Cats and Coffee: Need We Say More?

Attention all cat lovers and coffee drinkers alike, a new café set to open in the Fountain Square area may be exactly what you’ve been looking for.

Selena Hubbard, IUPUI alumna, and her father, Eric Hubbard, have joined efforts in opening Indy’s first fully-functioning cat café, appropriately given the name, ‘Nine Lives.’ The café will be located at 1315 Shelby St., right next to BodySpace Yoga and in close proximity to popular sights such as Fountain Square Brewery and B’s Po Boy.

According to Selena, she and her father had discussed the potential in opening a coffee shop together for quite some time, and when cat café’s began popping up all over the U.S., the two decided their vision of a generic coffee shop would no longer do.

Selena & Eric Hubbard

Selena & Eric Hubbard

The Hubbard's love for animals solidified their decision in opening a café that would not only be a place to kick back with a nice cup of joe, but also be a place that would serve as a temporary home for some lucky kitties.

Nine Lives will be working with local shelters in developing a lineup of feline friends whose personalities best suite the socially stimulating environment of a café in the heart of Fountain Square. Here, the cats will reside in good hands until they are found permanent homes.

“The cats that customers meet in [Nine Lives] will all be adoptable,” Selena explained. “Using the cafe as a means to educate people and provide another channel for cats to be adopted through is a very important part of the business to us, and we hope people will adopt their new best friend from our cafe or be inspired to help the animals of our city in other ways!”    

A coffee shop full of cats, need she say more? Though, due to some obvious health regulations (and so no hairballs end up in your lattes,)  Selena says the space within Nine Lives will be divided off into two separate rooms: the café itself, where drinks and pastries will be served, and the ‘cat lounge,’ where the cats will stay and, you know, lounge. The customers of Nine Lives may choose to dine-in on the café side, but they will also be given the option of bringing food and drink into the cat lounge with them as well.

The menu for Nine Lives will consist of what one would typically find at any ol’ coffee shop: brewed coffees, lattes, teas, smoothies, small snacks, and pastries. Though, Selena would like to make the distinction that the coffee being served at Nine Lives will be “ethically sourced and locally roasted.” In accomplishing this, the café has teamed up with local roaster, Jared Stayton of Brickhouse Coffee Roasters.

Stayton only sources coffees that are labeled as ‘direct trade,’ meaning that Brickhouse buys straight from the growers.

“When Selena reached out to me as she began to interview local roasters for sourcing her beans, I shared how we work alongside in offerings, equipment sourcing, barista training and then of course, fresh roasted beans. There are many great local roasters around Indy, so I was ecstatic to hear that she had decided to work with Brickhouse…” Stayton said.

With the help of Stayton, the Hubbards hope to eventually expand the menu over time in adding cat-themed menu items, as well as some special seasonal drinks.

Though everyone at Nine Lives has been hard at work in making this cat café a reality, a self-funded budget accompanied by some minor setbacks have aided in slowing down the opening process.

“Things are starting to come together for us now,” Selena explains, “but one of the biggest difficulties has been staying within our budget. After talking to many banks, getting a loan seemed to be out of the question, so we’ve been funding this with our own money. I think the fact that this is a new concept for the state has also made this a bit more difficult than opening up a regular coffee shop.”

Though discouraging to some, the Hubbards have shown no signs of slowing down.

“We are working on the last of the required permits with the city at the moment,” Eric Hubbard said, “we are pretty much ready to kick into high gear and complete the café renovation as soon as the permit process is complete. At this point, we are intending on opening this coming October.”

The Hubbards have set up a campaign through GoFundMe’s website in hopes of raising some extra cash before they announce an official grand opening date. Here, you can make donations and become eligible for special prizes and giveaways such as, visiting the café before it becomes open to the public, creating your own drinks for the Nine Lives menu, or winning a private party in the cat lounge for you and your friends.

If Nine Lives Cat Café sounds like the place for you, check out their Facebook to learn more about upcoming events, what they are looking for in future employees, the owners, and their October 2016 opening date.