SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — The Sioux City City Council recently passed a petition Monday to change an ordinance prohibiting a resident from opening a ‘cat café’ downtown and she said she hopes to open in just three months.  

Photo courtesy of Megan Thompson, composed by Timothy Metcalf Photography.

Meghan Thompson said she noticed an abundance of activities to do around Siouxland that were all outdoors, but there weren’t many things to do indoors. She said she wanted to open a place where parents could bring their kids, where couples could go on dates or a place where Siouxlanders could just relax.  

Thompson said she had been to several types of cat café’s outside of the Siouxland area and thought it would be a good idea to open one in Sioux City. She also already has a name for the café, ‘Coffee and Purrs.’ 

“Since they are called cat café’s, usually they do offer some kind of like beverage,” said Thompson, “I’ve been to cat café’s where they just offer like there’s a vending machine of beverages that you can get, but I’ve actually never been to one where they have like a full-service coffee shop so I will be the first one – that I’ve been to anyway – that has a full-service coffee shop.” 

Thompson said some of their specialty coffee drinks will have unique cat names and while drinks won’t be allowed in the cat room, guests can grab the drinks on their way out or during their morning commute.  

When guests visit Coffee and Purrs, they will be able to pay a ‘cuddling fee’ which will allow them to have 30 minutes to an hour to spend with the cats. Children will not be allowed to pick up the cats out of an abundance of caution for safety, but they will be able to play or cuddle with them during their time slot, according to Thomspon. Thompson also said the cats will be available for adoption through Noah’s Hope or the Siouxland Humane Society.  

Cats will be able to have ‘a home away from home’ while they’re waiting to be adopted, according to Thomspon. She said she always feels a need to help when she sees a stray cat, and that’s how she found her inspiration for starting her own café. She said the cats will always have a warm place to sleep, and they will not be kept in kennels. Thompson added she plans to have shelves they can walk on and blankets to lay on.  

Coffee and Purrs will help Siouxland by providing a place where Siouxlanders can improve their mood, relax, or play with cats, while also providing another opportunity for cats to be adopted.  

To begin the process, Thompson said she started by calling to see what kind of permits she would need to open her café downtown, but she discovered that a municipal code would have to be changed for her to be able to use the location she was hoping for.  

“So, we kind of went back and forth of like what I should do to change it to where I can still have my cat café downtown but people wouldn’t be able to have like a doggy daycare downtown or anything like that still,” said Thompson, “So, the original definition is something along the lines of if you have four or more animals that are six months of age or older being kept, bred, or boarded and being kept for profit is not allowed in the downtown zone. So, we had to take out the word ‘kept’ so I am allowed to have my cat café downtown. So, it was a little confusing but yeah and it’s been quite a process but, in my opinion, it’s been kind of easy. I mean, there were some hurdles we had to jump over but honestly, it’s not been like really super lengthy or hard.” 

Thompson said if anyone has an idea that might seem unattainable, stay confident and the outcome might be easier than you initially thought. If the idea brings you to the City Council, then be sure to clearly state the idea to the city to avoid any miscommunication.  

Thompson said she was excited when the petition passed because she’s planning to open in 3 months. She said she’ll be launching Coffee and Purr’s social media and website in early January 2022.