[Spotlight] ‘Fur-st’ NC cat café opens second location in Winston
When Crooked Tail Cat Café opened in downtown Greensboro in late 2017, it became the first such establishment licensed in North Carolina. Now owner Karen Stratman is readying a sister location in Winston-Salem.
The Winston Crooked Tail will be at 229 W. 5th Street, across from the Marriott and near Benton Convention Center. If all goes according to plan, it will become the fifth licensed cat café in North Carolina (it won’t receive its license until shortly before it opens, as final approval isn’t granted until everything is feline-friendly). According to the NC Department of Agriculture database, the other three are Mac Tabby and Daily Mews, both in Charlotte, and Cat Tales in Chapel Hill.
“We are going through some permitting processes, and are hoping to open sometime this summer,” said Stratman when I interviewed her (and a small attention-demanding female tuxedo cat named Mousy) in her Greensboro location at 604 S. Elm Street. “It will be the same concept as here; the cats will be up for adoption, and we’ll be working with a local rescue group.”
Stratman said the Winston café would be very similar to the Greensboro one, which gets its cats from Red Dog Farm. “But in another city, so we can save more cats.”
Mousy meowed loudly, as if in approval.
Stratman told me that she has a message for Winston-Salem. “I’d like to say that I’m excited for you to come pet my cats . . .”
Mousy interrupted her with her another loud meow.
“…And I look forward to hosting you all and showing you guys a good time and letting you interact with the kitties. For cat lovers or folks who are learning how to interact and love them, we’re here to help you. And if you’re looking for one of your own, we are happy to play kitty matchmaker.”
Apparently offended by the way we were ignoring her, Mousy offered no opinion on this final statement but jumped down to demand attention from customers playing with musically-named sibling kittens KISS (as in the band) and Bono.
“What separates us from your typical shelter environment is that our cats are housed in a cage-free facility,” continued Stratman. “They’re never crated unless they have some medical issue requiring them to be separated from each other, which rarely happens. This gives them a safe place to live while they are looking for their fur-ever home. They have elevated catwalks, lots of toys, and people coming all the time to interact with them.”
This, Stratman explained, results in her furry guests becoming extremely socialized, not only with people but with others of their own species. “It’s really a great place if you’re looking for a feline companion. Cats have different personalities, and cafés like Crooked tail can help match theirs to yours. We want to make sure the each is the right fit for your family.”
I asked her how it felt to open her second business.
“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous, but it’s also very exciting. We’ll be the fourth cat café in the nation to have more than one location.”
Mousy, who was standing on her hind legs and peering through the glass door into the coffee bar in the back (which Crooked Tail’s furry four-legged employees are forbidden to enter, although customers are welcome to take drinks and snacks out into the kitty parlor), again meowed loudly.