ITHACA, N.Y.– If you enjoy small kittens and playful cats, then the Ithaca Alley Cat Cafe is the purr-fect place for you.

The cat cafe opened Friday morning at 312 E. Seneca St., with people of all ages playing with the friendly felines. Three adult cats and three kittens are up for adoption in the Cat Room, where the walls are painted light blue with purple fixtures. The cats have access to pillow, tunnels, climbing shelves, and toys.

According to Kristin, the owner of the Alley Cat Cafe, the cats came from Browncoat Cat Rescue, a volunteer organization that focuses on unwanted and abandoned cats in Tompkins County. The organization has been seeking an adoption center and partnered with the cafe to make the move happen. Kristin said all the cats are adoptable, except for their mascot cat Marigold, and more will be brought in as they’re adopted. 

“Having an adoption center that was also a hub for the community, with coffee and cats, is very appealing to me,” she said.    

The owner was inspired by the explosion of cat cafes in Japan that began in the 1990s, and she said cats have been proven to reduce depression and anxiety, ensuring that people who aren’t meeting their needs can come and have a “good emotional experience.” 

The charge at the cafe is $5 per 30 minutes with the cats. Kristin said people can also volunteer, though, to spend some time caring for the cats.

Kristin said a second cat room is under renovation, which will foster “low energy” cats and the other will remain open with more energetic and playful cats.

As for food, the cafe menu is vegetarian and vegan, serving up sandwiches, soups, pastries, coffee and tea.

The Alley Cat Cafe is open from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, closed on Wednesdays, and open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends. The cat room is open from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Note: The owner of the cat cafe declined to provide her last name, citing safety concerns in regard to a different matter. 

Correction: Kristin’s name was misspelled in the first publication of this story. It has since been fixed. 

Photos by Jolene Almendarez/The Ithaca Voice

J.T. Stone

J.T. Stone is a contributor for The Ithaca Voice and a 2020 graduate of Ithaca High School. Questions? Story tips? Email him at