Red Deer region to get its first cat cafe

Alley Cat Cafe and yoga studio is expected to open May 1 in Red Deer County

Meeeow! Central Alberta’s first cat cafe and yoga studio is set to open this spring in a Red Deer County industrial park.

Alley Cat Cafe, which is expected to open on May 1, is among the first in the province to bring cat adoptions into a relaxed, “living room-like” setting. Another cat cafe opened recently in Calgary.

The local cafe’s founder, Vanessa Caird-Kutynec of Red Deer, said the concept of giving cafe patrons a chance to bond with potential pets (albeit in a separate ‘cat room’ so cat hair doesn’t mix with food) started in Quebec. It’s since spread across much of Canada.

Caird-Kutynec, who started the Alley Cats Rescue charity in 2009, has been taking strays off the streets and looking after them in temporary foster homes across the region. The cats are adopted into permanent homes whenever possible.

Her Alley Cat Cafe, to be located at Unit 8, 106 Clearskye Way in the Clearview Industrial Park, south of the Red Deer landfill, should move this process along by giving cafe patrons a chance to fraternize with up to eight cats at a time.

“This is not a situation where you bring your own cat in,” said Caird-Kutynec. “It’s a normal coffee shop, where people can come and, if they want, spend time with (provided) cats in a relaxed atmosphere.”

There will be a door between the cafe and cat room, to meet health regulations.

Her cafe, which was approved by the Red Deer County, will hopefully attract anyone who wants refreshments, said Caird-Kutynec — as well as potential cat owners, or people who like felines but can’t keep them for various reasons.

For the adventurous types who like exercising with cats, Caird-Kutynec also plans to open a studio for cat yoga in the same location. She said it’s a growing trend; “Some people find doing yoga with cats fascinating.”

Caird-Kutynec plans to finance the $75,000 cafe on her own, and to do fundraising to create the $19,000 cat room. She’s already sold-out a 60-person paint-along benefit on Saturday at The Hideout, but invites anyone else who’s interested to the 7 p.m. silent auction.

A fundraising garage sale will be held in the spring. More details will be revealed on the Alley Cats Rescue Facebook page.

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