It’s July 2019, and unfortunately, my trip through Western Canada is slowly coming to an end. But there’s one spot left on my list: The Regal Cat Café in Calgary, Alberta. I first learnt about this place after their big opening in June 2017, but didn’t have a chance to visit until now. So, as a cat lover, I’m super excited to check it out!
The Regal Cat Café is the first cat café in Calgary, in the Kensington neighbourhood, which is popular with locals and tourists for shopping, eating out, and relaxing at coffee shops. There are three rooms open to the public: The café area, Kitty Kingdom room, and a small preparation room between the two. Usually, up to 12 adoptable cats share the second room, waiting for visitors to relax, cuddle or play with, and maybe even become their new roommate! The Regal Cat Café works with the MEOW Foundation, a local cat rescue organization, where all kitties come from. Before a cat can move to the Regal Cat Café, he/she has to be spayed or neutered, micro-chipped, up to date with vaccines, and in good health. Also, MEOW Foundation’s staff ensures that he/she enjoys socializing with other cats and humans, to make things as easy as possible for everyone, and the majority of cats is at least five months old. Since the Regal Cat Café opened, more than 600 cats have found a loving home!
When I enter the Regal Cat Café, I find myself in the cozy café area. Immediately, the scent of freshly brewed coffee and yummy baked pastries wafts up my nose, and the cute gift shop area briefly catches my eye as well. But first, I have to meet the kitties, and some of them are already curiously checking me out through the big glass wall, that separates this room from their Kitty Kingdom. After reading through the Kitty Visit Rules, washing my hands, and admiring the kitty drawings on the wall (all inside the preparation room), I’m ready to go!
Wow, stepping inside the Kitty Kingdom feels like a whole other world! Right away, a few friendly cats are walking towards me to say hello, and I’m excited to pet and play with them for a bit. Others are napping in one of the chairs or inside the coffee tables that are all over the room, playing with a visitor, or hiding somewhere. In general, many cats are less active in the afternoon, so it’s understandable that not all of them feel like hanging out with humans right now! Today, nine kitties are sharing the Kitty Kingdom, and the majority has cool fishy names, like Guppy, Tuna, Mahi Mahi, and Avery Shark! Most of them have black and white fur, but there are a couple of orange tabbies, and one grey and white tabby cat. Although it’s summer, there are only five other visitors in the room, and a kind staff member is here briefly as well, to check on everything. After a while, the cats decide to go to someone else or have a bite (or a nap!), which gives me a chance to look at the rest of the room’s features. On the opposite side of the room, there’s a large shelf with lots of napping and climbing spots for the kitties, but also a sitting area at the bottom with a few books, such as “I am Pusheen” and “How to tell if your Cat is plotting to kill you”, and they both crack me up a lot! Next, I’m curious to learn about each cat’s profile on the wall, which includes their name, gender, age, markings, the adoption date, and a brief description of their personality and background story. The youngest member of the gang is eight months old, and two of these lovely kitties have already found their forever home, and will move there in a few weeks. In the meantime, a few more cats are making their way towards me, so we cuddle and play some more, and the one who likes attention the most (unfortunately, I can’t remember which one is which), makes me laugh by crawling into a little box, then looking at me out of it! There’s also a large window to the street, for the kitties to watch the world go by, which I bet they enjoy a lot! Unfortunately, my half hour at the Kitty Kingdom is almost over, so I make sure to check out the kitty-themed games, that are sitting on one of the coffee tables close to the exit door. The ones most appealing to me are “Kitties in a blender” and “Cat Lady”, which I might get in the future, lol! So as you can see, there’s lots of fun things to do in the kitty lounge of the Regal Cat Café!
After all this kitty fun, I feel like taking a break inside the café area. The Regal Cat Café is proud to offer its customers a large selection of hot and cold drinks, like locally roasted coffee and tea specialties (hand-blended by Tearrific, sold exclusively at this café), as well as juices, pop, and water. If you’re hungry, try one of their unique, mostly locally-baked treats, such as kitty-themed macarons, tarts, cookies, cupcakes, muffins, and more! Vegan and allergy-friendly (gluten, egg, dairy and nut-free) items are available as well. I’m having a Chai Tea Latte and a brownie that are to die for, while watching the kitties through the window some more. Afterwards, I can’t resist checking out the gift shop, which is on the left and right side of the room, next to the café area. Here, cat lovers can find pretty much everything their heart desires: T-shirts and pillows with funny kitty slogans, socks, greeting cards, key chains, mugs, tote bags, magnets, buttons, and enamel pins, but also various kinds of loose tea, coffee beans, and kitty paintings. Most of these goodies are handmade or painted by local artists. These items, as well as custom digital pet portraits, and a bunch of cat and dog supplies (e.g. beds, collars, catnip pouches, treats, and wet and dry food) can also be bought at the Regal Paw Shop, which is the Regal Cat Café’s online shop, open 24/7. If you live in Calgary, delivery is free for orders of C$ 50.00 or more, or you can pick up your order at the café. For other locations across Canada, shipping is free if the amount is C$ 150.00 minimum. Donations (e.g. food, treats, litter, beds, blankets, toys, and cash donations) are always welcome, and the Regal Cat Café also sells gift cards.
A small selection of drinks and pastries (photo courtesy of the Regal Cat Café), and partial gift shop area.
