The chocolate chip cookies are from Wheat Penny’s baker. (I tasted the macaroon, a vanilla and red velvet cupcake, and the cookie. I have been accused of being as finicky as a cat, and they all passed my taste test.) So I want people to know that we do everything at a really high level.

PJ: How many cats are here now and how many have been adopted?

KG: Sixteen cats are here now. We started with twelve, but we realized that wasn’t enough as cats started getting adopted. And three of our cats are permanent residents. So far 38 cats have been adopted since we’ve opened our doors.

PJ: I’m observing all these cats living pretty harmoniously with each other, and it occurs to me that some people are reluctant to have more than one cat because they’re afraid of conflict, and might see this as a barrier to adoption. Can you advise folks about this?

KG: Yes, we definitely work with people and walk them through the adjustment period to introduce another cat into the home. It’s just going really slow—first exchanging some scent items like used bedding for a week, then move into letting them interact behind a door, and do feedings at the door so the cats are getting a positive association. You’d then move in to supervised introductions. Yes, there are lots of things we can help with!

PJ: What about the upstairs art gallery and special events space?

KG: We’ve planned to rotate the art shows quarterly, but we may move to a more frequent schedule in light of some feedback we’re getting. Our first show featured Amy Kollar Anderson, and currently we have work from Ron Rollins and Terry Welker. The space is available for community events, meetings, and classes.

PJ: Anything else new since we talked last year?

KG: Yes! We’ve founded our own non-profit 501(c)(3), Gem City Kitties. It’s streamlined and everything is handled in house now. We formerly partnered exclusively with the Humane Society, but now we have nine other partners. The rescues become our cats, and we pay for everything they need to get them ready for adoption, including vet care and treatments. We handle all the adoptions ourselves, usually on the same day!

I can’t close this article without mentioning the boutique area of cat-themed items for sale, including Cat Wine. Yes, you read that right (it’s catnip-based and not actually alcoholic). I bought a nice Pinot Meow and a MosCATo for a happy hour later that afternoon with my five kitties, because it’s really not good to drink alone, and whether you prefer cat wine or coffee, Gem City Catfé offers you a cat ton of options.

1513 E 5th St, Dayton, OH 45403
www.gemcitycatfe.com
Phone: 937.949.9170

Tags: , ,

Dayton City Paper Dining Critic Paula Johnson would like every meal to start with a champagne cocktail and end with chocolate soufflé. As long as there’s a greasy burger and fries somewhere in the middle. Talk food with Paula at PaulaJohnson@DaytonCityPaper.com.

One Response to “Catfé society in St. Anne’s Hill” Subscribe