Since opening on Broadway, just east of downtown Mt. Pleasant, a little less than a year ago, owner of Karma Kat Cafe Mystie Beckwith says only a few people have wandered in expecting more cafe and less cat.
Beckwith pets an adoptable cat at Karma Kat Cafe“Once it was an older couple. They came in the front and looked around and asked if we had coffee.”
Unfortunately, she had to disappoint them. There wasn’t coffee at that time, but now there is. A keurig on the sideboard gives guests at Karma Kat Cafe an opportunity to whip up a hot beverage of their own. Cold sodas are also available for purchase by the bottle. Other than that this operation is fully about the cats. There’s no food prep on the grounds and Karma Kat is registered with the state as an adoption center rather than a shelter so that they can have an environment that mimics home.
“Retail is hard these days, with the chain stores” says Beckwith, who ran Redbird Pet Emporium (formerly Redbird Feeds & Pet Supplies) in Mt. Pleasant for nine years. “When I was getting towards the end I thought, I could be done or I could continue to make a difference.”
Prior to its closing in May of last year Beckwith adopted more than 300 cats out through Redbird. “It was in cages. We’d have a few in at a time. Nothing like this.”
Now, it’s more about the cats and people and less about the business. Beckwith says she had heard about the human benefits of cat cafes during her research on the topic, but was still surprised to see the magnitude of the therapeutic benefits. “Everyone benefits. We see the cats become more social, and the people relax and feel better. I like seeing people have a good day.”
As a former Central Michigan University student Beckwith says she especially enjoys seeing students from the college visit. For those who have left pets back home in order to pursue their educational goals, the cats at Karma Kat Cafe are a welcome opportunity to have a pet for a few hours each week. Beckwith says some students even bring their homework along, and simply sit and work in the presence of the animals.
Group classes at Karma Kat Cafe include painting with cats, yoga and more
Studying, birthday parties, painting classes. Beckwith says they even have an astrology group that meets at Karma Kat Cafe on Monday evenings. “We’ve done crystals with cats, reiki. We want this to be an experience.”
To sign up for group classes or reserve a visit with the cats at Karma Kat Cafe, visit the website. Class times and availability vary month-to-month, but Beckwith says they always have something interesting going on. Walk-ins are welcome 12-8 pm Monday through Friday and 11-8 pm on Saturdays.