But that’s not all the Regal Cat Café is known for! In the past, they hosted cool events and classes for both humans and cats, such as Kitty Paint Parties (with various mottos, e.g. Fence Kitties, Moonlight Kitty, and Tea Cup Kitty), with all supplies, instructions, and a kitty visit included. Their Cats & Yoga nights, Crafting with Kitties (for Valentine’s Day, Christmas stockings, etc.), Paper Art Parties, and 3D Cat Portrait making class sound like lots of fun, too! Besides, customers can book private events, like birthday parties or team events, visits in the kitty lounge, or a private version of some of the events above.
The Regal Cat Café is a popular spot, and has only limited walk-in spots available each day, so it’s highly recommended to reserve a spot through their website prior to your visit, especially on weekends and holidays. For 30 minutes of kitty time, the cost is C$ 10.00 per person, and children 10 and under have to be accompanied by an adult while in the kitty lounge. Tweens and teens from 11 to 17 years are allowed to enter by themselves, but a parent or guardian has to sign a waiver before their visit, which is available by email. There’s no charge for children one year old and under. Food and drinks can be taken inside the Kitty Kingdom, as long as there’s a lid on the latter, and they are not left unattended. Normally, up to 16 visitors are allowed, and the Kitty Visit Rules (e.g. no feeding, no loud noises, or chasing cats) need to be followed at all times. Their FAQ page is very helpful as well, especially if it’s your first visit to the Regal Cat Café. The entire place is also fully wheelchair accessible.
Every second Wednesday evening of the month (except for holidays), the Regal Cat Café hosts their Adoption Night. Afterwards, a bunch of new adorable kitties arrive at the café, and if you’re looking to adopt one or more, you should submit an application as soon as possible, as it’s first come, first serve. More information about the adoption process and a description of every cat currently living at the café can be found here.
Here are the Regal Cat Café’s hours:
Monday-Thursday: 12-5 pm
Friday-Sunday: 12-6 pm
COVID-19 restrictions (as of June 10, 2021)
At this time, coffee, tea, and baked foods are available for takeout only, and up to six guests (masks are mandatory) are allowed in the Kitty Kingdom at a time. Thanks to the room’s large size, social distancing is not an issue, and it can be booked for private groups (six people maximum) for C$ 50.00 as well. Up to 10 customers are allowed to be inside the café area, while waiting for their turn in the kitty lounge, picking up an order, or looking at gift shop items. Unfortunately, no classes or events are currently showing on the website of the Regal Cat Café.
Because of this situation, the hours and restrictions may change at any time, so I suggest to check the Regal Cat Café’s website or social media profiles (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter) for updates before you visit.
How to get to the Regal Cat Café
From downtown Calgary, take the red C-Train line towards Crowfoot, and exit at Sunnyside station. From there, it’s just a few minutes of a walk to the Regal Cat Café. It’s also a short bike ride (ca. 15 minutes) or walk (about 30 minutes) from downtown Calgary. If you’re driving, paid parking is available in the Kensington building parking garage, as well as street and lot parking.
Address: 303 – 10 Street Northwest, Calgary AB, T2N 1V8, Canada
Phone: +1 403-455-2287 (CATS)
I’m so thrilled I finally got to visit the Regal Cat Café! Same as other places I visited, that work with animals, I have no doubt that the kitties are enjoying their temporary home very much, as there are lots of hiding and napping spots in the Kitty Kingdom, great food, fun toys to play with, and the room is very clean, plus, they get to cuddle with their cat buddies and people every day! But if a cat doesn’t feel like having company, he/she is welcome to hide and come out later if they want, so there’s no pressure. It’s obvious that the staff are cat lovers, and the cats’ well being is their highest priority. Even more, it seems to me that the cats are encouraged to feel like royalty, which is awesome, as I’m sure some of them had horrible past experiences, so they deserve to relax and be loved! Besides, I love the warm and calming colours used for decorating the place (e.g. the turquoise-coloured floor in the entire public area, black chairs, and light brown shelf in the kitty lounge, white chairs, and light brown shelves in the café and gift shop area, and the white-coloured walls, especially with the black drawings in the preparation room). I think this mix of colours contributes to a relaxing and cozy atmosphere for both humans and cats, and the accessories in the kitty lounge (e.g. the iconic “This pillow is probably covered in cat hair” pillow) are super cute! As mentioned before, the Regal Cat Café works with mostly local companies and artists, which is amazing, especially during the times we are in right now. Also, I like that they stand for the “Adopt, don’t shop” motto, i.e. adopting cats from them or a shelter, instead of buying them at a breeder or pet store. Although cats are awesome, I think it’s important to ensure the customers’ health and safety as well, which the Regal Cat Café does very well by never letting kitties inside the café area. There are many reasons why people who love cats can’t have any, such as allergies, restrictions from their landlord, other pets who don’t get along with cats, or a lack of time, so I’m sure these people much appreciate to be able to spend time with kitties at the Regal Cat Café! It’s also a great place for visitors to Calgary, like me, who want to take a break from a long day of exploring the city. Last but not least, hanging out with cats is supposed to be great for your mental health, so it’s a fulfilling and calming change to everyday life, especially if you’re under a lot of stress, such as at work or school, and of course, the kitties enjoy spending time with you as well!
Here’s a video about this cool place, published in September 2020, courtesy of the Regal Cat Café:
So if “Cats, Cuddles, and Coffee” sound PURRfect to you, stop by the Regal Cat Café during your next visit to Calgary! 😸😺